McCrory Gardens

Master Plan and Fundraising Support

Brookings, SD

Since 1966, McCrory Gardens at South Dakota State University has grown from research plots and volunteer-planted flower beds into a respectable collection of woody and herbaceous plants.  Its 20 acres of tended gardens and 50 acres of naturalized plantings are well-loved by the Brookings community for its restorative qualities.  However, as is often the case when gardens evolve without a master plan, the collections and display areas were in dire need of an overarching theme to intellectually and emotionally knit the experience together for visitors.  Terra Design Studios was called upon to work with stakeholders to evaluate the present collections, craft topics and themes for the gardens with the help of The Acorn Group, and ultimately put those themes to work during the master planning for the Gardens.

As a result of several charettes held with students, faculty and the community, the Terra team discovered that a key topic – cultural heritage – was missing from the fabric of the Garden.  In the ensuing master plan, Terra created the Heritage Gardens, a series of galleries that highlight the plant/people relationship for Native Americans, European settlers and plant explorers of the region.  These beautifully-designed vignette gardens plan to utilize striking horticulture, sensory stimulation and spatial complexity to inspire visitors to honor their cultural prairie heritage.

Upon completion of the master plan, Terra went on to help the Gardens with their fundraising campaign by establishing giving ladders, preparing donor brochures and leading donor presentations.


  • The Acorn Group

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