A Successful Club Project: Lakemoor Legacy Park & Gardens

Submitteed by Wanda Taylor

The Lakemoor Legacy Park & Gardens is a lovely pocket park nestled deep in the Lakemoor Hills peninsula. Residents stroll and children bicycle along its paved path. Stacked stone benches provide a place to rest and enjoy the bucolic tranquility, including watching the birds that are attracted to this wildlife preserve. A little lending library offers the opportunity to read in peace. In contrast, in 2015, this land was a neglected bowl encircled by the Circle Lake Lane cul-de-sac owned by the highway department, which had no interest in its development.

That year, the Lakemoor Hills Garden Club proposed to develop this land that featured a small pond and raingarden. The club hired a landscape architect to develop the concept design for the rain garden and adjacent walking and seating areas. The club then partnered with Knox County Storm Water department, which provided a 60/40 grant to develop the storm water retention area and rain garden.

The grant allowed the club to excavate poor soil and replace it with healthy, seed free soil; acquire native plants through the Native Plant Rescue association; construct a permanent walkway around the rain garden; and provide an adjacent parking area. By 2018, the inner perimeter walkway was completed and the central rain garden was planted by the club members, UT Gardens, and AmeriCorps volunteers with an array of vigorous, native plants that prefer “wet .”

Further development was facilitated by a grant from Tennessee Agriculture, which allowed the purchase of 38 redbud, dogwood, horse chestnut, and pawpaw trees at a deep discount. Additionally, the club purchased and planted rhododendrons, deciduous azaleas, and ferns above the walking path that encircles the rain garden.

As the land is a bowl-shaped depression, it catches the runoff from adjacent paved and unpaved land. Heavy rains can inundate the rain garden with as much as three feet of water that generally recedes within 4 hours. The robust water incursion does present some erosion issues, which have been addressed with river stone waterways, boulders, and plant diverters. The first walkway made of packed crushed stone suffered from erosion and was later replaced with permanent asphalt paving.

Currently the park and garden is overseen by a club subcommittee that has developed a detailed masterplan being implemented over time. These plans recognize different areas within the park by their topography, soil, light, and water, including a grassy meadow; verdant woodlands, rock gardens; the rain garden surrounded by a mowed lawn; sunny, dry garden plantings; and a quiet, shady gathering space adjacent to the lending library.

This variety provides an excellent demonstration to residents throughout Lakemoor Hills to help them understand what plants will thrive on our peninsula under various conditions.

The park became the meeting place for the Lakemoor Hills Garden Club and the neighborhood book club during the SARS-CoV2 masking and social distancing period. The park and garden is now a featured Dogwood Arts Festival garden on the Lakemoor Hills Dogwood trail. Come visit!