Landscape Performance Benefits
- Sequesters 95,050 lbs of atmospheric carbon annually in 1,998 newly-planted trees. The trees canopies also intercept 426,700 gallons of stormwater runoff annually.
- Captures and slow-releases 100% of stormwater runoff for up to a 100-year storm event in the main detention pond.
- Increases participation in outdoor events for 83.9% of 68 survey respondents.
- Promotes a better understanding of sustainability for 75% of 68 survey respondents while promoting urban agriculture for 82.4% of respondents. Promotes educational activities for 77.9% of respondents.
- Improves quality of life for 79.4% of 68 survey respondents. This improvement was primarily attributed to sense of community, increased physical activity, reduction in mental stress, and improved perception of the area.
- Provides a rural landscape character in the community for 82.3% of 68 survey respondents.
- Generated 20,071 meal donations to North Texas Food Bank with a value of $240,852 through agricultural operations on site.
- Generated $64.8 million in total lot revenue.
- Influenced 61.8% of 68 survey respondents to purchase a home within the community when they took landscape into account as one of the factors.
- Achieved a high rate of closing in 2016 with 279 home sales as compared to an average of 117.7 among 8 actively-selling comparable master planned communities within the region .
At a Glance
Former Land Use
1300 Homestead Way
Argyle, Texas 76226
290 acres completed; future total 1,150 acres
$30 million (total project $160 million)
Phase 1: 2014; Meadows 1: 2015; Phase 2: 2016; Meadows 2: 2017
A celebration of North Texas’s rural roots, Harvest is a master-planned residential community with an overall vision and landscape character based on producing and maintaining crops and farmland in a suburban context. Harvest is located in a rapidly urbanizing corridor along an interstate highway north of Fort Worth. Made up of distinct areas – the Lake, the Village, the Farm, the Park, and the North Village – the multi-phase project seeks to protect and enhance the site’s rural character while incorporating the developer’s five “Live Smart” principles: Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Living, Education and Enrichment, Integrated Innovative Technology, and Sense of Community. The development incorporates a traditional street grid with a central 1.5-mile green pedestrian network for walkability and enhanced amenities that support rural character including an 11-acre lake, a 5-acre working farm, and a community center.
- The master-planned community emphasizes strong pedestrian connectivity between the community’s hiking and biking trails, pocket parks, structured play areas, community sports fields, swimming pools, community farm, and more. A community-managed bike share program encourages sustainable multimodal travel among the open spaces and amenity areas. Over 85% of all lots are within a 2.5-minute walk of open space.
- Harvest Farms is a 5-acre commercial farm operated by a hired farmer that generates 6,000 lbs per year for farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets. The area is made up of 5 greenhouses, a community garden, commercial and demonstration gardens, and private plots.
- The demonstration garden provides learning opportunities for residents and food for community events. While the participants can utilize what they produce, the North Texas Food Bank benefits from the surplus of roughly 1,000 lbs of food that volunteers harvest each year.
- The development includes 150 40-sf raised garden beds that can be rented by community membersfor their personal use.
- The Harvest community hosts weekly farmers markets at the Barn adjacent to the Central Park to sell community-grown produce as well as produce and goods from local farms.
- Bioswales and rain gardens are incorporated throughout the core amenity area which includes the farmhouse, farm, central park, and connected lake.
- The 11-acre lake functions as a retention pond, that not only manages stormwater runoff but also serves as a recreational amenity for fishing and enjoying the waterfront. The lake also serves as an irrigation source for the development as well as the Harvest Farms.
- The centrally-located Harvest Hall and Event Lawn adjacent to the lake are the heart of the community. They host community gatherings, the farmers market, and social activities.
- 51% (1,015) of the total number of trees (1,998) planted in Harvest are Texas native species, selected for for their appropriateness for the climate and to reduce water consumption and maintenance costs.
- The 1882 historic Faught Family Farmhouse was restored and relocated to the center of the community and converted to a coffee shop and visitor center that promotes Harvest’s rural landscape heritage. It also houses on-site offices and provides a community gathering space.
- Cameras, security, HVAC controls, and lighting controls can be remotely controlled using an app for all homes and their landscapes, which encourages energy efficiency. This is the first time in Texas that such a system has been used in a development.
- All homes are built to Environments For Living® (EFL) platinum level or greater. EFL is a national turnkey program designed to assist builders in constructing energy efficient homes using the principles of building science.
The biggest challenge for Harvest was that the property was an agricultural area remote from the critical mass of a city or town. The 1,150-acre site is located 13 miles from downtown Denton and 28 miles from downtown Fort Worth. The closest activity nodes and traffic draws are the Texas Motor Speedway and Alliance Airport, which are roughly 10 miles away from Harvest. As a result, the developer had to create a market for this project in the absence of any nearby comparable communities, major population centers, or activity nodes.
This challenge ultimately drove the creation of the vision, centered on a 5-acre working farm with an authentic landscape character and amenity program, that yielded flexible community open spaces at a variety of scales that could be activated through the lifestyle program. These vibrant spaces created a distinctive sense of place on day one that put the project on the map and gave it a strong identity. This placemaking component was the key differentiator in the overall success of Harvest.
