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Swainson’s Hawk Park

By Tina Chan-Cooper, Marketing Manager, Wood Rodgers Landscape Architecture (Mike Engle, Project Manager)




The playground at Swainson’s Hawk Park looks out on the Natomas Central community lake. Youthful Acer rubrum ‘Red Sunset’ trees, Dietes vegeta, Phormium tenax ‘Autopurpurea’ and Rhaphiolepis indica ‘Clara’ add interest.

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Wood Rodgers Landscape Architecture provided design services for Swainson’s Hawk Park, a six-acre park within the 2,300-residential-unit master planned community of Natomas Central in Sacramento, California. This neighborhood park is adjacent to a lake and was designed as a central gathering place for the residents in this new community.

The major challenge faced by our team in the design of the park was to provide an adequate buffer between the park and adjacent lake front homes, while providing a combination of active and passive uses within the park. This challenge was addressed by using the park to create natural views for the lakefront property through the use of a large berm with native plants. This berm along with several retaining walls serves as the separation between active and passive amenities, while facilitating circulation through the park.






On the “active” side of the berm is a small skate park that makes use of the grade changes to provide rail slides and steps. The skate walls were poured-in-place and have integral steel coping. The turf here is a “no mow fescue”


Centrally located on the active side of the berm is a small skate park that uses the grade changes to provide rail slides and steps. Not far away a 30’ bridge, incorporating the grade changes within the berm, provides visual separation between the two age appropriate playgrounds while allowing children to run underneath. At the southern entry to the site, a human sun dial was created as an educational design element to teach children how to tell time by using the sun throughout the year.






The 5-12 year old play side offers a traditional post, deck playground (Landscape Structure) and a large curving slide. These elements connect to a climbing boulder and rope structure.


Design elements within the park include two group picnic areas, bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits, two playgrounds, a climbing boulder, a rope climbing structure, a bridge separating the age-appropriate playgrounds, a small skate park and an open play turf area. The use of plant material was carefully evaluated during the design work.

Plant material adjacent to the lake on the north end of the site consisted of a no-mow fescue grass with a variety of native evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs laid out in a natural design. The use of no-mow fescue grass will reduce the use of water and maintenance time spent mowing on site.






The 2-5 age-appropriate playground section (pictured) is separated from the 5-12 year old play elements by a 30-ft. pedestrian bridge (Icon) with composite wood decking and a powder-coated steel frame and rails.


The southern end of the site has traditional turf grass and formal plantings. This change in material and texture from north to south helps to enforce the delineation between passive and active recreation. Shrub plantings were also included adjacent to the playgrounds and retaining walls in order to avoid small unusable patches of turf that are difficult to water and maintain. Mowed turf grass was kept to locations large enough for active play and for ride-on mowers to be utilized. The reduction of small turf areas will reduce time and money spent on watering and maintaining the site.






Pavestone retaining walls (Highland Stone, ‘Truckee Blend’) accent plantings of Dietes vegeta, Hemerocallis ‘Purple Galaxy’, Phormium tenax ‘Atropurpurea’ and Pittosporum tobira ‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’. An Icon shade structure is in the background.


Through the use of grading, multiple plant types, and water conserving concepts to separate multiple design elements, not only will Swainson’s Hawk Park be able to serve the many needs of this new neighborhood for years to come but will be easy for the city to maintain.






Swainson’s Hawk Park

Project Team
Developer: K. Hovnanian Homes
Owner: City of Sacramento

Wood Rodgers, Inc.

  • Landscape Architecture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering

Principal Landscape Architect
Michael Engle, RLA, LEED AP, CLIA
Wood Rodgers, Inc.

Contractor:
Parker Landscape Development Inc.

Vendors:
Site Furnishings:
Wabash Valley Manufacturing, Inc.

Shade Structure and Bridge:
Icon Shelter Systems Inc


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December 14, 2019, 7:52 am PDT

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