The Irvine Ranch® may be vast, but life on The Ranch is a small-town experience.
Residential areas are carefully planned as “villages,” each of which has a distinctive character that gives residents a sense of place within the sprawling urban region of Southern California.
To come up with a vision of what each village’s character will be, planners look to the land itself. They evaluate the area’s natural features and determine what will need to be preserved and protected, and they consider how the topography should influence architectural design. The design is then carried out throughout the village, in neighborhood monuments and community buildings as well as residences.
This visioning process makes each village unique, giving residents a variety of choices when they consider what type of environment is best suited to their tastes and life style.
Turtle Rock, a village in Irvine that was established more than 30 years ago, is an example of how the land influences the site plan for a community. Planners made a special effort to preserve the area’s hilltops when they determined where to build homes. And in Shady Canyon, a village in Irvine that has a special rural atmosphere, custom home sites are tucked into the hills, and native Southern California vegetation has been preserved. Both communities are examples of how thoughtful planning results in developments that are in harmony with their surroundings.
Architectural details are used to reinforce the village’s identity. For example, this is done by establishing identifiable points of entry and integrating project walls and fences into the design structure and environment. Careful attention is also given to areas that transition to open spaces.
Landscape design also reinforces the character of a village while helping residents feel connected to the outdoors. Careful consideration is given to local area vegetation and influences and to the type and height and locations of landscape elements to support and edge a project’s open spaces and corridors.
The landscape palate is simple and bold, with detail and accent reserved for areas of high pedestrian use such as building entries and gathering and recreation areas. Landscape design is never a decoration or an afterthought; landscape plans and guidelines are prepared early on to serve as guidepost in building communities.
Master planning for The Irvine Ranch® emphasizes continuity, but also allows for flexibility. Once neighborhoods are established with a strong site plan and a design approach that will preserve a certain character over time, they evolve as residents and neighborhood associations put their own imprint on their community.
Private homeowner associations ensure that the infrastructure of the community is maintained and control the aesthetics of future development.