Monticello Sculpture Gardens’ “Solar Flair” Summer Flower Show Culminates with Solar Eclipse Event

Godfrey, IL


Solar Flair, the Monticello Sculpture Gardens’ 2017 Summer Garden Show, is a celebration of light energy, lunar cycles, and how plants connect us to the cosmos.  Designed by Terra’s Ellen Biegert and Rob Thompson, the thematic plantings in key areas across the Lewis and Clark Community College campus invite students, staff, and passers-by to witness the wonderment of the ultimate solar power – photosynthesis – beautifully showcased by out-of-this-world plants!

In concert with the Garden Show, cosmic-themed art retrospective featuring artist Michiko Itatani has been on display in the Hatheway Gallery through September 22nd.

Solar Flair, which opened in May 2017, culminated on August 21 with the viewing of a total solar eclipse, where the extraordinary “ring of fire” was visible. Lewis and Clark was fortunate enough to be on the cusp of the path of totality, and was sure to offer anyone present an opportunity to celebrate this rare event!


Prairie Garden Trust Master Plan Update

New Bloomfield, MO


We received a heartwarming update from one of our favorite clients, Henry and Lorna Domke from Prairie Garden Trust, on the status of Phase One improvements made to their homestead at the direction of our master plan. With a clear direction in mind for trails, plantings and plant maintenance, and visitor amenities, they have added new paved trails, parking and entrance areas, restrooms, and overlook platforms for many of the key vantage points of the site. Along with the ongoing effort of controlling invasive species, the staff horticulturist has also been developing major areas around the main entrance, the Visitors Center, the lake and ponds, and along the edges between forest and prairie and savanna.

In Lorna’s words, “Some elements of the plan may not be used for decades… but the primary and initial plan steps are just about complete, and we’re so, so happy with it! Best of all, our visitors are enraptured, too!”


Terra Releases Testimonial Video

Pittsburgh, PA

After celebrating our ten-year anniversary, and then continuing on to one of our busiest and most successful years to date, we took some time to reflect on Terra’s inspiring clients, peers, and projects that have brought our guiding principles as a firm to life over the years. This introspection was too exciting to contain internally – and resulted in the development of our first promotional video!

Terra’s Cindy Tyler has long said that, “As future trustees of our planet, children will only protect what they love, and only love what they know.” This video showcases our commitment to making this philosophy a reality.

Special Thanks to Jane Taylor (Michigan State University); Mary Helen Butler and Jim Duncan (Active and Former Directors, Memphis Botanic Garden); Eric Tschanz (Former Director, Powell Gardens); and Bob Brackman (Executive Director, San Antonio Botanical Garden) for their enthusiasm, support, and inspiration!  

Thanks also to 232 Creative for their expertise and good humor as we developed this project!

Beaver Station Cultural & Event Center Featured in ‘Beaver Times’ Article

Beaver, PA

Terra’s Rob Thompson, teaming with architects Pfaffmann + Associates, worked closely with the Directors of the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation to complete a site and building restoration at the historic train station in Beaver, PA. After developing an updated site plan for the grounds in 2015, Terra then produced detailed planting plans and provided peer review as the site was under construction.

The award-winning station is now host to more than 8,800 visitors a year, for events ranging from public art classes to non-profit fundraisers to wedding receptions and other family celebrations.

Most recently, the Heritage Foundation finalized the unique ‘Event Lawn Belvedere,’ a bandstand-like outdoor venue that repurposes the turret roof of a nearby, now-razed 1890s mansion. The Belvedere project is featured in the Beaver Times – read more here!

Franklin Park Conservatory's Children's Garden Breaks Ground!

Columbus, OH


In a special ceremony held in front of the future Children’s Garden site, Bruce Harkey announced the groundbreaking for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The event recognized the groundwork laid by FPC’s Master Plan 2.0 and gave special mention to Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation’s commitment to the Garden and to FPC’s mission to connect their community to educational, cultural, and social experiences.

Terra completed the master plan and schematic design for the Children’s Garden before moving on to construction documentation and administration for the project. Cindy had an opportunity to address the crowd as well, to introduce key features of the Garden that will specifically target reconnecting youth to their green world in an effort to combat nature deficit disorder.

Mead Botanical Garden Continues to Evolve

Winter Park, FL

Pictured back left: Bev Lassiter, Rick Daley, Linda Keen, Tom McMacken Pictured front left: Cynthia Hasenau, Cindy Tyler, Sue Foreman

Pictured back left: Bev Lassiter, Rick Daley, Linda Keen, Tom McMacken
Pictured front left: Cynthia Hasenau, Cindy Tyler, Sue Foreman

After performing a Master Plan Peer Review in 2015, Terra Design Studios returned to Mead Botanical Garden this spring to present a Concept Master Plan to key staff and members of their Board of Directors. Terra originally worked with the Garden to lay the groundwork for this master plan, and held a week-long intensive charrette that allowed our team to gain valuable insight into the site and its current features that support its mission to serve as “an urban oasis where nature, people, and culture are in harmony.”

