Orchard's Blog: Stories, News & Events

Grundy County Landscaping


The building was complete and the exterior paint was drying, but the site of the new worship center in Grundy County still needed some curb appeal. On Wednesday, May 31 and Saturday, June 3, volunteers spent hours preparing the soil, laying down sod, planting plants, and putting in landscaping rock. The result was the finishing touch the new building needed.

“We had a great group of volunteers!” shared Mark Kuiper, a landscape architect who led the project. “So many people came and went, all with different backgrounds and skill sets. Everyone just jumped in wherever the work needed to be done.”

Over twenty signed up to help with this project, but several more just showed up to work. “The weather these days was very hot and humid and the staff had to continually remind all the volunteers to drink water because everyone was actively working hard,” continued Mark.

Many people went above and beyond to help with the project:

  • A volunteer gave us the use of a skid loader to install 55 tons of landscape rock
  • Volunteers installed 3500 square feet of weed barrier fabric, 300 feet of steel lawn edging, and 8200 square feet of sod\
  • Others coordinated plant donations, caring for them until planted
  • A local contractor gave landscape materials for cost and donated equipment to help install steel edging and the use of a tractor to prepare the soil and spray weeds
  • Many have donated time to water the sod and plants in the weeks following

The day ended with an attempt to water 8200 square feet of sod in the hot sun. “We were reaching a crisis point trying to water from the church hose connections, but one volunteer saved the day by bringing a semi with huge water tanks to prevent any of it from dying.” said Mark.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this a beautiful and welcoming outdoor space!

The Miracle of Marigolds


If you walk through the Walnut neighborhood this summer, you will notice the street corners and many flower pots full of bright and colorful marigolds. On Saturday, May 13, several businesses, churches and neighbors came together for a neighborhood-strengthening event called Miracle of Marigolds, a day where neighbors and partners were invited to meet at the community garden to plant marigolds throughout the neighborhood.

Community Foundation of NE Iowa funded the flower-planting event through the “Bringing Neighbors Together” grant. Petersen & Tietz Florists provided 23 flats of marigolds for a special price and Spellers True Value Hardware, a local hardware store in the neighborhood, and Dollar Tree sold gardening supplies for the event.

“God is using even the smallest collective efforts to make a big difference in the Walnut Neighborhood,” commented Laura Hoy, Orchard Hill’s Missions Director and LINK CCD board member. “He is creating beauty and neighborhood identity through flowers!”

One of the goals for the day was to help neighbors meet one another by planting flowers and enjoying a picnic together. There were 52 participants that day: 16 children/youth and 36 adults. Small planting teams were formed with the intention of meeting a few new people in their group.

Orchard Hill Church provided the chuckwagon to prepare the picnic meal that day, while Scratch Cupcakery donated 50 cupcakes for the event. “It was great to see all of the neighbors actively working to help strengthen the Walnut Neighborhood,” continued Hoy. “Working together on a shared project while getting to know each other helps build neighborhood pride and identity.”

For more information about the Walnut Neighborhood, please visit linkccd.org.

Cedar Falls

3900 Orchard Hill Drive, Cedar Falls
319.266.9796 | email

Grundy County

1800 G Ave., Grundy Center
319.266.9411 | email


501 Heritage Way, Waverly
319.266.9796 | email