Indiana Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects

Honor Award

Prophetstown State Park Aquatic Center for Indiana Department of Natural Resources

The project to construct a family aquatic center at Prophetstown was intended to expand recreational opportunities at one of the newest state parks in Indiana. The overall 2,000+ acre park, located at the confluence of the Tippecanoe River and the Wabash River, includes extensive oak savannah and prairie restoration, a historic farmstead, native American exhibits, camping, trails, and access to the Tippecanoe River and wetland features, but is continuing to expand facilities to enhance the user experience.

prophetstownstateparkaquaticcenter1  prophetstownstateparkaquaticcenter6






Incorporating an engaging aquatic facility into the open prairie landscape aesthetic without being garish was a key project goal. Initially designed for an approximate bather load of 700, with a plan for expansion to 1,200; components include a zero-depth leisure pool, water spray features, a large interactive water dumping feature, open water play, body and tube slides, a lazy river with adventure channel, lawn areas for sunbathing, lawn volleyball, deck area, wireless access for guests, bathhouse building, and concessions. Other features include a pool mechanical building, new access road, bike paths connected to the park trail network, parking lot, perimeter fencing, and landscaping that carries through the “prairie” theme of the park.

Subdued colors, utilization of natural materials, and thoughtful placement within the existing topography were points of emphasis. Views to and from the aquatic complex were planned to minimize views of parked cars and the impact on the park aesthetic.

The new aquatic center opened in 2013 and allows both new and returning park visitors the ability to cool off and have fun at the new facility.




Why Should I Use Native Plants?

Schmidt Associates predominantly utilizes native plants in our landscape designs. A simple definition of native is a species that originated in a geographic region without human involvement. These plants are best adapted for Indiana climate variations and the local pests.  Drought and disease resistance are great attributes of native species, but as evidenced by the damage caused by Emerald Ash Borer, an Asian beetle decimating native ash trees; native plants alone cannot replace the value of biodiversity in a planting.  A rich, biodiverse palette not only provides visual interest, habitat, and food sources; it also protects against disproportionate loss of any one species. Pollinators benefit from the multiple bloom times and nectar sources that diverse plantings provide.  As evidenced by the decline of Monarch butterfly populations, biodiverse plantings including milkweed are necessary for healthy ecosystems.

Three easy to grow, highly ornamental natives include:

Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower is a full sun, perennial native plant.  Enjoy the blooms all summer and into the fall as goldfinch feed on the seeds.

Coneflower at Bloomington Utilities

Amelanchier canadensis or serviceberry is a small, ornamental, native tree.  Its brief white spring bloom is followed by edible blueberrylike fruit.  Robins, Cardinals, and many other birds love this plant.

Amelanchier canadensis

Stylophorum diphyllum or celandine poppy is great for spring color.  This woodland wildflower thrives in moist semi-shaded areas and will colonize by self-seeding.  It is not easy to find in stores; grow this plant and share with friends!

celandine poppy

Remember that native plants are adapted and require lower maintenance, but that “no maintenance” is not realistic based on cultural aesthetic expectations.  Planting from seed may take a couple years of knocking back more aggressive weeds before the desired plant matrix is developed.  Once established, a mixed native grass/wildflower planting may need to be mowed early spring to tidy up the dead foliage.  Leaving this foliage through the winter provides visual interest and habitat. Aesthetics are typically more the cause of maintenance versus cultural needs of the plant.

Indiana’s native plants are beautiful!  Let’s use them to cultivate a healthy, vibrant and diverse ecosystem.