Horticultural Science Students Design, Build Kilgore Hall Garden

The landscape in front of Kilgore Hall will enter the new year with a new look.

Students in the Department of Horticultural Science’s Design Build Studio have partnered with the NC State Facilities Division to transform an existing landscape into a rain garden that will improve accessibility and stormwater management in the area.

“We’re learning how to construct a landscape, and what it takes to get it from paper to completion,” said horticultural science student Lian Farruggio. 

The site, which is located between Kilgore Hall and a Wolfline bus stop along Founders Drive, was selected for this project after recent modifications to a nearby roadway created runoff problems during heavy rain. To address these stormwater challenges, the Facilities Division installed three drain basins around which the Design Build students developed a comprehensive landscape design. 

Each student in the course developed a design for the landscape, and the best ideas were combined to create the final landscape plan. The students’ designs incorporate guidelines from the Campus Capacity and Assessment Study, as well as data they collected from a site inventory, including analysis of hydrology, topography, vegetation, sun patterns, biodiversity, lighting and pedestrian access. 

What made the data collection a bit easier is that Kilgore Hall is the home of the Department of Horticultural Science. 

“There’s a sense of pride [working on this project],” said horticultural science student Olivia Wingler. “We take it more seriously because it’s our own turf.”

The new landscape will incorporate permeable surfaces to absorb runoff during heavy rainfall, as well as plants that absorb stormwater and pollinator-friendly plants that attract beneficial pollinators. Many of the plants were bred by the Department of Horticultural Science.

Also, a new accessible pathway will provide a more convenient path into campus from the adjacent bus stop, and a new seating area will create an inviting space for outdoor studying or classes. 

With the exception of grading, which was completed by the Facilities Division, students in the course are responsible for implementing their design. As part of the course, they went on field trips to learn about materials and had workshops on woodworking, hardscape installation, bricklaying and more.

“This is a hands-on course that is really applicable to my career,” Wingler said. “This will help me see what I’m asking for when I design in the future.”

Students help prepare the site for hardscaping and plants. Some of the plants will be installed at the end of the course in December, with additional plants to be added in the spring when planting conditions are more favorable. 

Published in News.