Public Gardens

Terra Design Studios is a proud member of the American Public Garden Association, and actively supports gardens of all sizes. Our master plans have served as road maps for gardens as small as one acre and for land in the hundreds of acres - no matter their size, our commitment to create landscapes that teach, inspire, and succeed does not waver. 




The Kingwood Center Gardens is the former estate of Charles Kelley King, once-president of the Ohio Brass Company. King created a trust for his personal residence to become public gardens upon his death, and the grounds were converted in 1953.

In September 2014, Kingwood Center selected Terra and their team members, Seckel Group, The Acorn Group and EMD Consulting Group, from a national pool of candidates to design a Master Plan for the Gardens that respects the history of the Center while providing opportunity for increased revenue. Terra’s team prepared an interpretive prospectus, strategic vision, architectural evaluation, and a site plan that ties these historical and modern-day components together.

With an overall goal of supporting and accentuating the enjoyment and understanding of the Gardens and their horticulture, a Plan was developed that revamped the existing gardens throughout the estate while adding new displays that will attract a wider variety of visitor. Specific areas have also been outlined to serve as event spaces, increasing the Gardens’ visibility in the Mansfield community.

Kingwood Center celebrated its 50-year anniversary as a public garden in 2016, and within that year saw phase one of the Master Plan implemented. A renovation of the Carriage House and Patio garden, led by Terra and The Seckel Group, was constructed in late summer. The momentum is only building for Kingwood as they embark on their first capital campaign in organization history.



Mead Botanical Garden is truly a wild and wonderful 50-acre slice of nature in the dense development of Winter Park’s homes, business and academic campuses. Mead’s ecological and cultural heritage stories are rich and varied. The Garden was founded in 1940 to honor T.L. Mead, a noted bromeliad and orchid propagator and butterfly expert. The site - a culmination of land donated by philanthropists, professors, childhood friends, a senator and the mayor, in honor of T.L. Mead - offers a wonderful balance of remnants of original garden elements, newly-restored wetland systems that treat surrounding City runoff, a pond and meandering creek that regularly attract herons and egrets, pine scrub, and a healthy gopher tortoise population.

Owned by the City and managed by a dedicated Board, the Garden hired Terra to take Mead from a beloved nature park to a fiscally-sustainable and flourishing blend of nature gardens and ecosystem restoration.  Along with strategic planners EMD Consulting, Terra led a two day workshop with key stakeholders to help formulate a vision for Mead’s next phase.  We have since been asked to lead a team of architects, civil engineers, and environmental scientists to prepare a full master site plan for the Garden, including a phasing strategy for concurrent improvements with fundraising efforts.

Phase One will likely include a Visitor Center, green parking lot, new nature gardens and a greenhouse ruin garden that focuses upon T.L. Mead’s legacy.



Fellows Riverside Gardens is one of the true gems of Youngstown, Ohio. It occupies the northern-most tip of Mill Creek Metroparks, and enjoys commanding views of Lake Glacier to the south and Youngstown’s skyline to the north. Terra Design Studios began a revision to the Master Plan in 2006 which included an intense public participation phase to develop a sound program for the Gardens that represents the stakeholders’ goals and values. The plan capitalizes upon the foresight of its administration to continue to upgrade and improve upon the historical essence of the Gardens by gently overlaying 21st century demands on the site. One of the primary goals of the Master Plan is to improve the visitor experience for both a vehicular and pedestrian standpoint. The existing residential street grid will be re-aligned to improve the Gardens’ visibility, create safe intersections, and improve access for delivery vehicles. Inside the Gardens, pedestrian circulation will be improved to meet accessibility guidelines and provide clear wayfinding.

After the completion of the Master Plan, Terra assisted the Gardens in redirecting their brand from that of a traditional rose garden to one of sustainability. We redesigned the Great Lawn to include an artful stormwater solution to long-standing drainage issues; amplified biodiversity in the newly-created Ohio Woodland Garden through the addition of native plantings; welcomed visitors into the treetops by way of a future Canopy Walk; and helped grow the next generation of Earth’s stewards in the pollinator-pleasing Family Garden. In an effort to encourage a more diverse audience, additional garden spaces are specifically planned to entice new visitors, such as families and birdwatchers.  



