The Woods is a small community of Texas landowners dedicated to preserving a beautiful section of wooded Brazos Valley countryside for generations. Our common vision is more than shared deed restrictions; we are committed to treading lightly on the land and conserving the flora and fauna which were here long before us. Life at The Woods is different. We gather as families and neighbors in homes uniquely designed for this place. We share the land with songbirds and deer, and explore wooded trails past pristine creeks and meadows. We ride on horseback through scenic vistas under the moonlit night sky. By creating this unique community in the trees, landowners at The Woods have established a lasting legacy of direct engagement with the landscape and wildlife…as neighbors. This Vision Book has been created to illustrate the philosophy which underpins everything we do at The Woods. Our collaborative wildlife conservation mission, our design vision, and a little about our governance are described in these pages. Use this book to introduce yourself to The Woods. Review it with your architect to create a homestead that responds to the community’s aesthetics and design attitude. Take your time. We know you’ll feel at home in The Woods.
The Vision Book is not a substitute for The Woods Design Guidelines. The Woods Architectural Review Committee (ARC) adheres to the Design Guidelines during the Design Review and Approval Process. The Design Guidelines provide the full range of appropriate landscape and architectural design responses which allow homeowners flexibility and individual expression while preserving and celebrating the unique identity of The Woods.
[NOTE: team members to review/revise quotes and headshots]
A Word from the Design Team Beyrl Armstrong
Naturalist Plateau Land & Wildlife Management
The Woods is an exciting partnership between humans and nature. By working carefully to integrate human activity as a functioning part of this rich natural setting, people and wildlife can live as neighbors.
Landscape Architect TBG Partners The opportunity to live amongst and appreciate a robust natural environment on a daily basis is a principal reason people come here. Accordingly, the thoughtful placement of each homestead will provide homeowners the opportunity to engage their daily lives with the native landscape offered at The Woods.
Ted Flato, FAIA
Architect Lake|Flato Architects
The Woods maintains an architectural character that is rooted in and respectful of the past, but thoroughly contemporary and appropriate in its execution. The architectural design philosophy gives homeowners the flexibility of individual expression, while at the same time creating a cohesive community directly connected to its environment.
Table of Contents Section One: Conservation A. The Woods Concept B. Native Conditions C. Wildlife Management D. Benefits of The Woodsâ€™ Approach Section Two: Landscape A. Vision B. Home Site Characteristics C. Landscape Materials Palette D. Implementation Section Three: Architecture A. Philosophy B. Building Elements C. Conservation Standards D. Materials Palette E. Design Examples F. Porch House Design Option Section Four: Process Section Five: Location
CONSERVATION A. The Woods Concept The Woods is an exciting partnership between humans and nature. By working carefully to preserve and restore the native ecosystems of this pristine setting, people and wildlife may live as neighbors. With forethought and planning, the designers of The Woods have developed a new standard in the preparation of land for residential use; humans leave a small footprint here. The extensive network of native trees and plants, covering over 400 acres, will be gently impacted by a mere 21 carefullylocated homesteads as well as a trail system meandering through a vast 150-acre common nature preserve. Thanks to this thoughtful and unique plan, as well as carefully crafted design guidelines, residences at The Woods will become integral parts of the natural landscape.
