The Parks Division maintains the facilities and grounds within the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department.
You can find details about our areas of responsibility below.
Plants ordered by September 21 can be scheduled for pick-up Friday, May 15 from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Saturday, May 16 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the City’s greenhouses located at 2501 Maury Street.
Individuals or groups interested in planting in public spaces should contact their neighborhood association to place an order. Learn what neighborhood association you belong to by using the online tool Show Me My House by entering your address and selecting from the list of valid addresses. The correct association will be displayed for your area. To find out more about your neighborhood visit the “Des Moines Neighborhoods" (link to this page on the new site) page and select your named neighborhood.
If your neighborhood association does not participate in this program, please contact Park staff. The Park’s Horticulture Inspector must approve all new and existing flower beds on city property such as medians, parkland, vacant lots and street corners. Any flower bed planted on land not owned or maintained by the City of Des Moines such as schools or community centers need not contact park staff. For more information E-mail Us or call 515-248-6384.
SPRING PERENNIAL DIVIDE - CANCELLED
We are committed to doing our part to slowing the spread of COVID-19. In following with Mayor Cownie’s directive to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy”, the Perennial Divide is cancelled.
In accordance with recommendations from the CDC and other public entities, and out of an abundance of caution for our patrons and staff; Des Moines Parks and Recreation has also closed their office to the public and cancelled programs, activities and rentals. Conditions change rapidly, so watch for updates via social media and online at DSM.city/covid19.
Over the last 20 years, the Des Moines Park and Recreation Department has accepted plant donations from the public to be planted in City parks and neighborhood community gardens. In 2019, over 500 plants were received from donations, which were planted by groups such as Orchard Place, Des Moines Public Libraries, Carver Elementary School and Bidwell Riverside. By cleaning out your garden, and donating your plants to the Parks and Recreation Department, this will help renew it and help beautify Des Moines public spaces. Residents who are donating plant material are asked to label their plants and identify its sun requirements, height, and color of flower. No donation is too small. We welcome plants of all kinds including perennials, bulbs, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, shrubs, seeds and bulbs.
Non-profit groups that have been confirmed to receive donations can pick up plants on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The general public is asked to bring plant donations to: Chesterfield Community Center - 2501 SE Maury on Friday, May 15th, 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. or on Saturday, May 16th, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
If you are a group that is interested in receiving plant material or any additional information on the Neighborhood Flower Program or the Perennial Divide, please contact Julie Hempel, Des Moines Park and Recreation Department at 515/248-6384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We have 873 acres of mowed turf in our parks, open spaces, cemeteries and Right-Of-Ways. This mowing is done by contractors on a once a week schedule.
- Most of these 873 acres are fertilized, aerified, and treated for broadleaf weeds.
- Athletic field turf, including sports complexes and softball fields, are mowed and maintained by Iowa Cubs Sports Turf.
- Some natural areas are under a minimal mowing schedule of 3 to 4 times per year.
- Flower beds and planters are planted and maintained using 230,000 plants grown in our 13,000 square foot greenhouse.
- Special collections include the Ewing Park Lilac Arboretum and the Clare and Miles Mills Rose Garden.
- An average of 300 trees are planted each year in the parks and open spaces.
Pools and water features
- We operate two pools and three aquatic centers, managing 2,000,000 gallons of water.
- There are 4 splash pools, 9 spraygrounds, and 9 wading pools.
- 47 shelters and 30 restrooms
- Benches and picnic tables
- Fences and retaining walls
- 58 playgrounds
- Parking lots
- Drinking fountains
- Sidewalks and paths
- 3 dog parks
Natural resources management practices
- Forestry mulcher used for woodland restoration
- Hand cutting and treating invasive plant species
- Prescribed fire in woodlands and prairies
- Plant native seed mixes based on soil types
Ponds and detention areas
- Working with the Iowa DNR to monitor fish populations and stock when appropriate.
- Mechanically and chemically treat for aquatic weeds.
- For snow event greater than 2 inches, our staff helps Public Works clear streets.
- Once streets are cleared, we clear snow in the priority order of: park roads, park parking lots, perimeter sidewalks, interior sidewalks, then trails.
- We keep four staff members from helping clear streets to clear the Community Recreation Centers, Gray’s Lake Park any shelter rentals.
- Cemetery staff handles clearing the cemetery roads.
- We allow ice skating on the ponds in Witmer Park, MacRae Park and Greenwood Park. Staff checks the ice thickness and posts a green flag when conditions are safe.
- A red flag means stay off.