About Us

Ben Pethel The Penland Studio


Owned and operated by registered landscape architect Ben Pethel, The Penland Studio is among Knoxville’s premier landscape architecture firms. Since founding The Penland Studio in 2005, Ben has been able to shape commercial and institutional projects as well as creatively challenging residential projects.

After spending most of his career employed by big firms who deal mostly with large-scale projects, Ben thrives on the more varied challenges of simultaneously addressing commercial, institutional and residential sites. He enjoys exploring the unique design and technical components of individual projects, learning more about how people interact with outdoor spaces, solving problems, and helping others to improve and enjoy their environments.

Knoxville-Area Work

Ben studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia and graduated cum laude in 1993. He took a job with a firm in Saratoga Springs, New York, and though he liked the company, his colleagues, and the beautiful area, he quickly felt the need to move back to warmer climes.

Ben relocated to Knoxville and took a job with the Knoxville firm Ross/Fowler P.C. There, he mentored for the first two years and fulfilled the stringent requirements for licensing in his profession, becoming a registered landscape architect in 1996. He spent the next eight years gaining extensive experience collaborating on all phases of large-scale projects, including Volunteer Landing, Market Square, several University of Tennessee buildings, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall in Nashville, the Knoxville World’s Fair Park, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and McGhee Tyson Airport. It was here where he developed a passion for designing fountains, parks, and recreational spaces; however, he longed to include residential design in the mix.

Today, Ben’s company designs residential, commercial, and institutional projects as well consulting with other landscape architecture firms, particularly on projects requiring additional expertise in parks and recreational spaces. He is active in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), serves as a guest lecturer for the new Master of Landscape Architecture program at UT Knoxville, and holds a seat on the board of the Tennessee Technology Corridor Development Authority.

The Personal Side

Ben is a loving husband to a terrific wife and father to two young sons. He is active in his sons’ Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops, and enjoys taking them boating, fishing, and camping on the weekends. Ben’s job keeps him busy both in the office and outside, so staying healthy is an important part of his life. In his own words, Ben is “hooked” on yoga, and tries to practice daily. Naturally, Ben does a lot of yard work at home, though his love of landscape design sometimes leads him to turn simple lawn care tasks into major home improvement projects.

If you’d like to learn more about The Penland Studio, contact us!