Remote Community Living
Preservation. Light-touch. Conservation. These are all defining characteristics of The Woods, a 400-acre rural community dedicated to preserving a vast 150-acre nature preserve along the Brazos Valley countryside. The Woods seeks to unite homeowners with their passion for wildlife and the outdoors while preserving and improving the native habitat.
Located south of College Station, Texas, The Woods differs substantially from conventional residential subdivisions. The development is a collaboration between an architect (Lake|Flato Architects), a conservation land planner and landscape architect (TBG Partners) and an environmental scientist (Plateau Land & Wildlife Management) working closely with a multi-generational Texas landowner family with roots planted in this land going back generations.
While it would have been easy to carve up the entire tract and sell it in parcels, the owners instead made the conscious decision to respect the natural character of the land, create an intertwined network of wooded trails and create a walkable community dedicated to secluded homesites. With the thoughtful collaboration combining environmental sensitivity, artful landscape and architecture fulfilling a family’s legacy, a rural community established a viable conservation development with a strong sense of place.
The vision for The Woods is more than shared deed restrictions; it’s a commitment to treading lightly on the land and conserving the flora and fauna that were there long before the community. Through a substantial amount of field work, the consultants and owners worked together to walk the land and create street layouts, home sites and open space that worked naturally and complemented the land. Together, the project team developed a new standard in the preparation of land for residential use, leaving the smallest possible impact on the native conditions while creating and maintaining a cohesive and rural residential community.
While conservation easements are typically owned by a land trust, The Woods’ common areas are owned by the homeowner’s association and the entire property managed under a Wildlife Management Plan. The collective owners protected the land with legal restrictions for the entire community, ensuring they can never be developed.
Visually descriptive architecture and landscape architecture standards were put into place to ensure a contemporary rural character. The architecture embraces the land and wide, protected wilderness buffers on each lot ensures every homesite has privacy. Meadows and clearings also exist within each of the sites, using senderos – or pathways – that lead to a connected web of trails and common open spaces, including a special clearing for picnicking and gathering area for family and friends.
Once complete, the extensive network of native trees and plants, an expanse of over 400 acres, will be gently impacted by a mere 21 carefully integrated homes and meandering private streets to minimize disturbance to the ecosystem.
The creation of this unique community, nestled among the Brazos Valley flora and fauna, truly gives residents the opportunity to live remotely in nature while still being connected to a community. In a world where development is all too often heavy-handed, The Woods provides a naturally beautiful and healthy respite for all living things.