Master-Planned CommunitiesConsumer and Home Design Trends

Big Sales in Texas

Mikaela Arroyo photo
Jenni Nichols photo

Mikaela Arroyo

Jenni Nichols

February 24, 2023
Texas State Flag the Symbol of the Lone Star State

This week, New Home Trends Summit attendees participated in our sold-out master plan tour of the Pecan Square and Harvest master plans by Hillwood Communities in northwestern Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are 3 of the many inspirational takeaways from the day: 

  • Community collaboration sells homes 
  • Unique, diverse architecture beats uniformity  
  • Using the past to design the future  

Community collaboration sells homes

Both Harvest and Pecan Square began their development with a multi-day charette that included all of the key stakeholders in the community from the mayor to local realtors, builders, architects, and even the school board. Their commitment to the vision developed during these sessions is easily observed through the amenity choices for each community, resulting in more sales and positive momentum from day one:

Pecan Square’s sense of community 

Pecan Square created a small-town vibe, with all paths leading to a walkable 5-acre central square that includes: 

  • A 22,000-square-foot arena (previously a horse training arena) that is both event pavilion and sport courts. Since opening, the Arena has hosted concerts, weddings, resident-led market days, dance lessons, armadillo races, sports watching parties, and more. When not used by the HOA, residents can host their own private events.  
  • A nod to heritage, with “Pecan Square Pioneers” (the first 100 families to close on a home) getting a custom engraved paver installed in the Town Square.  
  • A traveling ambassador in the form of a branded 1953 Chevy pickup. 

With the majority of the Square built in Phase 1 (in fact, it was the largest amenity package Hillwood has ever done), the master plan succeeded in bringing together residents of Pecan Square and the town of Northlake from the start. 

Harvest’s tribute to well-being 

At Harvest, an agrarian vision is brought to life through: 

  • A 6-acre farm with commercial, community, and philanthropic uses
  • A community garden with raised garden beds for residents to rent  

  • An open-air event space, home to a weekly farmer’s market  

  • Strong connection to nature through a 1+ mile long linear Central Park, which is a located a short walk from 96% of homes in the community 

Unique, diverse architecture beats uniformity

At Pecan Square, Hillwood decided to “buck the trend” by infusing new colors, materials, and architecture into the typically homogenous Dallas-Fort Worth market. Studying the market carefully, drawing examples from all over the country, and collaborating closely with their builders, Hillwood required each home plan to offer a minimum of three distinct architectural elevation options. Their most common feedback? The community is “a breath of fresh air in a sea of sameness.” 

New Home Trends Institute survey results show a similar theme, with “cookie-cutter appearance” being a top complaint of the 20% of homeowners who view master-planned communities negatively.  

Using the past to design the future

Hillwood sought to repurpose and reimagine as much as possible in both Pecan Square and Harvest: 

  • At Harvest, an 1800s farmhouse was relocated and repurposed into a coffee shop.  

  • At Pecan Square, the pre-existing horse farm’s driveway was lined with hundreds of pecan trees that were preserved and showcased in the community’s land plan. 

While both took inspiration from the past, both also importantly maintained an eye on the future.  

  • Harvest was the first community in Texas with smart automation in every home.
  • Pecan Square features a coworking space, amazon package lockers, and is a mobility innovation zone that tests autonomous vehicles and aircrafts. 

New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) members can learn more about these communities by visiting their DesignLens features here (Pecan Square and Harvest).  If you would like to learn more about becoming a New Home Trends Institute member, please fill out this form.  

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About The Author

Mikaela Arroyo photo
Mikaela Arroyo
Vice President, NHTI | Chief of Staff
Mikaela leads trend research for the New Home Trends Institute, conducting monthly surveys of consumers and industry professionals to better understand housing pain points and desires. As Chief of Staff to the CEO, Mikaela strategizes and supports the daily operations of the company, focusing on business initiatives.
Jenni Nichols photo
Jenni Nichols
Vice President of Design
Jenni scouts and analyzes the best housing projects from across the country to feature in the DesignLens database. Along with supporting clients with their design and trend inquiries, she also consults with developers and builders planning their communities and fine tuning their home designs.

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