B. Native Conditions The terrain of The Woods is rolling with high vistas complemented by a spider web of deep ravines. Several distinct ecosystems define The Woods, from deep thicket to spring-fed wetlands to expansive post-oak savannah. Oak trees are prevalent throughout the site, as are cypress trees, cedar elms, yaupon and eastern red cedar. The variety of flora in the Brazos countryside naturally leads to a tremendous diversity in wildlife. The Woods differs substantially from conventionally-planned residential subdivisions. All improvements at The Woods have
only a small impact on the native conditions while creating and maintaining a first-class residential community. The preservation of native conditions and wildlife habitat is the primary focus of The Woodsâ€™ design. Roads, trails, and homestead sites are situated so as to minimize high-impact alterations to the landscape. Meticulous restrictions have been enacted to ensure the permanent preservation of the natural setting. In addition, substantial effort has been taken to eliminate non-native invasive species present on the site to restore it to its pristine condition. Finally, a comprehensive wildlife management plan has been designed and implemented at The Woods as an integral part of the planning process. The diversity of plant and animal life at The Woods is driven by the variety of soil types from the hydric soils that are found in the wetlands and creek bottoms through the sandy and loamy soils that underlie the wooded areas of the property to the dense black clay that supports the upland prairie grasslands. The Woodsâ€™ plant communities offer a diverse cross section of this region of Texas. By carefully integrating home sites within The Woods to minimize disturbance to the ecosystem, residents will have the opportunity to live close to nature and be an active part of the abundance and diversity of plants and wildlife that are The Woods. With the change of seasons residents will enjoy the emergence of wildflowers and new growth accompanied by the migration of songbirds in the spring. The early summer will provide views of young fawns finding their legs to the sounds
of frogs from the wetlands and owls from the tree lined creeks. Bobcats, squirrels, raccoons and other small animals will raise families in preparation for the onset of autumn’s colorful change, accompanied by the rutting of the deer and the arrival of ducks to the creek pools and ponds. Wintering birds that fill the leafless trees will add color and life to the dormant woods and prairies to complete the natural rhythms of the seasons. As owners and their designers plan improvements to their Tracts, they keep The Woods’ focus on the native condition and the management of wildlife at the forefront of their planning process.
C. Wildlife Management Common areas and private tracts at The Woods are managed under a Wildlife Management Plan. Under this special property valuation, residents of The Woods are members of The Woods Wildlife Management Property Association. As members of TWWMPA, each owner works with biologists to devise a Wildlife Management Plan for their property that is compatible with the wildlife management plan that is in place for the common nature preserve at The Woods. Under state law, in order for the members of TWWMPA to qualify for Open Space Wildlife Management Valuation, and beneficial property tax treatment, participants must actively manage their land for the primary benefit of wildlife by implementing at least three of seven prescribed activities on their property. These activities include such practices as planting native plants to enhance habitat, controlling fire ants, putting up birdhouses and wildlife watering features, and participating in wildlife counts.
D. Benefits of The Woods’ Approach By observing The Woods Design Guidelines and participating in a mandatory wildlife management plan, owners at The Woods create a scenic and unimpeded environment in which a broad diversity of native plants and animals can flourish. At first glance these guidelines may seem onerous. Why, for example, can’t owners clear-cut their property or introduce any species of non-native plant they wish? The reasons are numerous, but the fundamental rationale is that all Woods owners are working together towards a larger goal. As with any ecosystem, the actions of one member can directly impact the well-being of other members. On the other hand, the benefits of ownership far outweigh the effort involved. Woods ownership provides: • A Texas home setting unparalleled in its pristine beauty. • Security in the knowledge that the surrounding landscape will be permanently preserved in its open and natural condition as a legacy for future generations. • Over 150 acres of managed conservation area, which includes ponds and miles of trails. • Regular interaction with a rich and diverse population of plants and wildlife. • Participation in a community of like-minded landowners. • Beneficial property tax treatment. Working together, owners are preserving and improving the native habitat of countless species of flora and fauna. This exciting and mutually beneficial partnership with nature will provide each owner at The Woods with a lasting asset to be enjoyed forever.
