Childhelp Children’s Center of East Tennessee
Project overview
YEAR: 2021 CLIENT: Childhelp Children's Center of East Tennessee LOCATION: 623 Lindsay Place SW, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37919 VOLUNTEER(S): Elizabeth Ellis, Landscape Designer with IBI Placemaking
  • New landscaping plan for existing site
  • Current empty lot next to parking will be transformed into meditation garden
  • New crosswalks and sidewalk added
  • New bus shelter near garden
  • Shade and Ornamental trees throughout

The East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC) was contacted by Eddie Smith, Program Director with Childhelp Children’s Center of East Tennessee. Mr. Smith requested assistance with developing a campus landscape plan, considering play equipment locations, and developing a meditation garden. Elizabeth Ellis, landscape designer with IBIPlacemaking, served as the ETCDC volunteer professional advisor. Elizabeth Ellis, Eddie Smith, and Leslie Fawaz … Read More

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The East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC) was contacted by Eddie Smith, Program Director with Childhelp Children’s Center of East Tennessee. Mr. Smith requested assistance with developing a campus landscape plan, considering play equipment locations, and developing a meditation garden. Elizabeth Ellis, landscape designer with IBI
Placemaking, served as the ETCDC volunteer professional advisor.


Elizabeth Ellis, Eddie Smith, and Leslie Fawaz – ETCDC Studio Director – met and toured the site on November 17th, 2020. The Childhelp facility had been recently renovated, but a campus landscape plan was not part of the construction process. When touring the site, the team noted several trees that were damaged or dying that would need to be removed. A new block retaining wall at the parking area was also recently installed. The trees closest to Kingston Pike that screened a neighboring house were mistakenly removed and that area needed to be included in the new plan.


The first concept review meeting was held on December 15th, 2020. Ms. Ellis and Ms. Fawaz presented the concept plans to Mr. Smith for review. Ms. Ellis developed two concept plans for the meditation garden; one had a stone path maze and the other was more abstract, but both garden designs incorporated very vibrant and sensory plant options such as lamb’s ear plant, russian sage, butterfly milkweed, and english lavender.

Mr. Smith and his staff selected a meditation garden design and Ms. Ellis, Ms. Fawaz and Mr. Dustin Durham – ETCDC Design Studio Assistant – developed a final rendered site plan and image board. The second concept plan was presented to Mr. Smith on February 2, 2021.

The final site plan included new landscaping at the building entrance and side yard. There is a new area for play equipment that is proposed for the front corner of the site. This installation needs to be reviewed and potential liabilities considered before moving forward with the proposed play equipment installation. The plan proposes a soft surface poured material at the front play area and the side fenced playground. Specific play equipment for both areas is under consideration.


The section at the side parking lot requires removal of invasive plants and the plan proposes several new trees to be added. Large caliper sweet bay magnolias are proposed to help screen the neighbors property at the back of the site.

There will be new painted crosswalks, a covered bus stop, and the mediation garden. The meditation garden has benches, shrubbery, ornamental trees and a shade tree around the perimeter. The garden center is a finely crushed stone path, which is in the form a of a maze and is accessible. The garden has areas for sensory planting options.

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