News from Sea Pines - Special Issue

Sea Pines Landscape Architecture Master Planning

On April 6, 2021, the Sea Pines Facilities Management Board (FMB) voted unanimously to contract with Wellnesscapes, a landscape architecture firm, to develop a landscape architecture master plan (LAMP) for Sea Pines. This special edition of the Sea Pines Newsletter is to provide everyone in the Sea Pines community with an understanding of what such a master plan is, why we are developing it, how it will be used, and what the anticipated long-term benefits are. It will also discuss the process for creating the master plan and how Sea Pines unit owners will be involved.

The newsletter and website aim to keep you up-to-date on all the Sea Pines news you'll need. All e-newsletters are posted on the website and printed copies are provided at the clubhouse. We welcome your comments to the editor at the email address below.

What is a landscape architecture master plan?

Developed by a professional landscape architect, the master plan will create a unifying vision for the physical appearance of the Sea Pines campus. Its scope includes the entire landscape ̶ everything in the Sea Pines common areas including trees, shrubs, and other plantings, lighting, fencing, signage, walkways, common area furniture, and retaining walls. The architect will evaluate current conditions, solicit input from the community, and create a set of recommendations and guidelines for all future work.

Why does Sea Pines need a landscape architecture master plan?

In short, because we have and will continue to make significant investments in improving the appearance and livability of the Sea Pines community including:

  • Replacing old and overgrown plantings
  • Managing invasive plants
  • Updating street and walkway lighting
  • Replacement of signage
  • Potentially rebuilding of the lower tennis court
  • Updating the main entry

These projects are in addition to the regular landscape maintenance projects that we budget for each year. Having an integrated and comprehensive master plan to guide these projects will help ensure consistent, successful, and cost-effective results. The master plan will also consider long-term maintenance costs and sustainability so that the work will ideally result in reduced maintenance costs.

How will the landscape architecture master plan be used?

  1. The master plan will provide general landscape guidelines to standardize landscape improvements by category.
  2. It will identify and prioritize those areas which require attention and the type of work to be done including:
    • Trees and shrubs to be pruned/thinned, removed and/or replaced
    • Lawn areas to be improved or transitioned to other ground cover types
    • Mulch areas to be transitioned to other ground cover types
    • Landscape (flower) beds to be maintained or transitioned
    • Invasive species management across the property and at woodland/edge areas
    • Update to main entry and driveway
    • Signage improvements
    • Street-light and other lighting improvements
    • Fencing and hardscape improvements
    • Traffic calming improvements
  3. The plan will also include a proposed list of recommended, coastally-appropriate and drought-tolerant perennial ground cover, shrub and tree plantings to be considered.

What are the anticipated benefits of a landscape architecture master plan?

  • Updated and improved look and feel across Sea Pines
  • Reduced re-work and expense from failed projects
  • Consistent results
  • Reduced long-term maintenance costs
  • More environmentally responsible planting
  • Increased property values
  • Better budget planning

What is the process for developing the landscape architecture master plan?

Survey: Community engagement is essential to the success of this project and the first step will be to engage unit owners through a brief survey designed to capture their concerns about the Sea Pines landscape. This survey will be sent out within the next few weeks.

Site Inventory: Site inventory and analysis of the current state of landscape conditions to establish needs.

Community Meeting #1: Video conference meeting to review findings from survey and site inventories, and discuss the master planning process.

Master Plan Development: General landscape guidelines and action items developed to 75% completion.

Community Meeting #2: Review of master plan at 75% completion.

Plan Finalization.

Who is Wellnesscapes and how were they selected?

Tom Benjamin RLA, the owner of Wellnesscapes Design LLC, is a licensed landscape architect who has been engaged in site design and planning work for the past 35 years. Tom holds master’s degrees in landscape architecture and city and regional planning. His work experience spans planning, design, permitting, installation work, construction supervision, and postconstruction monitoring and management for varied projects of all sizes. His firm’s larger clients include condominiums, medical campuses, schools, sports facilities, commercial scale solar farms, and public parks. His residential work is often focused on coastal properties and includes projects in Rhode Island and on Cape Cod and at other similarly drought-prone sites.

A request for proposal developed by the FMB was sent to five landscape architecture firms in December of 2020. The field was narrowed to two firms with similar qualifications, approaches, costs, and experience. After careful review and analysis of their proposals and videoconference interviews, the FMB decided to move forward with Wellnesscapes.

The FMB is excited about the benefits that a landscape architecture master plan will deliver for our community. We encourage everyone to take part in this process, providing your input through the upcoming survey and attending future meetings as we go through the master planning process together.

Questions or comments about this e-newsletter should be directed to Lynn Smiledge [Email ]