Collaboration for increased local value and longevity 

Constructing the bee border in Mustjõe. Credit: Tallinn Strategic Management Department, Spatial Design Competence Centre.


The bee border is a large flowerbed where colourful perennials are combined with grasses and other species to create an ecologically diverse, colourful flowerbed that blooms from spring to autumn. The aim of bee borders is to reduce the negative effects of the urban environment on people and pollinators. The border offers shelter for many pollinators, while flower beds offer colour and beauty to pedestrians and mark the intersection between heavier and lighter traffic roads. They act as entrances to the Pollinator Highway for visitors by creating rich urban landscaping that supports urban ecology and meets people’s expectations of a classical sense of beauty that is more than a wildflower meadow. Involving stakeholders in the creation of bee borders is beneficial, as the work done together is valuable and meaningful to each participant. It is therefore hoped that the sites will be maintained and preserved in the future.

Description of practice


In 2021, bee borders were constructed along the Pollinator Highway in Tallinn to make the area more visually attractive for people and offer a nectar-rich flowerbed for pollinators.
● The process began in 2020 with help from the City of Tallinn’s Urban Environment and Public Works department with finding suitable places for bee border flowerbeds.
● The design process meant fitting plants to the urban environment according to colour and time of blooming.
● Bee borders were constructed on the Pollinator Highway in the spring of 2021. Officials from Kristiine City District and any citizen who wanted to take part helped with the planting.
● Maintenance of the area is carried out by the Urban Environment and Public Works Department.
● Pollinator monitoring and resident feedback in the area started in 2022. The growth of bee border plants and how they cope in the urban environment will be monitored. The process includes gathering feedback from the area’s visitors and local residents on whether, in their opinion, the flowerbeds bring additional value to the environment, and observing whether and which pollinators find their way to the flower beds. 

Who was involved 

The work was accomplished with the help of Tallinn’s Urban Environment and Public Works Department Landscaping division, the Pollinator Highway citizen teams, officials from Kristiine City District and a landscape architecture company. 

Promotion and communication 

● The project was promoted on the Pollinator Highway’s social media (Instagram) account and webpage

● Preliminary results were communicated on Tallinn TV, as well as other news channels all over the country.


● Cooperation between different agencies; a specialist with knowledge of plants; and a landscape designer to prepare the soil and planting areas, and to plant and maintain the area.

● The design program AutoCAD and the visual design program Photoshop were used.  

Time commitment 

The work started in Tallinn’s Urban Environment and Public Works Department in 2020. Bee borders were finished in the spring of 2021 (about 12 months). 


Level of participation
  • No participation (stakeholders/citizens were not included) 
  • Informing (informing citizens about what is planned) 
  • Consultation (offering options and listening to the feedback) 
  • Co-production in some of the aspects 
  • Co-production from start to finish
Urban planning challenge(s) tackled Governance and institutional factors

  • Working collaboratively
  • Standards and regulatory processes
  • Finance

Stakeholder engagement 

  • Public acceptance
  • Shared decision-making 
  • Social inclusion

Knowledge and skills

  • Awareness and communication
  • Expertise
  • Technical integration

Lessons learned

● Cooperation between different people and professions was crucial to promoting the topic of the importance of bee borders for pollinators and to the area’s visual appearance.

● The project of placing three bee borders on the Pollinator Highway was completed in half a year. Planning and design take time because of the need for negotiations and to obtain approvals. The time required to plan/design bee borders was dependent on the size and location of the flower bed, and whether the necessary geodetic survey work had been carried out. Where there are underground cables, the time required for approval must also be taken into account.

● Attention should be paid to instructing the stakeholders on planting and preparatory work; for example, how not to compact the soil too much, where exactly to place the plants, how to take the plant out of the pot correctly, how to untie the roots a little if needed, and to plant with the roots downwards.

● Inviting citizens to participate in the construction is a great way of including them in transforming the urban environment. Raising awareness encourages people to care about the future of the flower beds and pollinators.


● The positive effects of the bee border on the number of pollinators in the area can already be seen in the first implementation year.

● The urban environment was transformed to make it more visually attractive and enjoyable for citizens.

● Bee borders have not been previously established in Tallinn’s urban space to create beauty for people, decorate the urban space and support pollinators by offering them more suitable plants. These designs and plans can be implemented in other cities to help them find the best solutions for bee borders, although modifications might be necessary depending on the area.

Read more

Sõber, V., Soon, V., Tiitsaar, A., Mesipuu, M. (2019). Kopli Kaubajaama-Pelguranna (Putukaväila) tolmeldajate uuring. Tartu Ülikool ( (Analysis of the Functionality of the West-Tallinn Green Corridor (Northern Section of the Pollinator Corridor). University of Tartu, 2019)