How can landscape design contribute to sustainability at an existing retirement facility? Sustainability improves daily life for people as well as ecosystems. At Stonebridge, the larger landscape context–meadows, agricultural fields, and forest—provided the foundation for community stewardship. In collaboration with the Township, Stonebridge provides amenities (native trees, benches) on the public conservation lands surrounding the complex, providing residents shade and seating along walking paths to lure folks out into the meadows to bird-watch and admire views. Mental restoration, physical activity, and socializing opportunities result. Stonebridge converted over two acres of manicured lawn to warm season grassland meadow to increase biodiversity and signal the community’s sustainable values along the entry drive.
Furthermore, a framework to create outdoor gathering spaces for different sized get-togethers supports new programming possibilities. A new community terrace located next to the living room creates nooks for intimate conversations and a larger shaded dining and seating area; courtyards become different “neighborhoods” with new gardens defined each by a copse of different native trees; the annual regatta at the pond becomes a place for interaction throughout the year.