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sittin’ on the dock of the bay


You know the song. A mere five seconds in and your troubles have already melted away. Your daily stress is forgotten. You’re not worried about your list of things you need to get done. There’s suddenly nothing more important in that moment than just relaxing, breathing, reconnecting, and sitting with the world around you.

Design Inspiration and Owner Buy-In
What started with a video presentation of inspiring lake house imagery, set to the tune of Otis Redding’s classic hit, Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay, resulted in the birth of the Sawmill Lake Club vision.

The ownership team, while kicked back in the conference room chairs, nodding their heads to the song, bought into the idea that this project should be a community getaway based on the concept of a family lake house.

Residents of Sienna Plantation would be able to escape the stress of the daily hustle and bustle to their very own community lake house, promising new memories, friendships and adventures each visit. It was our goal to create a beautiful project that felt comfortable and familiar, with a deliberate casual feel through retro-flavored detailing.

The Wow Factors
Residents can enjoy the large stone edge pool that overlooks Sawmill Lake, which includes a zero-entry with fountain jets, a cascading waterfall from the upper level pool to the lower level pool, sun shelves and an arching wood deck that intersects the pool.

Throughout the pool deck and lawn areas, there are various gathering spaces for the community to kick back and relax, whether it be under a custom-detailed cabana featuring boat oars, in a hammock, or in Adirondack chairs overlooking the pool and lake.

Centered on the site, sits a one-of-a-kind completely custom playground and spray park, which was funded by the residents themselves via Sienna Plantation LID park bonds. TBG worked together with Canada playground designers, Earthscape, to create a three-tower tree house-inspired setting where kids can be kids, experience new and elevated adventures, engage with nature and escape the daily technology that are grabbing our children’s attention more and more these days.

The main tree house structure includes multiple slides, climbing features, and obstacle courses of differing adventure levels. Great attention went into the details of the main structure to ensure the materials and colors blended well with the rest of the site elements. In addition to the main tree house, children of all ages can explore the grounds and follow the trails up and around hills and altering terrain to find oversized swing sets, in-grade slides, drum whales, a sand pit with a watering hole and hand pump, and a zip line. On any given day, you can find multiple children using their imagination by creating their own structures out of the oversized blue blocks. Parents can engage in the fun or gather up some of the Adirondack chairs and sit back and enjoy watching their kids explore the park.

Adjacent to the playground is the bog or swamp-themed spray park. Not your typical spray pad, this piece is meant to serve as functional art, intended to reflect the night sky in the water. Children can come down to the swamp edge where water misters, cypress knees, rock boulders, and spray jets set the stage for creative play. Be careful when in the swamp, though, as there may be a few alligators lurking on the edges!

On the eastern edge of the site, sits the main lake house community recreation building, designed by GSB Architects. This building is a hub for community events. The rear glass wall blurs the lines between the interior and exterior spaces. A stone terraced patio reaches out of the building to overlook the lake. Community members can gather round the outdoor fire pit while roasting s’mores, sharing stories and making new memories.

The Sawmill Lake Club will be expanding in upcoming months to include a sand volleyball court, a dock out on the lake and a demonstration kitchen for residents to enjoy. There may even be a few additional surprises on the horizon as this site continues to take shape.

We’re so excited that residents of Sienna Plantation have access to this incredible amenity offering, allowing them to sit, reflect, connect and just be in their surroundings. Please enjoy the following gallery of images.

– Written by Jaime Zwiener, Sawmill Lake Club Design Team Member & Senior Associate at TBG

Editor’s Note: I admit to editing and publishing this piece while listening to Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay on repeat.

About Sienna Plantation
Since the mid-1990s, TBG has played an integral role in creating the look, feel and character of Sienna Plantation, the masterplan community that’s home to Sawmill Lake Club. Pedestrian-oriented streetscapes and an extensive trail network successfully connect parks and lakes with the community’s retail and residential fabric, and more than 2,000 acres are dedicated to open space, recreation areas, lakes, greenbelts and a golf course. Existing natural elements, including mature live oaks, some more than two centuries old, remain integral to the site’s design. An extensive trail system aids pedestrian connectivity and seamlessly articulates the site’s natural beauty.