A creative recreational area design for a new suburban community
How do you build a park with a limited budget and on a challenging site? One word: creativity. In 2006, the housing bubble burst and in Northern California, design plans were placed on hold for Hillside Park, a unique, eight-acre site located in a new northwest Rancho Cordova subdivision. The economy improved by 2014, but the budget remained idle—until now. We dusted off the plans and engaged our designers to chart a course through this challenging terrain.
The site was integrated into the stormwater management and open-space program for the community. Its perimeter had elevation changes of more than 15 feet with 30 per cent slopes, and was considered a “hill” by most valley residents. The team established early on that the hill was an asset and developed creative ways to integrate this topography into the design.
Solutions for the project included drought-tolerant native and adapted plantings to stabilize slopes, an innovative integration of hillside and level play-space, and rolling topography to deliver accessible paths to the lower picnic grounds and play fields. Colors, plantings, and textures were used to unify the site’s features.
On opening day, over 1,000 residents came out to enjoy the new park and the view from atop the region’s first hillside play space.
At a Glance
- 2017 CARPD Award: Awards of Distinction Outstanding New Facility
- 2016 ASLA Award: California Sierra Chapter Design Awards Honor Award, Parks/Open Space
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