The Tylee Farm Master Plan provides the opportunity to intertwine contemporary practices of prairie restoration and curated experiential sequences, with potentially opposing places for active recreation, and equestrian facilities, on a family heritage farm. Through collaboration with soil scientists, botanists, and local ecologists, the landscape architect developed a site plan and thirtyyear management plan that will create a beautiful and resilient expression of the Southern Post Oak Savanna. This beauty is intended to deepen stewardship of the land, with aspirations of inspiring other landowners to restore their heritage farms and ranches to not only provide a retreat for their families, but also to restore habitat back into the once vast prairies and savannas of south central Texas and throughout the country.
The intention of this master plan is to create a framework that will guide Tylee Farm as it grows into a place that ties the family together—through active recreation and thoughtful stewardship. The master plan addresses immediate restoration and construction projects, and considers potential futures for Tylee Farm. The farm will include places for equestrian recreation as well as places for quiet observation—a place for the immediate and extended family to anticipate returning to for generations. The Tylee Farm Master Plan locates a polo field, a stable, and pastures within a matrix of restored savannas and woodlands. It features a system of paths to accommodate bird watching, equestrian trails, and a diversity of hikes throughout the site.
With the intention of developing biological and spatial complexity with a simple set of rules, a management plan was developed that proposes three basic canopytypes: grassland, savanna, and woodland . Below these three canopy types different management practices will be applied to the groundplane. This strategy allows the farm management staff to make routine maintenance decisions based on a set of rules, for example the plan defines where to mow, where to remove dead trees, and where to allow snags to remain. This master plan intends to restore abundant diversity to Tylee Farm, but also recognizes that this is a designed and managed space. It was cycles of periodic disturbances that created the biological diversity of the Southern Post Oak Savanna, and only with intentional management will that diversity thrive. The restoration and management of the site will be a collaboration between the family at Tylee Farm, their management staff, local restoration specialists, and the landscape architects.
In January of 2016, the first prescribed burn was performed at Tylee Farm. With detailed studies of vegetation on site before the burn, comparisons can be made as the species populations begin to change. In addition to studies of the vegetation, species diversity will be noted by recording avian populations. The owner’s interest in habitat restoration began with an interest in birds, and through bird watching, the success of the prairie restoration can be measured by the increase in bird population and diversity.