If you’ve seen one suburban park, you’ve seen them all, right? Turf grass with standard-issue jungle gym? Not so at Stepping Stone, where each park is being designed to be a place of discovery. A destination that will surprise visitors with its completely distinct look, feel and function.
Opening next summer in the Sunburst neighborhood, Sunburst Park will create a fresh, imaginative outdoor experience for all ages. This wide appeal is by design: The Sunburst neighborhood offers broadly appealing home plans. Growing families are snapping up the two-story plans, while empty nesters are drawn to the ranch plan’s main floor living. With this in mind, Sunburst Park was designed to keep grandparents, parents and kids of any age equally delighted.
Landscape architects at Sage Design Group designed Sunburst Park to invite the “kid” in everyone to come out to play. Thoughtful grading creates an intriguing variety of extremes, from level meadows for meandering to grassy hills for charging up. Inventive grass mounds inspire all kinds of children’s activity. Some mounds will be topped by curbed “forts” ripe for imaginative play. Tunnels will burrow through others. Boulders in a sunburst shape will be an open invitation to climb. A pathway of wooden timbers for hopping. And what kid could resist weaving through tall vertical poles connected by balance beams? Even more hidden, playful surprises will tickle the young and young-at-heart, too.
But you’ll also find a more contemplative side to the park. A meandering path, wide enough for couples (or the tricycle crowd), will extend from one end of this nearly five-acre park to the other. Flares—little offshoot pathways—will encourage venturing off into grassy swaths for a picnic or impromptu Frisbee toss, or into areas rippling with native plantings. On one mound, a narrow concrete path will spiral to the top, bordered by seasonal flowers and grasses whose changing colors and patterns will keep walks interesting. A detailed, finely crafted bridge will cross over a dry river bed, offering a scenic view of the boulders and native plants below. Benches will overlook this area.
Sunburst Park will be a place to play, connect, and rejuvenate. And its pretty pathways will be designed to connect with trails that can take you to the rest of Stepping Stone and far beyond. It’s going to be a perfect complement to Winding Path Park, which offers families more structured play spaces and playgrounds.
At Stepping Stone, parks aren’t just an item to check off on the “must have’ list, but an opportunity to truly enrich residents’ lives. As Nick Dunaske, consultant for Sage Design Group says, “As a designer, I’ve been inspired by Shea’s commitment to create concept-based parks throughout Stepping Stone. Each park has been thought of individually, as well as how it contributes to the overall community’s park space. I think its going to be a great thing for the people who live there.”