CONNECTING WITH NATURE
Cypress Community Creates Inviting Spaces for Recreation and Activity
By Marsha Canright • Photos courtesy of Bridgeland
Close your eyes and picture a community with thousands of acres of lakes and waterways, trails and parks. Imagine never being more than a five-minute walk from green space, but still near a town center with upscale retail and dining options. It’s especially compelling for anybody living in a concrete jungle like Houston.
With scary headlines like “sitting is the new smoking” and constant reminders from physicians to get up and get moving, finding ways to fit activity into our lifestyles has risen in importance. Which means that new phrases come into play when it’s time to purchase a new home. What’s the walkability score? Is it close to parks or recreation centers? Has nature been preserved in the neighborhood?
One master-planned community that seems to have health and fitness in mind is Bridgeland® in Cypress, with more than 11,000 acres and a firm relationship with the environment that builds on the agricultural legacy of Katy Prairie.
“Having a connection to nature is extremely important to us at Howard Hughes as we develop our communities,” says Heath Melton, the vice president of master planned communities for the Howard Hughes Corporation, parent company of Bridgeland manager The Woodlands Development Company.
Melton points to studies that show an association between access to open spaces, parks and playgrounds, as well as better perceived health, reduced stress levels and lower healthcare costs. But, more than that, Melton also believes an essential ingredient in creating a community is providing place-making areas.
“These are places where people get to know their neighbors, live life outside of the walls of their homes and make memories,” says Melton. “Parks, trails and green space give residents a place to recreate, come together for social gathers and, of course, enjoy the outdoors and exercise.”
Along the miles of interconnected trails, residents will find wildlife observation areas, exercise stations and comprehensive educational signage. Across the acres of parks and playgrounds, they will discover a ten-acre disc golf course, butterfly garden and maze garden. And for the lakes and waterways, complimentary kayaks, canoes and paddleboats are provided. If a little catch-and-release fishing in the property’s lakes — stocked with catfish, brim and spotted bass — is more their style, then fishing poles and bait are available.
“We like to say that a community is more than just streets, beautiful landscaping and stunning home sites,” says Melton. “It’s about the people, place-making and making memories.” Over at the 6,000-square-foot Lakeland Activity Center residents can take advantage of tennis courts, picnic tables or the resort-style swimming complex that houses a six-lane junior Olympic-size pool, two diving platforms, a gradual-depth play pool, two 30-foot tower slides for tubing and a spray park. The activity center also staffs a full-time activities director who keeps the calendar booked with a variety of events, classes and workshops, not to mention more than 30 community groups and clubs that meet on a regular basis.
That attention to detail shows through in the construction, too, with new floor plans in Parkland Village, the second of four planned communities within Bridgeland. Taylor Morrison, in an effort to meet the increasing demand for multi-generational living space, has introduced a floor plan with two first-floor master bedrooms. Melton says the second master bedroom also offers a small living and seating area that “allows the right amount of privacy when needed.”
Melton says Trendmaker was one of the first builders in the market to really focus on transitional modern interiors and they took that approach to the exterior elevations on two of their model home sites. Highland Homes also introduced transitional modern interior elements as well as a painted brick elevation to their home site. And the Newmark model home boasts an interior courtyard off the entry, providing a centralized, open-air entertainment area that Melton says offers “a wonderful sense of arrival.”
Bridgeland Welcome Center