Kubota Garden Improvements

Updated: May 20, 2021

Spring 2021

Kubota Garden is a public American-Japanese garden in South Seattle that started as a beautiful vision of Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese emigrant. You are invited to learn more about Fujitaro's story.

Thank you to everyone who provided input for the Master Plan Update and participated in the Master Plan Update process. See information available below.

A number of upcoming projects, which came out of the recently completed Master Plan include:

Kubota Restroom

The goal of this improvement project is to expand ADA access in the garden and enhance visitor experience. Two all-gender restrooms, and ADA-accessible pathways and picnic area will be developed in the 5-acre Terrace area.

Funding for this project is provided by WWRP (Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program) grant for $500,000 and LWCF (Land and Water Conservation fund) grant for $500,000. Additionally, the Seattle Park District Major Projects Challenge Fund provides $100,000 with the Kubota Garden Foundation providing additional funding and volunteer labor.

Planning: 2019
Design: 2020 - 2021
Construction: Fall 2021 - Fall 2022

Kubota Stormwater Study and Parking Lot Expansion

The stormwater study for Kubota Garden has begun and the findings are fascinating! View the dynamic and interactive "storymap" and learn about hydrological functions in and around Kubota Garden!

This study will develop design options to treat and convey stormwater from the hillside along 55th Ave South into the ponds of Kubota Garden which are part of Mapes Creek. Taylor and Mapes Final Report, May 2020

The stormwater study will be the first step for improving the cleanliness and visual water quality in the ponds of Kubota Garden, by finding ways to reduce and treat the volume and velocity of stormwater flows. Current maintenance practices require dredging of silt and sediment from the ponds.

We are developing environmentally responsive solutions to improve the water quality of the ponds while maintaining base flows into Mapes Creek. Potential areas of work include the Garden, 55th Avenue S and the parking lot. Please visit this website in mid-June to review stormwater solution concepts and later in the summer to review parking lot expansion proposal concepts. We need your input as we move forward with these improvements!

This effort is funded by the King County WaterWorks Grant Program, managed by the Kubota Garden Foundation, and is a collaboration with King County, SPU, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and many neighborhood stakeholders. 

Seattle Parks and Recreation will include the parking lot expansion as a phase of the stormwater study project. The parking lot expansion will alleviate capacity issues and will increase accessibility. The parking lot expansion design is funded by the Major Projects Challenge Fund. Construction of the parking lot expansion is not currently funded.

Kubota Temporary Nursery

This project is underway at the west side of Kubota Garden. It is a small fenced-in holding nursery for native trees and plants that will be used to restore Seattle Parks and Recreation owned natural areas in south Seattle, as well as housing some plant materials that require shade for use in Kubota Garden.

This development of a temporary nursery harkens back to the history of the garden being a working nursery and landscaping business. The plant deliveries will utilize the large service gate on 51st Ave S; watering and maintenance staff will park on the street and use the pedestrian gate. These gates will remain locked to maintain the overall security of the garden.

Recently completed projects, funded by the Major Parks Challenge Fund Grant include:

The Kubota Garden Perimeter Wall

A community-initiated project, the Seattle Park District Major Projects Challenge Fund provided matched funding for design/construction of an expansion to the existing ornamental wall. The project was completed in fall of 2019. The ornamental wall continues the wall built (primarily by volunteers) over the course of the past 15 years. The wall is the same height and has the same beautiful roof and stucco finish as the wall of the entry gate. The additional wall helps secure and protect this Kubota Garden while enhancing the experience of the more than 65,000 people who visit this urban sanctuary each year.

Will the City begin charging admission to get into Kubota Garden?

  • It is crucial that Kubota Garden remains accessible to the public and the over 65,000 visitors annually to the garden. If at some point in the future the City decides to charge admission, we will work with the community on that transition.

Master Plan Update

The Kubota Garden Master Plan Update was completed at the end of 2019 and is a wonderful reflection on the history of the Kubota family, the historic and newer garden spaces and looks ahead as visitorship increases year by year. How to identify and preserve the design intent behind these historic gardens is thoughtfully considered, and a first glimpse of the Visitor Center or Restrooms is included as we need to plan for increased visitors, climate impacts and respecting the history of the garden.

Community Participation

The Master Plan Update involved many people from the community. A summary of the community participation and links to the work during the masterplan update process can be found below.

Preferred Concept Plan - February 2019

Open Houses and Input Opportunities for the Kubota Garden Master Plan Update: June 17 and June 23, 2018

Kubota Garden Master Plan Update: October 13, 2018

Kubota Garden Master Plan Update Workshop Sessions Summary 
(May 7-9, 2018)
Kubota Garden Master Plan Update Schedule
(July 16, 2018)

For more information about the garden and the Kubota Garden Foundation visit http://www.kubotagarden.org.

Budget

The Seattle Parks District Major Projects Challenge Fund provided $925,000 in funding for the master plan update and the design/construction of the ornamental wall on the south edge of the parking lot. The Kubota Garden Foundation matched this funding as required by the grant.