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Planting for the Future

Rising sea levels, severe weather and changing conditions threaten Colonial Lake, making it critical to adapt our park gardens to survive these challenges. The Conservancy must raise $125,000 for a two-year renovation of Colonial Lake to combat flooding, restore biodiversity, and enhance the park.

FAQ’s about the Colonial Lake Renovation

Colonial Lake holds a special place for all who visit. Below are several frequently asked questions the Conservancy has received about the latest revitalization of this beloved community park. For other inquiries, please reach us at info@charlestonparksconservancy.org.

This upcoming revitalization is horticultural only, while the renovation in 2016 included infrastructure, including a tidal control structure, sea wall, hardscape, lighting, benches, irrigation and more.

Flooding has gone from an event that occurs only in a hurricane/surge event to happening at any high tide rain event, including this past December and March. This horticultural renovation addresses a changed and changing environment and will not require that the park be closed to residents.


The loss of many mature trees has turned shady areas into disturbed and sunny areas, where aggressive and invasive species have taken over.

The addition of lower-growing and less aggressive pollinator-attracting plants will increase biodiversity, aid in stormwater absorption, attract wildlife, increase safety and visibility, and be easier to manage for the small staff and volunteers that manage 24 other parks and gardens around the city.

We’re creating a more resilient and sustainable landscape by considering the balance between shade and sunlight and selecting plants that thrive in various light conditions.

The Broad Street side of the park is the lowest and most susceptible to flooding and has also undergone the most changes to the growing environment due to the loss of five mature trees and the shade they provided.

Based on our observations and conversations about how the community and the Conservancy utilize and activate the space, we propose adding a turf/grass area to mirror the lawns in other portions of the park for events, programming, and passive areas.

We plan to introduce a diverse plant palette that will thrive in our park’s environment.

The renovation timeline depends on securing funding. However, our goal is to complete major clearing and invasive plant removal in the fall in order to plant during the early winter planting season.

To view full plan details on the Colonial Lake renovation by stage and street, please click on each of the renderings below.

Beaufain Street Enlargement

Broad Street Enlargement (Phase 1)

Rutledge Avenue Enlargement

Ashley Avenue Enlargement