LANDSCAPE A. Vision Homeowners at The Woods are united in their passion for wildlife and the outdoors. The opportunity to live amongst and appreciate a robust natural environment on a daily basis is a principal reason residents come here. Accordingly, the thoughtful placement of each homestead provides homeowners the opportunity to engage their daily lives with the native landscape offered at The Woods. Each individual tract is unique at The Woods, and each homesteadâ€™s location responds to the distinct orientation, character and assets of the specific parcel. The placement of a homestead should fully consider and capitalize on innate factors such as views, vegetation and topography, as well as the opportunities for privacy from neighboring residences. Individual homesteads are roughly one acre in size. The area beyond the homestead, typically over 10 acres, has limited alteration from its natural condition. Of primary importance when developing individual homesteads is heeding the notion that The Woodsâ€™ built environment should be of the land, and not simply on the land. While the site calls for large individual tracts, lot lines and peripheries are not engrained and celebrated, but rather visually fade over time, resulting in a more organic and integrated overall character. In keeping with the preservation ethos of the community, each individual tract blends harmoniously and seamlessly with the 150-acre shared nature preserve. Further, the design approach fosters the concept of individual
meadows, creating the aura of a homestead on the edge of a lush clearing, while a 75-foot undisturbed setback around the periphery of each parcel enhances privacy and maintains wildlife habitat. Additionally, curvilinear driveways reduce sight distances and homestead visibility from the road and minimize impervious road cover while preserving natural vegetation. Finally, trails are integral to The Woods, as trails within each tract tie into the larger network of community trails within the common nature preserve.
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LANDSCAPE B. Home Site Characteristics Each tract and home site at The Woods has been carefully designed to maintain the rural character of the property by respecting and enhancing the natural landscape. Winding driveways, trails, and home sites are arranged to allow for community connectivity, yet limit direct sight lines and provide individual privacy. When opening space for homesteads, the preservation of larger “heritage” trees and the selective clearing to create vistas will help to restore the overgrown areas back to the native post oak savannah ecosystem.
PROPERTY LINES – Native landscape blends with property lines which are not fenced. Property lines are selectively delineated by unique tree blazes, posts, boulders or stacked rocks, or other discrete markers approved by the Association.
WILDERNESS BUFFER – Each tract includes a minimum 75’ wilderness buffer along the property perimeter. Within this buffer the homeowner makes no modifications other than discretely crossing the area with a curvilinear trail and driveway that each connect to the community.
NATIVE ZONE – This area has a natural appearance, and contrasts with and defines the Meadow (see below). Within the Native Zone, limited trimming of trees and underbrush with manual hand-held loppers (maximum cut = 2” diameter) is allowed to create trails and other
minor openings or areas of interest. No substantial or mechanized clearing occurs in this zone.
D MEADOW – Each homestead is sited in this naturalized clearing of up to two acres. Within this area smaller trees and brush are cleared and the land is restored to a condition similar to its native post oak savannah eco-region. The shape of the Meadow is irregular and intended to provide interesting sightlines and visual interest. Ponds may be constructed within the Meadow if they are designed to remain full from natural water runoff and do not otherwise interfere with the natural drainage.
B. Home Site Characteristics HOMESTEAD – The Homestead is a one-acre area, or areas, within the Meadow, and includes the Courtyard (see below). All above-ground residential improvements on the tract, including buildings, fencing, gardens, and parking, occur within the Homestead. Landscaping within the Homestead, but outside of the Courtyard, incorporates plants from the approved Homestead Plant List; minimal landscaping is encouraged in this area to preserve the Meadow’s identity, maintain the rural character of the community, and prevent the spread of invasive species into the native landscape.
COURTYARD– The Courtyard is an area, or multiple areas, of up to a quarter of an acre in size which include the primary residence, out-buildings, and associated landscape. Landscaping and planting within the Courtyard are unrestricted (except invasive species are not allowed), although native and adaptive plants appropriate for the region are encouraged. Courtyards may be delineated by boundary plantings or natural stone walls, and they should maintain an intimate scale and relate naturally to the residence.
LANDSCAPE C. Landscape Materials Palette The palette of landscape materials, both built and organic, shall complement the established architectural vernacular displayed throughout The Woods and adhere to the community’s overall vision. Just as the buildings will be a natural outgrowth of the enchanting Brazos countryside, the landscape materials will convey a timeless aesthetic that unites a cohesive community living in direct connection with the natural environment. Owners are encouraged to harmoniously integrate their homes with the natural landscape, and the existing landscape is therefore preserved wherever possible. The palette of hardscape materials includes local stone, gravel, brick, and timber. The palette of plant materials within the Homestead consists primarily of native plants that reflect the area’s rich regional character. Along with their
Homestead Plant List
appropriate and attractive aesthetic character, native and adapted species require less irrigation, dovetailing nicely with the community’s conservation spirit. The following Plant List is a non-comprehensive palette of materials which meet the criteria established in this document. While planting is unrestricted in the Courtyard, Owners select landscape materials for the balance of their Homestead from this list. The Architectural Review Committee will modify the Plant List from time to time and upon reasonable suggestions from owners.
