Trail Hub Landscape Design Proposal

William Stratton + Nicole Rebeck

William Stratton + Nicole Rebeck

In December 2014, Tryon Farm Institute funded a 4-day intensive design internship for two Master of Landscape Architecture graduate students from Ball State University: Nicole Rebeck and William (‘Billy’) Stratton.  Nicole and Billy were tasked with re-imagining an existing under-designed / under-utilized landscape space at Tryon Farm that features two existing constructed wastewater wetlands.

The students spent their first days investigating the site, taking measurements of existing conditions, and diagramming ideas about the site context.  It became evident that the site’s unique location within the Farm presented an opportunity to serve as a Hub, both for intersecting pathways and roadways, but also for ecological environments.

site-introduction site-photos


What follows is a proposal to transform the existing site (as seen in the “Site Photos” above) into an inviting trail hub space that welcomes visitors and serves as a jumping-off point for exploring the 100’s of acres of preserved natural areas of Tryon Farm.

At the center of the proposal — physically and conceptually — is the Trail Hub Plaza, a natural hardscape space featuring a large stone ‘orientation plate’ surrounded by bands of native gardens. The space provides introductory site information to visitors as well as a great place to sit and enjoy the adjacent gardens and wildlife.

The surrounding bands of planted gardens provide an ecological demonstration function to educate visitors about the variety of ecological features they’ll encounter throughout the surrounding landscape.  site-plan view-from-north view-from-roadgarden-bands


The proposal calls for a series of physical hardscape and landscape (flora) improvements, including a series of short retaining walls, pathways, and garden boxes (‘bands’).  Below is a palette of material options recommended for the various features, depending on final design decisions and costing work.

A gallery of photos of all the work and of the process are available to view on our Flickr page.

Tryon Farm Institute is grateful for the generous donation of lodging and studio space accommodations for the interns at the Tryon Farm Guesthouse by its proprietor Innkeeper Claudia Geise — who also donates her time to serve as a TFI Board Member.  In addition brand new TFI Board Member Jill Fekete arranged for the donation of 2 box full of Pacific Foods treats including soups, milk and hummus.  THANK YOU!


About TryonFarmInstitute

Tryon Farm Institute, Inc. (TFI) is an Indiana chartered non-profit land trust and education organization with a mission to connect human and natural communities by promoting habitat diversity and sustainable land husbandry.


  1. I like it!!!! Just really curious about “haha” walls. I assume that we don’t have to giggle while we enjoy the view? :)

    • Thanks Judy, giggling is encouraged! HaHa walls are an old clever invention popular in European estates. They’re designed to hide the necessary fences/barriers required to keep the grazing animals from stomping up onto the marble steps of the manors. Their simple but deceptive design allows the viewer from the house to look out over the landscape without seeing any stone walls or fences.

      HaHa’s have a good Wikipedia page ( — the visuals are important to understanding how they work:
      “A ha-ha (or ha-ha wall) is a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier while preserving views. The design includes a turfed incline which slopes downward to a sharply vertical face, typically a masonry retaining wall. Ha-has are used in landscape design to prevent access to a garden, for example by grazing livestock, without obstructing views. In security design, the element is used to deter vehicular access to a site while minimizing visual obstruction. The name “ha-ha” derives from the unexpected (i.e., amusing) moment of discovery when, on approach, the recessed wall suddenly becomes visible.”

  2. Pingback: Trail Hub Design | Nicole Rebeck

  3. eve noonan

    Such positiive and lovely ideas….hope this is posted in the barn for people to examine and learn. Congrats to TFI for these new student projects. Any press release to the local media? Interviews by press with students here now?

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