What is a strebergarten? - Definition with tips, tricks and ideas

What is a strebergarten? - Definition with tips, tricks and ideas

the essentials in brief

  • Allotment garden or strebergarten is the fenced plot of an allotment garden for the private cultivation of fruit and vegetables as well as for use as a recreational area for the whole family.
  • You cannot buy a strebergarten, but rent it as part of a sublease agreement with the allotment garden association.
  • The design of streberg gardens is subject to legal requirements and the statutes of the association's statutes.

What is a strebergarten? - definition

Strebergarten is the tongue-in-cheek synonym for the traditional allotment garden. The historical concept goes back to the eponymous doctor Moritz Schreber and his colleague school director Ernst Hausschild. In the middle of the 19th century, the first allotment areas served as playgrounds for the children of poor factory workers. Over the years, parceled and fenced allotment gardens developed from this, the management of which was regulated by association statutes.

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The strict regulations in the allotment garden in combination with a high number of know-it-alls created the cliché of the stuffy allotment gardener. From this the play on words Strebergarten developed. Because the authentic strebergarten always includes a small arbor, the proud owner is jokingly dubbed a arboreal pipit. The following definition sums up the popular garden concept:

  • Definition : A fenced allotment garden for the non-commercial cultivation of useful plants as well as for recreation without residential reference is called an allotment garden or strebergarten.
  • Criteria : Parcel with a maximum of 400 m² as fenced long-term lease land, integrated into a facility with several individual gardens, communal areas, paths, play areas and clubhouse (allotment garden)

The Strebergarten is well on the way to shaking off its philistine image. For example, on the topic of allotment garden alias strebergarten on Wikipedia, you can read that since the beginning of the 2000s, young families from the big cities have been pushing into the allotment garden colonies. As a result, the average age is falling steadily and has now reached a level below 50 years.

In Germany alone there are more than 1 million allotment gardeners, organized in 15,000 allotment garden associations. The largest allotment garden colony can be admired in Ulm, where the “Verein der Kleingärtner Ulm e. V. ” More than 1300 parcels are looked after on 53 hectares. In Saxony there is the smallest allotment gardener's association “Am Vogelberg” with a modest 5 parcels, which doesn't detract from the joy of nature-loving gardening.

Important social functions

The sober definition of an allotment garden in accordance with Section 1 of the Federal Allotment Garden Act (BKleingG) hides numerous important social functions of an allotment garden colony:

  • General public : green oases in the middle of concrete castles, reduction of air pollution, protection of species, better quality of life
  • Family : growing healthy fruit and vegetables, gardening for young and old, relaxation in the midst of nature
  • Children, adolescents : protected playground, nature experience, communication beyond the smartphone
  • Working people : retreat from work stress, social get-togethers, unwinding, physical activity
  • Unemployed people : meaningful task, needed, fresh vegetables for free
  • Disabled people : integration into the community, socializing, communication with like-minded people
  • Seniors : contact instead of isolation, individual self-realization in the third phase of life

Not to be underestimated are the ecological functions of a leaf colony with its numerous streber gardens. Here, near-natural gardening is the key, which the endangered world of small animals and insects really appreciates.

Rent a strebergarten - this is how it works

The definition makes it clear that interested parties cannot buy a strebergarten. Rather, the garden parcel is to be rented, correctly worded, to be leased. For this purpose, as a future allotment gardener, you conclude a sub-lease agreement with the allotment garden association, which in turn has to pay the lease to the municipality as the property owner. In connection with the rental agreement, a transfer fee must be paid to the previous lessee for existing buildings and vegetation. The purchase price is determined on the basis of an appraisal protocol under the aegis of the responsible district association. Until then, most of the future Strebergärtner have to wait a while. How to rent a strebergarten step by step:

  1. Contacting the district association (for Strebergarten Berlin e.g. via the regional association Berlin der Gartenfreunde eV)
  2. Admission to the list of applicants, payment of the processing costs and waiting for the next free parcel
  3. If the bid is accepted, negotiation of the transfer fee based on the valuation
  4. Conclusion of a sub-lease agreement
  5. Payment of the purchase price and administration fee when signing the lease

It is important to note that a sublease contract with the allotment garden association is reserved exclusively for paying club members. In order to show a serious interest in the next free allotment garden, it is advisable to join the local allotment gardening association.