Shade Trees (large) Bur Oak Live Oak Shumard Oak Montezuma Cypress Cedar Elm
Shade Trees (medium) Mexican White Oak Lacebark Elm
Trees (for use at residence)
American Holly Carolina Laurelcherry Eastern Redcedar Eve’s Necklace
Homestead Plant List continued
Honey Mesquite Mexican White Oak Western Soapberry Ornamental Trees
Crape Myrtle Wright Acacia Texas Mountain Laurel Desert Willow Orchid Tree Possumhaw Holly Eve’s Necklace Oklahoma Redbud Mexican Plum Yaupon American Smoketree Crabapple Hawthorn Huisache Prairie Flameleaf Sumac Rusty Blackhaw Texas Redbud Shrubs
American Beautyberry Yellow Bells / Esperanza Hardy Hibiscus Red Yucca Plumbago Spanish dagger Upright Rosemary Little John Bottlebrush
Flowering Quince Texas Sage Anthony Waterer Spirea Leather leaf mahonia Yaupon Crimson Pigmy Barberry Dwarf Pomegranate Southern wax myrtle-Don’s Dwarf Bicolor or Butterfly Iris Ornamental Grasses Mexican feathergrass Inland sea oats Bamboo muhly grass Big Muhly Grass Bushy Bluestem Vines
Coral honeysuckle Passionvine Hyacinth bean vine Crossvine Sweet autumn clematis Virginia Creeper Perennials
Blackfoot Daisy Bulbine Butterfly Weed Coneflower Copper Canyon Daisy Coral Berry
Coreopsis Cuphea Flame acanthus Gaura Lantana Mexican heather Shrimp plant Society garlic Turk’s cap Verbena Zinnia Yarrow Blackeyed Susan Artemesia Asparagus Fern Cast Iron Plant Yellow Bells New Gold Lantana Cherry Sage Indigo spires salvia Verbena Groundcovers
Vinca minor Wandering jew Liriope Mondo grass Trailing Rosemary Annuals
Marguerite potato vine Purple potato vine
LANDSCAPE D. Implementation The landscape design of each tract at the Woods is carefully crafted to merge seamlessly into the native environment. Owners submit Clearing and Site Plans early in the planning process, and the approved work may begin immediately. Prior to any construction, a Homestead Master Plan and landscape plan for each tract are submitted to the ARC. Details of the submittal and approval process can be found in The Woodsâ€™ Design Guidelines. Following approval, the landscape construction process is carefully conceived and managed to ensure minimal site disruption and development impact. Existing trees and plants are salvaged to the extent possible. Suggestions for minimizing construction impact, and for skillfully carving the community out of a delicate ecosystem, include using site elements (such as mulched trees and brush) to provide erosion control along vehicular paths. Strategically placed lay down areas may be used to store mulch during construction to limit landscape disturbance. Excavated soils and fill materials may be accumulated and used to restore disturbed landscape areas; this approach more effectively promotes revegetation than imported topsoil because it contains existing seed characteristics of the siteâ€™s native plants and grasses.
These and other suggested techniques help ensure minimal disruption to a precious and fertile ecosystem throughout the projectâ€™s implementation.
