Current Projects

Amph and Sign for Public MeetingAmphitheater Project

With community support, Volunteer Park Trust is determined to do what it takes to replace the existing Amphitheater with a more functional and beautiful performance space that will greatly enhance the audience experience.

Volunteer Park Trust has completed a Capital Campaign feasibility study for the Volunteer Park Amphitheater Project. The study recommended that further steps are needed before we move forward with a fund raising campaign for the Amphitheater.

For the next year (2017-2018), Volunteer Park Trust will:

  • Conduct a marketing campaign to promote our successes in Volunteer Park
  • Increase public awareness of our projects
  • Promote the city’s need for a new Amphitheater in Volunteer Park.

In order to move forward with a capital campaign, we need a groundswell of support!

Do you want the Volunteer Park Amphitheater Project to succeed?

Message us to learn how you can get involved! Contact Jeff Crandall:


Amphitheater Project HistoryPhoto: Current stage in Volunteer Park

In 2015 Volunteer Park Trust began a process to replace Volunteer Park’s aging and dilapidated stage with a new, state-of the-art Amphitheater.

In 2016 we completed a year-long, community-wide feasibility study which gathered input from performance companies, community groups, park users, and neighbors to help guide the new design, funded by Department of Neighborhoods (DON).

Image: Amphitheater DesignA second DON grant allowed us to work on Phase II: Concept Design. Project consultants ORA Architects and Walker Macy Landscape Architects have worked with Seattle Parks & Recreation, Seattle Landmarks Board, and Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks to create an approved concept design. Download the “concept design”:  Amphitheater Project Schematic Design: Phase I Final Report (9mb pdf) or click here to view the Draft Concept Design Report in Dropbox.

We are incredibly grateful to have been awarded a third DON grant in the fall of 2016 to complete Phase III: Schematic Design.

SGC Garden BedSeattle Garden Club Bed Completed!

In 2015, Volunteer Park Trust received a grant from Seattle Garden Club to restore a major bed in Volunteer Park that had been long overgrown and neglected. Now we are proud to announce the completion of the Seattle Garden Club Garden!

The project location, southeast of the South Lily Pond, is a large landmarked planting with established spruce and cedar trees and native ground cover. Our goal for the grant funds was to reshape the beds to the original Olmsted plan and cultivate the open areas.  We planted compact Forsythia, roses, Cotoneaster, Daphne, Hypericum and Potentilla, echoing the yellow palette called for by the 1910 Olmsted planting plan. To complete this major project, we had to:

Seattle Garden Club bed planting

Getting ready to set plants in the Seattle Garden Club bed.

  • Create a formal, approved planting plan working in concert with Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks, Seattle Landmarks Board, and Seattle Parks & Recreation.
  • Remove invasive plants and remove, prune, and reposition overgrown plants.
  • Install the basic irrigation framework and make sure that irrigation heads cover specific plants.
  • Prepare the planting soil, obtain and install new plants, and mulch the planted beds.
  • Develop and implement a long-term maintenance plan for managing the bed into the future.

During the Volunteer Park Trust 2016 Spring Restoration Day, we removed major overgrown rhododendrons and did intensive pruning, weeding and soil preparation. At our 2016 Fall Restoration Day and at an additional work day with Microsoft volunteers, we completed the final weeding and edging, and planted over 100 new plants.

Now in springtime the Seattle Garden Club Garden will bloom into the blazing field of yellow that the Olmsted Brothers intended.

Peach Final PICPeach Garden II

In June of 2015, Volunteer Park Trust received a grant from the Peach Foundation to design and install the second part of the Peach Garden. The garden is located northwest of the north Lily Pond on the main concourse of Volunteer Park.

To date, we have achieved the following:

  • Prepared scaled drawings of existing plants, soil type, and light exposures. We have located and consulted with the original planting designs from 1910.
  • Consulted with Seattle Parks and Recreation landscape design review board regarding existing trees and shrubs; appropriate shrubs for planting that are similar to the original Olmsted design but requiring less sun; as well as the shape of the planting beds.
  • Organized volunteer clean up events to clear and prepare the site and, working with Seattle Parks staff, cleared the area of invasive plants, mulched, and prepared the bed for planting.
  • Commissioned an irrigation review and plan to assure sufficient watering of the garden. This plan has been submitted to the Irrigation Department at Seattle Parks.

In concert with the SGC Garden (above) the final draft plans have been approved!  Irrigation installation is being scheduled.  We hope to have the garden installed by the fall of 2016.

VP-Sustainability-Coalition-Sustainability-Report.pdfVolunteer Park Sustainability Coalition

Sust Coal LOGOS

The Coalition is comprised of Volunteer Park Trust, the Friends of the Conservatory, and  Seattle Asian Art Museum. Its mission is to make the infrastructure of the Park and its institutions more efficient and environmentally sound. The Sustainability Coalition works closely with Seattle Parks & Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities, and conservation groups to make Volunteer Park a standard for the intelligent and cost effective use of resources.What We DoThe Coalition commissioned Young Architects LLC to draft a Park Sustainability Improvement Measures study. This study examines existing infrastructure in the park and identifies potential improvements in water and energy use that will make the Park more sustainable, reduce long term costs, and improve environmental impacts.

Recently, the Volunteer Park Sustainability Coalition was awarded a $25,000 Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The funds will pay for a park-wide water capture and reuse feasibility study as the first facet of implementation of the Improvement Measures Study.

The feasibility study will build on water-usage-related areas in the preliminary report including:

  • Storm water management
  • Water efficient landscaping
  • Innovative waste water technologies
  • Water use reduction
  • Rain water harvesting
  • Gray water re-use (gray water reuse is now legal in Washington state for suSeattle Department of Neighborhoodsbsurface irrigation)

Volunteer Park Sustainability Improvement Measures Report
Young | Architecture LLC      PDF Document – 1,108 KB


Volunteer Park Landscaping

Parkwide Landscaping

We plan to undertake a series of restoration and replanting projects throughout Volunteer Park in the years ahead based on the original Olmsted Brothers’ planting plans. Thanks to grants from Seattle Garden Club, the Peach Foundation, and Wyman Youth Trust, we are already well underway with the gardens listed above surrounding the lily ponds and the terraced lawns facing the western views.  We will continue this work around both eastern shoulders of the reservoir, replanting the formal center of Volunteer Park and leading to our next project.

Volunteer Park Irrigation ProjectIrrigation Project

Thanks to a grant from the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation, our first irrigation repair and extension project was completed in late 2015 near the Watertower. Gone are the leaky pipes at the south end of the park, and the long-dry garden beds now have water piped to them.  As we add new beds and improve plantings in Volunteer Park, irrigation upgrades and expansion will be a continual part of our ongoing projects.

A big thank you goes to those who have and are contributing to these projects!

For information on the Reservoir, Water Tower, and more, see our Future Projects page.