What does a strebergarten cost?


The umbrella organization of allotment garden associations in Germany attaches particular importance to the statement that an allotment garden must be affordable for all income groups. For this reason, most of the costs incurred are capped. The valuation is primarily created in order to keep an eye on the maximum amount of the transfer fee by the district and state association. According to § 5 BKleingG, the rent of the parcel may not exceed four times the amount of the local rent for arable land. This results in the following average costs that have to be paid once and regularly for a strebergarten:

One-time costsaverage amountregular costsaverage amount
Transfer fee1900-3000 EURLease garden parcelfrom 0.17 EUR / m² / year
Administrative contribution11-100 EURLease common area10-12 EUR / year
Admission association0-55 EURMembership fee29-80 EUR / year
Connection to water, electricity network500-700 EURCharges / additional costs280-400 EUR / year
Garden tools / material300-500 EURElectricity, insurance25-150 EUR / year

Added to this are the costs for maintaining the strebergarten, such as maintaining soil quality and planting suitable plants. In addition, many allotment garden colonies maintain a lively club life with summer festivals and similar events, the costs of which are borne by all members as allocations. Furthermore, every tenant is required to perform compulsory hourly work on the communal areas of the garden colony. Anyone who does not participate has to make appropriate compensation payments to the association, the amount of which is set out in the statutes.

This overview does not claim to be representative. In view of more than 20 regional associations with more than 15,000 associations, the actual costs for an allotment garden are subject to various premises, such as the respective association statutes or local framework conditions. The location of an allotment garden colony has a decisive influence on the amount of the costs. For a strebergarten in Berlin, Munich or Cologne, the one-time and regular costs are much higher than in rural regions such as Krefeld or Heinsberg.


Heidelberg Strebergarten - gardening with rap

In 2017 everyone was talking about the title “Heidelberger Strebergarten”. The medical students at the University of Heidelberg had put a lot of effort into participating in the media championships. The rap talents among the future medical professionals have shot a music video that is well worth seeing that pokes fun at their image as nerdy students. Dressed in proper style as typical allotment gardeners with dungarees and straw hats, fellow students roam Heidelberg singing and rapping. The media championships take place every year as a combination of a football tournament and a music festival for medical students in Germany.

Youtube & fbclid = IwAR3a1QUIZbd_zkrTLIr0VjMeKItXiId4tPwnkeaK1K4plWxut2cPcxbeU2U

Designing strebergarten according to the rules - ideas

Ecological gardening is very important in the Strebergarten. The umbrella association has found that 97 percent of its allotment gardeners collect rainwater for plant irrigation. Hardly fewer allotment gardeners dispose of garden waste on their own compost.

The rain barrel and compost heap actually leave enough space to design the little green garden paradise creatively. If it weren't for the precise requirements that every Strebergarten has to meet. A minimum area for growing vegetables, a hedge without a privacy factor or the maximum size of a gazebo are required. The following ideas would like to inspire you how you can still give your strebergarten a personal touch:

Growing fruits and vegetables


At least one third of the garden area in the Strebergarten is reserved for the non-commercial cultivation of fruit, berry bushes, vegetables and herbs. The following ideas summarize how you can creatively implement this premise:

  • Frugal vegetables: radishes (Raphanus sativus), peas (Pisum sativum), lentils (Lens culinaris)
  • delicious and easy to care for: carrots (Daucus carota), spinach (Spinacia oleracea), lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta)
  • Herbal spiral: build it yourself from natural stones and plant imaginatively with tasty herbs

So that you can easily reach your self-grown fruit and vegetables for maintenance and harvesting work, garden paths in the strebergarten with a recommended width of 30 to 40 centimeters should not be missing.