Our presentations at Mead are not all work and no play though – there is always time for a selfie with this fun group, even if it is in-between reviews of drawings, workshops with staff, or even a trip to neighboring Leu Gardens for inspiration!

Terra Awarded Environmental Learning Center Master Plan

Vero Beach, FL


We are thrilled to have been chosen to develop a master plan for the Environmental Learning Center! Their 64-acre Natural Lagoon Island Preserve, located on the Indian River Lagoon in Vero Beach, FL, aims to educate, inspire, and empower all people, including those with minimal access to nature, to be active stewards of the environment and their own well-being. We will be holding workshops and meetings with board members, staff, and volunteers to get to the heart of what they hope their organization will become, all the while aiding them with the tools they’ll need to pursue phasing and a capital campaign.

Working alongside clients who have a similar mission is always a perk, and we are excited to develop a relationship with so dynamic a client. To boot, this project also gives us yet another opportunity to work alongside Strategic Planner Rick Daley from EMD Consulting – we have taken great pleasure in seeing him work his magic for some of our favorite institutions!


"Snow Day" Opens at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Pittsburgh, PA


Remember the excitement we all felt as kids, listening to the radio or watching the morning news to find out that school was closed that day? The alternative to going to school was a day outdoors in the snow, and endless opportunities for play! Terra’s fourth themed Winter Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will bring this feeling to life through plants and props ranging from snowball-wielding penguin topiary and poinsettia ice forts to warm, traditional planting arrangements (and a blanket fort!) that represent a cozy living room and cup of cocoa after the exhilaration of playing in the cold.

As part of Terra’s mission to create gardens that teach and inspire, this theme also serves as a gentle reminder that the winter time is still a great time for outdoor activities, tying into Phipps' Let’s Move Pittsburgh initiatives. 

As one of the few remaining public gardens in the U.S. to produce full-scale seasonal flower shows year-round, Phipps continues a tradition more than 120 years strong. Terra is honored to be part of this winter tradition once again! 

Terra Partners with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy on Transforming Twelfth Green Infrastructure Project

Homestead, PA

Terra was chosen by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to serve as the Landscape Architect and team leader for Phase I of the Transforming Twelfth Avenue in Homestead Project. The project aims to renew an urban corridor while artfully and effectively reducing stormwater runoff from a city block adjacent to the Barrett Elementary School in the Steel Valley School District (SVSD), and Terra is actively exploring ways to take first steps toward making SVSD the greenest in Allegheny county! The site will provide nature play and outdoor classroom opportunities while meeting stormwater management goals.

Beyond the design opportunity, Transforming 12th is unique for another very important reason. Terra’s staff, along with Bernie Lamm, professional engineer and natural philosopher from Common Ground, worked hand-in-hand with high school students participating in the Creating Value Program. Our typical design process, including site preparation, a kick-off charrette, conceptual designs, and coordination with our team engineer, became a project-based learning initiative that allowed the students to take ownership of the vision for a greener, healthier and more vibrant outdoor environment in their own backyards. The students performed site analyses, walked through the phases of the design process with Terra and stormwater management practices with Bernie, and ultimately presented the final design to the SVSD Board of Directors and community members. 

The Creating Value program’s green infrastructure projects are featured in the Fall issue of Conserve – turn to page six! 

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony held for Kingwood Center Gardens' Carriage House Renovation

Mansfield, OH

Pictured from center left: David Carto, Charles Gleaves, John Fernyak

Pictured from center left: David Carto, Charles Gleaves, John Fernyak

After the completion of a master plan in 2015, the Kingwood Center Gardens’ Board of Directors invited back Terra and architecture firm The Seckel Group to design much-needed renovations to the property's historic Carriage House and neighboring grounds. To complement the restored building’s ability to serve as an event space, the neighboring garden features an elegant terrace that overlooks a lush rain garden, fed by rainwater that is channeled from the building through custom-carved stormwater runnels. 

Both the renovated Carriage House and its adjacent garden also celebrate the historic orchard and agrarian principles originally used at the estate, with modern-day permaculture practices and a host of fruiting plants, an apple espalier, and more! 

A dedication ceremony, held in the renovated Carriage House in honor of its donors, James R. Borden and the family of Meredith Nail Stevens, was featured in the Richland Source. You can read more here

Gardens Through the Looking Glass Summer Garden Show opens at Monticello Sculpture Gardens

Godfrey, IL

Gardens Through the Looking Glass, Terra’s fifth Summer Garden show at the Monticello Sculpture Gardens, celebrates the 150-year anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” books while connecting people to plants through garden design. Located on the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College, the show also gives a nod to the school’s origins, the Monticello College, which was founded during the Victorian era.

