Atascocita is community of about 80,000 located just west of Lake Houston found within Harris County Precinct 2 in Texas. Within it is Atascocita Park, a unique, heavily wooded park that serves as a secluded nature oasis for the local neighborhood. Bound by a major thoroughfare, it is centrally located in a populous and rapidly developing area. It encompasses 21 acres of a second-generation forest and boasts several converging natural water courses.
Landscape architecture firm, Halff Associates from Richardson, Texas created the park's master plan to celebrate its many natural conditions and address numerous challenging drainage situations, both upstream and throughout the area. The plan identified natural opportunities and incorporated a variety of recreational elements without impeding drainage conditions or unnecessarily removing existing vegetation.
After completing the master plan, park improvements required professional expertise from a diverse set of design disciplines, including park planning, landscape design, hydrology, hydraulics and site engineering. The design team was challenged with creating a park that blended engineering improvements into the site's natural landscape and environment. A substantial portion of the planning accounted for disguising drainage improvements by properly siting amenity features related to the specific study of necessary infrastructure.
More than half of the park's natural condition was preserved including most of its existing drainage patterns. Prior to becoming a park, the land served as a natural sump and drainageway for many of the upland neighborhoods. Located less than half a mile from Lake Houston and near the bottom of the watershed, the park land also serves as a backwater area for West Lake Houston Parkway when heavy rains inundate the roadway with stormwater.
Measures were taken to preserve the local ecosystem and the efforts in this area were concentrated on making improvements to the park's western half in order to minimize the perceived development damages to the park. Tree removal was selective, as amenities were placed in locations that preserved desirable vegetation and the site's drainage patterns. Once improvements were made, restoration of the natural vegetation began by planting a pallet of native plants.
As seen in LASN magazine, January 2021.