The Dorney Garden, University of Waterloo

The Dorney Garden, University of Waterloo

Cover Photo Credits: © Provided by Environment Ecology Lab, UW

Please fill in our feedback survey today! A field notice has not yet been posted for this EcoPost. 


EcoPost 12 – Environmental planner, Bob Starbird Dorney, had a passion for gardens of native plants. Urban lawns require large inputs of water, fertilizers and pesticides whereas naturalized gardens composed of perennial native plants which are adapted to the climatic stresses, and therefore require relatively little maintenance. When Bob passed away in 1987 the Faculty of Environment  set up a natural garden in his honour.  It’s a place to relax in and a venue for learning.

Visit the Dorney Garden outside the Environment 1 building.

Learn more about Bob Dorney and his work.  

Things To Do

Bird feeders found in the Dorney Garden are swarming with Sparrows, Nuthatches, Juncos and Cardinals, among others. They are attracted to this garden, not only for the seed left here, but are also by the beautiful bright coloured flowers and the nectar they produce. Fruit producing plants like sumac berries are an important food source!

The garden doesn’t require mowing, fertilizers, pesticides or irrigation and consists of plants native to Southern Ontario’s Carolinian forests and prairies.

Where Next?

The University’s Ecology Lab staff has put in great effort to not only maintain but expand naturalized gardens around the Environment 1, 2 and 3 buildings. Check out other University of Waterloo’s naturalized gardens here.– Constructed Wetland, Rooftop Garden, Woodland Fern Garden, Prairie Savanna Naturescape

 Other nearby locations include the Faculty of Environment/Arts garden, the Earth Sciences Rock Garden, and the East-West garden at Renison College. 

Getting Here

Coordinates: 43.468451, -80.542982

Main Entrance is from

By Bus: Bus Route 


Maps and Trails

Take an interactive tour of the Dorney Garden and other gardens around the Environment buildings. 

The UW Campus map


Partly wheelchair accessible.


519-888-4567, ext. 32646