Activity - IPM Checklist for Home Gardens and Lawns

Skills: Fact finding, observation, analysis.
Activity - IPM Checklist for Home Gardens and Lawns - Articles
Activity - IPM Checklist for Home Gardens and Lawns


Home gardens are miniature managed ecosystems (see "Food Cobweb"). Gardeners are among the most persistent and observant members of the human race, for they have a great interest in the life that abounds in their garden, for better or worse. For these people, constant improvement of their gardening techniques is an ongoing pastime. Usually they are interested in learning more about least-toxic management of weeds, diseases, insect and vertebrate pest management. In this exercise, you can enlist the help of a gardener, either at home or through a field trip to learn about and discuss the elements of IPM. Take along the checklist provided or make your own.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn to look at garden problems with an IPM eye
  2. Learn to identify common garden inhabitants (besides the crop)
  3. Complete a checklist to see how you are doing in the IPM approach to gardening.
  4. Learn the appearance and lifecycle of common beneficial insects.

Materials Needed:

  • A garden to look at, either your own or another person's (with their permission and help)
  • Insect and weed ID books
  • IPM checklist

1 hour to an afternoon.


  1. Take students into a large garden and ask them to
  2. Choose a spot to sit quietly (if older kids) and observe the environment
  3. Note any apparent damage to plants, invasion by weeds, etc.
  4. Begin listing questions they have about anything they are seeing
  5. Bring their questions and observations back to the group to share.
  6. Once familiar with the garden habitat, have the students tour the garden with the gardener and complete the IPM checklist (attached).

Analysis & Discussion:

Can the students identify the components of IPM at work in that garden? Do they have any suggestions for the gardener on creative solutions to any pest problems?