Lone Oaks Farm Master Plan

Posted on November 3rd, 2017 at 8:20 am by



Lone Oaks Farm is all about the land. With 1,200 acres of pastures, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, streams and lakes, this is a place like no other. It epitomizes rural Tennessee’s natural beauty and exemplifies its fragile and diverse ecological landscape. Through the seamless integration of architecture, landscape architecture, agriculture and ecology, this ambitious master plan charts an actionable path forward to sensitively allow more than 30,000 students to annually visit or camp at the site alongside scores of business professionals, outdoorsmen and enthusiasts.



In 2010, The University of Tennessee and its UT Extension prioritized the creation of a new regional 4-H Center to be located at Lone Oaks Farm. With youth education firmly rooted at the heart of the project, the master plan design team actively engaged architecture students from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design to participate in the planning process.



Focus Area Plan: Youth Education & 4-H Camp Core


View of Camp Core and Central Green

Their studio involvement was a unique opportunity to forge an integrated understanding of ecology, landscape architecture, agriculture and architecture in a real-world setting with real-world implications.



Led by Nelson Byrd Woltz, the design team began with a rigorous investigation of the landscape. Conducted over two days in April, the Lone Oaks Farm BioBlitz—a rapid biological survey developed by the Conservation Agriculture Studio at NBW—brought landscape architects, architects, Tennessee-based ecologists, scientists and conservationists, as well as Lone Oaks Farm staff, UT students and professors together for an intensely close examination of the site’s existing biodiversity.



Day and night, professionals and students combed the farm collecting data, specimen, samples and observing behavioral patterns of all life present at the farm. The information gathered served to establish a foundation for future ecological monitoring in addition to informing ongoing management principles and guidelines for development.



Over two full academic semesters, the studio engaged with more than one hundred individuals—scientists, architects, planners, landscape architects, youth educators and community members—in design charrettes, on-line meetings and on-site presentations. The students’ efforts added depth and richness to the master planning process and expanded the program.


Comprehensive Site Program



Their contributions dramatically elevated the quality and vitality of the final plan. The design team openly invited students into the project and the students welcomed the professionals into their studies—this unique form of sanctioned meddling resulted in a resonant educational experience for the students and a powerful master plan for Lone Oaks Farm.


Ecological Assets Matrix


Drawing on cues from the landscape, each cluster of camp cabins is associated with a distinct ecosystem through the modification of a basic architectural element. These distinctions give variation and identity to each cabin cluster.


Focus Area Plan: Youth Education & 4-H Cabin Clusters

Lake Cabins

Meadow Cabins

Forest Cabins


The architecture already present on the site is distinct in form and pastoral in appearance. Dark charcoal paint—named “Ledbetter Bronze” for the previous owners—unifies every structure and informed the aesthetic and performative guidelines for future buildings.




Aesthetic and Performative Building Strategies


The project is a phased master plan that opens the land at Lone Oaks Farm to both private and public entities. Existing and new buildings will be available for a wide range of private corporate events, weddings, overnight stays and retreats.


Focus Area Plan: Sporting Clays Center


A new 18-stand shooting sports course, five stand and hunter education center will be available to the public as will an expansive system of trails and a leadership pavilion.


Focus Area Plan: Hospitality Complex


In the hospitality complex, a new 30 room inn, stand-alone farm-to-table restaurant and luxury health and wellness center will be available for both public and private use.

The University of Tennessee (UT) is one of the premier public universities in the nation. And, as a land grant institution, the UT Institute of Agriculture is connected to every community in the state through ninety-five county Extension offices, ten AgResearch centers, and four education centers.


Lone Oaks Farm is more than just a place.

It is part of a hybrid public asset much larger than its expansive 1200 acres. It is a working farm where things are grown and nurtured. It is a living laboratory for future generations, and with the guidance of this master plan, it will be a hub of fact-based learning and cutting-edge STEM education. It will be a highly sought after outdoor entertainment venue as well as a model of innovative agricultural practices and forward-thinking landscape conservation. People of all ages and backgrounds will visit Lone Oaks Farm to engage in the outdoors and experience a landscape unlike any other.