In January 2012, the developer, Hillwood Communities, held a Live Smart Workshop for the Harvest development. This process brought industry experts and key stakeholders together to help create the vision for Harvest. Five key principles were generated to create a quality low-impact living environment that would empower residents to lead smarter and more balanced lives.
The five Live Smart principles as adopted by the developer and design team are:
- Environmental Stewardship: Enhance water quality through on-site management of stormwater; utilize native landscape systems capable of surviving Stage 3 drought restrictions.
- Healthy Living: Ensure all components of the community are walkable and interconnected through an array of open space systems; develop a 5-acre “Harvest Farm” for demonstration gardens, community gardens, greenhouses, private farm operation, and orchards, managed by an on-site organic farmer.
- Education and Enrichment: Use “Harvest Farms” as an outdoor classroom for youth and adult residents; teach gardening, cooking, healthy eating and exercise; provide community volunteer opportunities.
- Technology: Integrate innovative technologies for a simpler, more efficient lifestyle, including a Live Smart home technology package, allowing convenient and accessible energy management within the home; enhanced broadband throughout the community; Wi-Fi accessibility throughout.
- Sense of Community: Strategically distributed parks, open spaces, community centers, event and gathering spaces ensure proximate accessibility for all residents; programmed activities that engage and empower residents to interact and form community-wide traditions, including recurring farmers markets, workshops, outdoor concerts and holiday events.
The cost to relocate and restore the 1882 Historic Faught Family farmhouse was $485,000. Building a new visitor center would have cost around $417,000. Additional expenditure was undertaken to convey Harvest’s rural landscape heritage, identity, and appearance.
- Incorporating Harvest Farms into the common amenity area, as well as the overall lifestyle program, was critical to the community embracing local food production. The success of an agrarian vision had to be supported with expertise (in-house or externally) not only to carry the idea to fruition but also to ensure that it perpetuated into the future. Hands-on gardening education and lifestyle elements devised around the farm and gardens have encouraged residents to take advantage of these agricultural opportunities and become more skillful in local food production.
- The on-site farm and other farm-to-table production components — the community garden and demonstration garden— have provided a surplus of produce, which gave the community the unexpected opportunity to donate a significant portion of their production to the North Texas Food Bank. Not having a good estimate of how much would be produced could have created landscape management problems, but instead the extra produce was used to create a positive philanthropic activity for the community. This highlights the importance of foreseeing potential management challenges that can arise from agricultural activity and planning for them early in the process in order to properly manage, store, and/or distribute valuable organic food products within and beyond the community.
- An horticultural consultant was engaged early on to analyze the site’s soils and develop a suitable plant palette that could thrive if it were watered only every 10 days or so. The hardy palette that was developed was ultimately used not only for Harvest’s common spaces, but also in residential lots.
- Making large-scale landscape decisions early in the planning process helped ensure resident access to and engagement with community landscapes. With the 1.5-mile-long open space corridor as the backbone of the community, its athletic fields, pocket parks, and natural areas ensure that every home is within a 5-minute walk of a park or green space.
Integral Color Concrete: Davis Colors
Integral Color Rough Finish Concrete: W. R. Grace
Precast Stone: Advanced Cast Stone
Astra-glaze SW Glazed Concrete Block: Trenwyth
Edging: J. D. Russell
Gravel: Custom Stone Supply
Lighting: Hossley Lighting
Tiles: Seneca Tiles
Developer: Hillwood Communities
Landscape Architect / Planner: TBG Partners
Civil Engineer: Jones | Carter
Architect: Larson & Pedigo
Horticulturist / Agronomist Consultant: Dr. Robert Moon
Irrigation Design: IRRI-TECH
Property Manager: FirstService Residential
Marketing: Anderson | Hanson | Blanton
Contractor: Innovative Hardscape Services; Benchmark Gardens
Farm Operator: Ross DeOtte
Role of the Landscape Architect
The landscape architect worked directly with the developer to create the vision for Harvest, which began with a collaborative Live Smart Workshop in January 2012. The landscape architect developed the masterplan framework and concept for the open space, landscape, and amenities and continued development of the project through zoning and ultimately implementation. The landscape architect was also involved with the oversight and implementation of the remaining phases of the development in the following years.
Case Study Prepared By
Research Fellow: Taner R. Ozdil, Ph.D., ASLA, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture & Associate Director for Research for the Center for Metropolitan Density, University of Texas at Arlington
Research Assistant: Ravija Munshi, MLA Candidate, The University of Texas at Arlington
Research Assistant: Riza Pradhan, MLA Candidate, The University of Texas at Arlington
Research Assistant: Ali Khoshkar, MLA Candidate, The University of Texas at Arlington
Firm Liaisons: Jonathan Dunbar, Senior Associate; Gabriela Weber, Landscape Designer; Jim Manskey, President; TBG Partners
Ozdil, Taner R., Ravija Munshi, Riza Pradhan, and Ali Khoshkar. “Harvest.” Landscape Performance Series. Landscape Architecture Foundation, 2017. https://doi.org/10.31353/cs1260