The Looking Glass show is split into two zones to celebrate Alice’s Wonderland and the Monti’s Victorian era. The “Wonderland Zone” showcases new plant introduction and recent hybridizations introduced in the ornamental horticulture industry. The colors, textures, variety and whimsy of the newest releases are arranged in novel fashions, illustrating the range of variety within a species, and exploring novel styles of gardening, such as vertical green walls and exotic succulents/cacti displays. 

The “Victorian Zone” showcases heirloom plants of the Victorian era and those that were found on the Monticello College campus. Traditional gardening styles such as a knot garden, giant water lily garden, eyebrow and island beds, rose gardens, herb gardens and sun parlors are also on display. 

Beyond discussing differing gardening styles, Gardens Through the Looking Glass features interpretive signage that identify plants and includes a small narrative that compares and contrasts the present-day life of a Lewis and Clark student with that of a Monti girl through campus culture, curriculum, transportation, food, and technology.

Terra presents Pecha Kucha and PA Pride in two Summer Conference Sessions

Miami, FL | Columbia, SC

Terra’s Cindy Tyler continued her long-term attendance at the APGA Annual Conference and the AHS National Children & Youth Garden Symposium with two exciting conference presentations.

For the 2016 APGA Annual Conference, held in Miami, Cindy learned the art of the Pecha Kucha presentation alongside colleagues from small, university and large gardens. Their “Ramped Up, Rapid Fire” session showcased design success stories in the lively yet focused Pecha Kucha format, where each presenter must work within a 20-slide format that automatically advances after just 20 seconds per slide.

Half the fun was in the practice sessions before-hand. Cindy and co-moderator Bob Brackman from San Antonio Botanical Garden were able to catch up with Michelle Conklin from Tucson Botanical Gardens, Debby Edelman from Lewis and Clark Community College, Kathy Gilder from Huntsville Botanical Garden, Clem Hamilton from The Holden Arboretum, Stephanie Jutila from Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Patrick Larkin from Cheekwood Botanical Garden, and Scott Scarfone from Oasis Design Group as everyone learned how to transform such a concise format into an engaging and memorable story.

And though Cindy has presented at the NCYGS conference for 11 years, this year’s presentation was particularly meaningful because its topic is the driving force behind why she founded Terra. In “PA Pride: Innovations in K-12 Environmentally Conscious Programming” Cindy joined Steve Cooper from the Winchester Thurston North elementary school and Carole Wright from Valley School of Ligonier to discuss the increasing importance of getting kids outside and in touch with nature, particularly in a learning environment. Steve and Carole presented case studies on their outdoor classrooms within schools where academic rigor is the standard, while Cindy presented an overview of Terra’s Garden of Make-Believe at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, including the design for one of the nation’s first ASD Sensory Gardens in a woodland setting! 

Terra is awarded the design of the Children's Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Columbus, OH


We are excited to announce that Terra has been chosen from a national pool of candidates to design a children’s garden at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens!

The project kicked off in March with an on-site, week-long charrette. Cindy and Rob, along with Jenny Pope, the Conservatory’s Director of Community Outreach and Education, collaborated with several focus groups to gather input on the theming of the garden. Local students and their families, board members, donor groups, and Conservatory staff participated in lively workshops to help hone in on what means the most to the Columbus community. The overarching inspiration for the garden became ‘The Ever-changing Magic of the Ohio Landscape’! With this in mind, we set off to choreograph a family adventure unlike any other in the country. The garden will highlight the exquisite diversity and raw beauty of the central Ohio landscape, from woodlands and Paw Paw patches, to the drama of the Blackhand Sandstone bluffs and interactive streams of Hocking Hills.

But we decided that was not enough!  To enrich the experience and tie it all together, we have woven in a strong artistic thread that expands STEM to STEAM as families create their own ephemeral art in Nature Art Studio, offers playful aspects to artful storm water management components in Wetland Explore, and celebrates the glass art collection within the Conservatory by inviting local artisans to bring public glass art outdoors in the Rainbow Welcome Terrace.

No other family destination in the Columbus region offers this kind of interactive environment that invites us all to play and explore the beautiful dynamic of the Ohio landscape – come and visit in 2018!

Terra Turns Ten!

Pittsburgh, PA

Happy Anniversary to us! Terra has turned ten, a milestone that has us happily reflecting on our firm’s accomplishments and experiences along the way. Cindy is unwavering in her mission to create landscapes that teach, inspire, and succeed, principles she founded the company on in 2006. Even as Terra has evolved we remain driven by a passion to reconnect youth to their green world. We are so grateful for our clients, peers, colleagues and staff for helping Terra achieve this goal over the years! We are eager to see what the future holds, and hope you’ll be along for the ride with us!