More than 900 acres of restored prairie, woodlands, and wetlands embrace a collection of display gardens and E. Faye Jones prairie-style architecture at Powell Gardens. Officially designated as a botanical garden in 1988, Powell Gardens has evolved from a Boy Scout camp to a horticultural destination that celebrates the natural and cultural heritage of the region. Cindy Tyler was involved with Powell’s stewardship for over 15 years, leading the design for the updated Master Plan, Heartland Harvest, the nation’s largest seed-to-plate garden, and Fountain Garden and the surrounding eight terraced beds that comprise the Insectary Gardens.

As is often the case with 21st century botanical gardens, Powell is actively seeking alternative ways to earn income to support their operations. In addition to admission fees, membership dues, event rentals and gift shop sales, they are building upon the heirloom brand that Heartland Harvest offers by producing and distributing Powell-grown organic tomatoes to Kansas City. A new entrance adorned with a 70’ long architectural artifact from Kansas City will be added to the visitor experience along US 50, expanding the Powell Garden experience to this major highway and enticing visitors to explore core display and natural gardens.

The Master Plan also explores an updated land-art amphitheater, enhanced walking trails through the woodlands, and a Romantic Garden overlooking the lake.



Cindy Tyler began her involvement with the Naples Botanical Garden while a partner with MTR. During that period she led the development of the Master Plan and prepared designs for one of its first phases: the upland trail to the upland habitat. When the Garden hired a new Executive Director, Cindy was called back to revise the Master Plan. Under the direction of the newly appointed Brian Holley, she worked with the design team in Naples to develop a plan whose central theme was “Plants and People of the 26th Latitude”, with a stronger focus on what draws people to gardens – color.

Also key to the redevelopment of the Master Plan was the desire to set a clear example of wetland conservation to the community. A strong conservational message was woven through the redesign of the Plan to preserve all existing wetlands of significance, and the ensuing design challenge was to create a lake system that still provided spectacular views and sufficient fill for the project while avoiding wetland disturbance.

The revised Master Plan also had to respond to the dire need to reduce the operating and construction costs for Phase One of the project. The resulting Plan provides flexibility for future phasing, lower operating costs, and smaller construction costs, while maintaining a dramatic and powerful design. This ultimately set the stage for international designers to create horticulturally rich gardens, such as the Kathleen & Scott Kapnick Brazilian Garden designed by Raymond Jungles (pictured left) and the Marcia and L. Bates Lea Asian Garden designed by Made Wijaya (pictured right).   



Denver Botanic Gardens’ Master Plan called for an anchoring series of garden galleries that would offer an outdoor venue alongside a major event building. Cindy Tyler, while working for Environmental Planning and Design, teamed with architecture firm Morgan Associates to develop three linked, elegant outdoor rooms that offer both a serene setting for daily visitors and an unforgettable backdrop for weddings and galas. The Romantic Gardens were designed to completely engage the senses by leading visitors through a carefully orchestrated sequence of three outdoor rooms: the El Pomar Waterway Garden, the Fragrance Garden, and the Romantic Courtyard, Schlessman Plaza.

The Romantic Gardens feature purity of form and striking colors, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s patterns which are on display in the Visitors Center. Additional inspiration came from Mexican architect Luis Barragan. The Waterway Garden in particular feature stucco and tiled walls and an azure canal that complement columnar trees seated within a geometric groundcover pattern. These garden rooms delight the senses with soothing sounds of water and wind, curvilinear seat walls, colorful perennials that attract butterflies, and carefully designed enclosures that retain the fragrant scents of the blooms on display. Careful detailing and material selection have allowed the Romantic Gardens to gracefully endure over fifteen years of Denver’s weather extremes and high volumes of visitor traffic, with great success.

Cindy Tyler was the project director of the Romantic Gardens, responsible for design development through construction administration.