Hospitable enclosure

Each allotment garden is considered private use of public green. For this reason, the mandatory fencing is limited to a height of 100 to 125 centimeters, so that all citizens can enjoy the secluded garden areas and not just the tenants. In order to create a hospitable enclosure, ideas are required based on easy-care and representative solutions:

  • Cut-compatible flower hedge: Finger bush (Potentilla fruticosa), dwarf spar (Spiraea japonica), Japanese ornamental quince (Chaenomeles japonica)
  • Easy-care deciduous hedges: hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), privet (Ligustrum), field maple (Acer campestre)
  • Green hunter fence: hollyhock (Alcea), raspberry (Rubus), vetch (Lathyrus latifolius)

Conifers of all kinds, such as arborvitae (thuja), cone cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) or yew (taxus) are not recommended. Most conifers rarely tolerate regular pruning and are poisonous.


The best date for the obligatory hedge trimming is in February. Cut-compatible hornbeam hedges and other fast-growing deciduous hedges will bring you back into shape at the end of June for a well-groomed appearance at a height that complies with the rules.

Picturesque gazebo


The garden idyll in a small space is only perfect with a romantic gazebo. With a little manual skill you can build the arbor yourself. It is easier with ready-made kits. Clearly defined requirements mark the permitted framework conditions:

  • covered area: maximum 24 m²
  • Ridge height: monopitch roof 2.50 m, gable roof 3.50 m
  • important accessories: rain gutters to collect rainwater

Plan a terrace as a seat for cozy hours of leisure in your strebergarten. Since a gazebo cannot be used as a residence anyway, you can spare a few square meters of interior space for the terrace. By the way, privacy protection plants are allowed around the gazebo so you can linger undisturbed without prying eyes. Fast-growing flowering shrubs or majestic grasses in the tub are well suited.

Special areas

Greenhouses, cold frames or compost heaps are considered special areas in the strebergarten. These systems make a valuable contribution to the gardening use of the plot. These tips summarize how you can combine horticultural benefits with imaginative design:

  • Greenhouse : decorate with fairy lights, set up as winter quarters for potted plants
  • Cold frame : build from pallets with a removable attachment, plant as a colorful flower bed in summer
  • Compost heaps : plant with heavy-eaters such as rhubarb or pumpkin

The raised bed is not a special area in the literal sense of the allotment garden regulations, but is of course at eye level with hothouses & Co. in terms of benefits. The back-friendly variant of the bed design is perfect as a decorative eye-catcher and cultivation area for popular vegetables and strawberries. The raised bed is particularly recommended for the strebergarten in the immediate vicinity of the big city if the soil quality is impaired by pollutants.

frequently asked Questions

What is the difference between a strebergarten and a conventional recreational property?

A strebergarten is surprisingly cheap in contrast to other leisure plots on the open market. This fact is deliberate so that people from low-income groups can also enjoy an allotment garden. In return, the use is bound by numerous rules. For example, there is a requirement to use at least a third of the area for growing vegetables and fruit. Furthermore, you can never buy an allotment garden, but have to lease the plot from the allotment garden association.

How do I find a strebergarten in Cologne?

The Rhineland regional association is the first point of contact for establishing contact. At gartenfreunde-rheinland.de the association lists its district and district associations with all important contact details. Here you can find out whether there are currently free allotment gardens to lease or whether there is a waiting list. Our tip: Extend the radius to the Cologne area to optimize your chances of a quick success.

What does allotment use mean in the strebergarten?

This term is firmly anchored in the Federal Allotment Garden Act. Allotment garden use regulates the type and scope of management in the allotment garden, which is mandatory in return for the extra low lease price. The core feature is the non-commercial cultivation of useful plants according to ecological criteria. This means that annual and perennial vegetable plants, medicinal and aromatic herbs, field crops, strawberries, fruit trees, berry bushes and fruit-bearing climbers should thrive on at least a third of the garden area. According to the highest court ruling, it is not sufficient if an allotment garden consists of lawns and fruit trees.


In the imaginative allotment garden, the classic garden gnome is a thing of the past. Instead, give your strebergarten the finishing touches with smart accessories. A rustic washtub from the flea market serves as a planter that is well worth seeing. Grandfather's old wooden wheelbarrow sets the scene with radishes and chicory plants. A disused upholstered chair shines in the trendy shabby look, with frugal succulents sitting on its discarded seat.