ARCHITECTURE A. Philosophy The buildings of The Woods are a natural outgrowth of the striking Brazos Valley countryside. By responding to the elements in an honest, straightforward manner, the architectural character of The Woods is not only timeless, but it also creates a cohesive community that is directly connected to its environment. To accomplish this, designers integrate contemporary residential requirements with the following criteria: Respect the Landscape Because homeowners are encouraged to “integrate” the houses with the natural landscape, the designs should work with the existing and native vegetation (for example: preserving large trees, using native vegetation, and imitating natural growing patterns rather than using “straight lined” foundation planting). Respond to Climate To facilitate cross ventilation, balanced light, and a strong connection to the outdoors, house designs follow the lead of early local vernacular architecture: “dog-run” hallways that function as breezeways, numerous windows and generous porches that provide natural ventilation and light to all spaces. Simple roof forms with ample overhangs, which protect walls and occupants from the sun and rain, and porches and balconies that connect most interior spaces directly to the outdoors are features of all homes at the Woods.
Utilize Appropriate Materials As with many early vernacular houses, maintenance and longevity are important considerations when choosing materials. Wood finishes that weather gracefully require less maintenance than painted wood. Modern materials, such as fiber cement siding, that hold paint longer are also an option at The Woods, as are pressure treated woods, hardwoods, stucco, and sheet metal, all of which require minimal annual maintenance. Metal roofs are also appropriate as they require little upkeep and can last for generations. By following this philosophy, The Woods maintains an architectural character that is rooted in and respectful of the past, but thoroughly contemporary and appropriate in its execution.
The Woodsâ€™ architectural design philosophy gives homeowners the flexibility of individual expression, while at the same time creating a cohesive community directly connected to its environment.
ARCHITECTURE B. Building Elements Because The Woods community should evolve gracefully and organically, much like early farm and ranch compounds, structures may be constructed in phases, over time. Homesteads at The Woods should expand over generations to suit the needs of families. Quality of design and construction - not size - is a driving force behind the architecture of the Woods. Prior to preparing detailed construction plans, owners select an architect and prepare a Homestead Master Plan illustrating how they envision the estate will grow over time; the first phase of construction may (or may not) include everything within the Homestead Master Plan. Future improvements are based on the approved Homestead Master Plan. Owners may submit amendments and revisions to their Homestead Master Plan from time to time, but creating a thoughtful plan from the outset is a useful and enjoyable exercise which will help to maintain cohesiveness of design as the complete set of improvements emerge over time. Following approval of a Homestead Master Plan, owners submit preliminary design and construction plans for the first, or next, phase of improvements at the Homestead. Residences and other structures at The Woods are one or two stories, and homes are planned with numerous windows and connecting breezeways and courtyards. Porches are central to the design of the house, and these may be screened, glazed, or left open. Roofs include generous overhangs to protect homes from sun and water.
Main structures have a roof pitch of 6:12 or steeper, while ancillary spaces, such as porches and breezeways, have shallower pitches (2:12 or less) to create a hierarchy of elements. All outbuildings (such as carports and sheds) are consistent in form, material and style with the rest of the Homestead improvements. C. Conservation Standards As a conservation-focused community, The Woods seeks to minimize environmental impacts even while constructing healthy, valuable, and architecturally significant homes. To ensure that all homes embrace good environmental practices, houses at The Woods are required to achieve a minimum set of responsible standards for energy efficiency. These standards are described in the Design Guidelines.
All outbuildings (such as carports and sheds) are consistent in form, material and style with the rest of the house complex.
Porches are central to the design of the house, and these may be screened, glazed, or left open.
ARCHITECTURE D. Materials Palette The Woods provides the following materials palette for owners to select from as they design the exterior of their homes. Although owners have a great deal of flexibility in planning their residences, this materials palette helps ensure that The Woods will maintain its unique identity over the years. Building exteriors should be selected from the following:
Metal (standing seam or corrugated): Galvalume Galvanized Rusted Copper Paint-grip
Natural or painted wood Painted “Hardie” Stucco Metal (same as above)
3 DOOR & WINDOW
Windows and doors without “divided light” partitions
4 PAINT COLORS
Natural or traditional hues, similar to those found in the native setting of the Woods
5 ACCENT MATERIALS
Local stone is encouraged for freestanding and accent features such as garden walls, chimneys, and fireplaces, but not allowed as the main cladding material on the body of the house.
