LANDology is pleased to announce that we were recently honored by the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association for our award winning entry in the 2016-2017 Texas Excellence in Landscape (TEIL) Awards – Unique Features Category. The TEIL awards recognize landscape projects that exhibit superior design solutions to regional landscape conditions, and in this case, specifically recognize unique solutions to these conditions.
Treehouse Park, located in Cypress, Texas, sits among acres of former rice fields upon an old homestead site originally planted with now towering live oak trees and situated along manmade levees formerly used to flood surrounding rice fields. Bridgeland Development Co., our client, recognized the inherent landscape value this site offered and charged LANDology with designing and delivering a built landscape project that would further differentiate their community and provide recreation opportunities not found anywhere else. And Treehouse Park was born.
The Treehouse itself is strategically perched upon the site’s levee to magnify the views across an open lawn play space in the “front yard” and provide equally thrilling views of the wild “back yard” while giving its inhabitants a feeling of being “in the trees”. In addition, the site’s natural features were embraced and the existing embankments and elements, like scattered tree stumps, provide unique opportunities for play. A curved wood constructed boardwalk reaches from the Treehouse base atop the levee across the ravine to a remote seating area and future neighborhood connection.
While the site and Treehouse location provide a certain level of distinction themselves, the design of the Treehouse lends to its own set of uniqueness and charm. By design, the wood decking throughout the project was built using multiple plank widths and boards extending in a crenelated pattern that implies an amateur construction style, mimicking the look of traditional childhood treehouses. In addition, the structure beneath the boardwalk was designed to resembled railroad trusses for added visual interest.
In spite of this amateur-style design and appearance, the Treehouse exhibits excellent carpentry and craftsmanship. Showcased among the design and construction are its large wooden members and intricate wood designs completed with tight joinery around the metal support posts and wood to wood connections. Counter-sunk fasteners and concealed steel wood-to-pier connections further enhanced the design detail of this unique community show piece. Contrasting against the natural wood components and green foliage are red “windows” that serve as an added safety component on the upper decks, and yet add another attractive design detail.
Recognizing the importance of the existing live oaks, LANDology and the Treehouse constructors took special care to maintain the integrity of these precious natural resources. Only one branch was removed during project construction. All other branches were allowed to penetrate the building when in conflict. Netting, railings, repurposed metal roof and even structural beams were modified to accommodate them, allowing the building to completely yield to the tree. In addition, corrugated plastic ‘bumpers’ were used where the tree penetrated the floor, to reduce gaps while gently allowing for tree growth. Even up-close visitors find it hard to believe that the Treehouse doesn’t actually connect to the tree at all!
Through its design, this park provides a unique community show piece that can be enjoyed by both the young and the old. Treehouse Park is sure to trigger old childhood memories, while etching new memorable experiences into the minds of those who visit.
Visit the Treehouse Park portfolio page to see more images of this signature project!