A boardwalk overhangs Doubletree Ranch Park’s pond, which is near Lake Lewisville.

A treasured suburb of Dallas, the City of Highland Village is a lakeside retreat for the community. Many of the homes back onto Doubletree Ranch Park near Lake Lewisville. Since this 32-acre former dude ranch has been an iconic landmark for more than 60 years, community interest was considered when SRA/PSC was hired to design and develop the city’s largest new one-of-a-kind community park there.

Community members voted with colored dots for their favorite elements of the proposed park.

Because the park was a prized lakeside getaway for Dallas residents for decades, extra care and effort was taken in the planning stages. SRA/PSC held a public meeting on the site, and drove people around the premises on golf carts, answering questions and sharing ideas.

The splash pad at this popular park evokes a natural look rather than an artificial environment as in most splash pads. The barn in the background can be rented for birthday parties and other celebrations.

The venue offers a waterfall area near the concession/restroom building. Two state-of-the-art water treatment systems keep the recycled water clean and safe.

Large boulders are located throughout the splash pad that was designed to resemble a natural creek. Restrooms and picnic tables (background) are available on site.

This was the largest splash pad that SRA/PSC has designed, with three wet play sequence zones and 66 water sprays. The river flow areas utilize a PolySoft surfacing. The popular picnic area was protected from heavy usage through synthetic turf.

Everything in the park reflects the heritage of a venerable western ranch on top of the hill with a stream bed running through. The pavilion overlooks the Grand Lawn.

“In terms of park development, it was the largest project the City of Highland Village had ever done.” – Victor Baxter, R.L.A., Landscape Architect | Sector Director

The trees that invite youngsters to climb on their many boughs were treasured by the community and were saved in the development of the park.

From top left: The restroom concession resembles a colorful barn; parents can watch their youngsters frolic from the shade of a timber-roof patio; the pump house for the splash pad looks like an old-time grainery; and the timber truss work inside the party room of the barn spans the rafters. The design maximizes the cross breezes in the interior space.

The concert and open-air pavilion is utilized for parties, picnics, church services, weddings and other popular events. Dramatic lighting adds to its allure. The city added a sculpture for a dramatic effect.

A path ascends through the butterfly garden near the pavilion. All of the plants are low-water native plants selected specifically to encourage butterflies. Rain gutters collect water and replenish the garden.

The pavilion is not only a huge draw for nighttime events, but it is also favorite spot to catch some sun on the weekends.

All landscaping was selected for durability and low water demand. This area buffers the parking lot from the Doubletree Ranch Barn.

Other sustainable designs included creating a series of landscaped biofilters for rainfall runoff from the parking lots. They work to reduce pollutants from the parking lot before the water is released into the storm drainage pond.

“All of the site the drainage goes into a 4-acre pond. Since people fish in that pond, we used this innovative filtration system to ensure that we didn’t pollute the pond.” – Larry Stone, P.E., RPLS with SRA/PSC

The original driveway was lined with tall pines and crepe myrtles, but too narrow for two-way driving, so the team utilized the tree-covered drive as a walking trail and relocated the driveway.

“The lighted soccer field is very close to the residences and there was concern about the glare and light pollution, but the new lighting technology has addressed this by controlling glare and spill light.” – Victor Baxter

The two large natural turf soccer fields were designed in a way to offer flexibility. They are oriented in a way that allows for multiple Pee Wee games to be played as well as providing full size adult fields.

A mix of wood, stone and metal interplay in the design of the barn. All windows and doors are operable so the barn can be opened up in warmer months.

The nearby pond also serves as water supply for the irrigation system, which saves the City of Highland Village money and reduces demand on the city’s infrastructure.

Our firm was honored to be involved in this project that features innovations in water, recreation, landscape and site engineering, while preserving the Western flavor of the original ranch with its treasured trees and open space.

In 2018, the park received the Texas Recreation and Parks Society North Region Design Award