The Parklands

A Woodland Garden in the Making

The Woodland Garden is one of the larger construction projects since the entire Parklands was opened in 2016, as well as our largest garden design installation. The inception of this project started far back in 2013 with an idea to preserve these 12 acres of woods as something special. Through the entire planning and construction, we considered sensitivity to space; researched the natural character and features of the site to improve the design. Our focus has been about augmenting and editing the woodlands to be something from great to inspiring. The design focus is for visitors to stroll through the woods to experience artful features, views along the paths, and the diversity of abundant native plants. 

Phase I of Woodland Garden construction. Photo by Quadrant Photography. 


Phase 1 of installation of the Woodland Garden was mostly complete in 2017, which we opened for a period in the summer and autumn of 2018. Phase 2 installation began in late spring 2018, which will continue into early 2019. Phase 2 is a larger and more complicated area with the construction of additional trails, a bridge, view decks, another rondel (circle of trees similar to the KY Coffee Tree Rondel seen along the Loop), seating, and greater plantings. Phase 1 and 2 areas are now closed for the safety of our visitors as we continue our work with heavy stone, grading, and moving plants. We promise there will be a beautiful garden be behold later in 2019!

Phase I of Woodland Garden construction. Photo by Quadrant Photography. 


Once fully open to the public, my greatest hope is that you will come away from the Woodland Garden feeling excited by the power of our wildlands; the beauty of our Kentucky region and inspiration to protect the unique natural landscape. As such, I hope you will consider becoming a Member at 

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About the Author

Picture of Tom Smarr

Tom Smarr

Tom is a seasoned professional with two decades of experience in horticulture, botanic gardens, conservation, and organic landscaping. He holds a master’s degree in urban horticulture from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He has worked for established institutions such as the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle, WA and New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham, MA. Tom’s most notable work has been leading the management of horticulture at newly urban designed parks starting with the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway opened in 2008 in downtown Boston, MA built on top of the infamous “Big Dig”. Most recently, Tom served as Horticulture Director at the High Line, a public park in New York City along unused, elevated train rails. He recently joined 21st Century Parks in Louisville, KY as Horticulture Director involved in the newly-built model urban park at The Parklands of Floyds Fork. He is committed to the preservation of our cultural landscapes through sensible design, horticulture practices and public education.