ARCHITECTURE E. Design Examples
Porches are central to the design of the house, and these may be screened, glazed, or left open. Roofs include generous overhangs to protect homes from sun and water.
Because homeowners are encouraged to â€œintegrateâ€? the houses with the natural landscape, the designs should work with the existing and native vegetation.
ARCHITECTURE E. Design Examples
Because The Woods community should evolve gracefully and organically, much like early farm and ranch compounds, structures may be constructed in phases, over time. Main structures should have a roof pitch of 6:12 or steeper, while ancillary spaces, such as porches and breezeways, should have shallower pitches to create a hierarchy of elements.
To facilitate cross ventilation, balanced light, and a strong connection to the outdoors, house designs at The Woods follow the lead of early local vernacular architecture with features such as oneroom wide configurations, â€œdog-runâ€? hallways that function as breezeways, and numerous windows and generous porches that provide natural ventilation and light to all spaces.
ARCHITECTURE F. Porch House Design Option Working with Lake|Flato Architects, The Woods has created a specific example of homes with design vocabulary that fits within these guidelines. Developed especially for The Woods, “Lake|Flato Porch House” designs can simplify the building process for homeowners. LIVING MODULE [factory built]
The Porch House, born from the simplicity of early vernacular architecture, is an innovative new construction process that allows design-conscious homeowners the flexibility to have a house, like many of Lake|Flato’s celebrated designs, that melds with the natural landscape, while allowing for a predictable outcome in terms of cost, time and quality. The graphics to the right demonstrate the flexibility of the Porch House process, and the photographs are of a completed home. Please contact Lake|Flato for more information.
SLEEPING MODULE [factory built] PORCH | HALL [site built]
PROCESS The Woods has established a design review and approval process to enhance the appearance of The Woods, to protect property values and to increase the enjoyment of living in the community. The process exists to allow for the examination, approval or disapproval of any and all proposed or modified improvements to home sites.
Through thoughtful planning and the conservation of the mature native vegetation, the landscape design responses at the Woods maintain and enhance a diversity of ecosystems and wildlife. By working closely with designers and members of the Architectural Review Committee (ARC), owners create unique homesteads, perfectly in keeping with the Vision of the Woods. The multi-step review process includes designing a clearing for the home and submitting architectural and landscape plans for review. The ARC walks owners through this exciting process as they prepare to break ground on their dream home in the trees.
List of Approved Architects Owners may suggest their own architects for The Woods, or select from the following list: Houston: Natalye L. Appel, FAIA Austin: Mell Lawrence, FAIA Principal Prinicpal Natalye Appel + Associates Mell Lawrence Architects 2523 Bartlett Street 913 West Gibson Houston, TX 77098 Austin, TX 78704 (713) 522-7992 (512) 441-4669 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Jay Baker, FAIA Gary Furman Principal Principal Jay Baker Architects Furman + Keil Architects 3815 Montrose, Ste. 205 708 Rio Grande Street Houston, TX 77006 Austin, TX 78701 (713) 520-5446 (512) 479-4100 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Dallas: Max Levy Paul Lamb Principal Principal May Levy Architect Paul Lamb Architects 5646 Miton Street, Ste. 709 618 Lavaca Street, Room 1 Dallas, TX 75206 Austin, TX 78701 (214) 368-2023 (512) 478-7316 firstname.lastname@example.org San Antonio: Ted Flato, FAIA Bill Aylor Heather McKinney, FAIA Lake | Flato Architect Principal 311 Third Street McKinney/York Architects San Antonio, TX 78205 1301 East Seventh Street (210) 227-3335 Austin, TX 78702 email@example.com (512) 476-0201 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Texas A&M University
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FM 2 1 WEL MILES TO HOUSTON: 75 MILES TO AUSTIN: 115 MILES TO DALLAS: 180 MILES TO KYLE FIELD, TEXAS A&M: 12
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The Woods at Millican Reserve Post Office Box 591 Millican, Texas 77866 millicanreserve.com/the-woods