Completion Date



Asheville, NC


The North Carolina Arboretum


424 acres


Rick Alexander and Associates, Inc.

North Carolina Arboretum
Gardens and Infrastructure

The North Carolina Arboretum is located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest just south of Asheville and adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 393. The Arboretum was established as an affiliate of the University of North Carolina by the State General Assembly in 1986, nearly a century after Frederick law Olmsted, the Father of American Landscape Architecture, first envisioned a research arboretum as part of his legacy and plan for George Vanderbilt at the Biltmore Estate.

O’Brien Atkins designed eleven individual projects at The Arboretum: a 400-seat outdoor amphitheater, a main entry road and garden, auto/bus parking, pedestrian trails and a series of small garden “rooms,” known as the quilt, stream, spring and outdoor events gardens.  These gardens reflect, through the use of a variety of materials, the heritage of the Southern Appalachian region.