Wilson Ranch Landscape Concept


The focus of the Wilson Ranch Landscape Concept is the integration of each building into its natural setting. This concept relies primarily on the use of indigenous plants, but may also allow use of other visually and horticulturally compatible plants. Plantings should be in natural drifts, groves, or masses with occasional specimen plantings that provide accent in a manner that reflects the natural landscape.

The successful residential landscape provides a graceful transition from the design form and vocabulary of the built environment to the indigenous ranch qualities of the Methow Valley.

There is evidence that fire suppression strategies have actually increased the intensity of wildfires when they finally do occur. In managed areas where fires are rapidly suppressed, duff and dead matter build up, making an eventual fire more intense and dangerous. Therefore, frequent routine maintenance by the homeowner to remove fuel should occur to reduce fire hazards.

A fire-resistant landscape should incorporate these concepts, as appropriate, for the individual site. A combined effort of management and maintenance of the surrounding landscape to minimize fire hazard should occur to increase the safety buffer around structures and reduce the danger posed by wildfire. The visual identity of Wilson Ranch is the forest.

Maintaining a healthy forest that is resistant to insect and disease is also important in the landscape concept. Eliminating diseased or bug infested trees will be a priority for owners at Wilson Ranch. The principals of the Wilson Ranch Forest Management Plan will be followed.

Turf and Shrub Areas

The landscape concept at Wilson Ranch focuses primarily on the use of indigenous tree areas accented with shrub plantings. Use of turf for lawns is discouraged. If minor amounts of turf are used, daily water restrictions must be adhered to. The turf areas must be integrated into a natural landscape. This must be approved by the Design Review Committee in a landscape plan prior to installation.

Trees are the dominant feature in the Wilson Ranch landscape, and these Guidelines emphasize the use of trees and the material to provide the most visual and memorable impact. Trees also can serve diverse functions - from shading in hot summers to blocking cold winter winds or undesirable views.

Conservation and Planting Concept

Native landscape materials, plants, trees, and features are to be preserved and protected. Removal of any existing native landscape elements must be approved by the Committee. Sensitivity to landscape design, home siting, and construction practices decreases the impact to the natural setting, and may also reduce the cost of landscape maintenance for the Owner. The following procedures are recommended:

  • Survey the homesite to identify trees to remain and those to be removed
  • Leave a majority of the homesite undisturbed by removing vegetation required for the home and create view corridors. These view corridors will be determined by a registered forester, landscape architect, or representative of the developer on a per homesite basis
  • Place fencing around significant trees and vegetation clusters during construction
  • To reduce erosion, erect silt fences and place mulch on bare soil 
  • Use xeriscape to reduce water usage during drought times
  • All specimen trees must be protected during construction with temporary fencing

Residential Landscape Criteria

Property Landscape Zones Overview
Within the individual properties, all new building construction will take place in carefully defined building envelopes, selected to avoid unique natural, cultural and scenic resources.In a few envelopes, some mitigation will be required. For example, removing a few trees will be necessary on heavily wooded sites.

Within each building envelope or zone, regulations for the siting of buildings and the design of the improvements will assure that potential visual impacts are mitigated, and that the natural landscape always dominates the scene. For that reason, the Committee will require each design to be based on a detailed site analysis to be submitted with plans for proposed improvements, and will be subject to a thorough design review process.

The following residential landscape design criteria are provided to enhance the definition of each home site. The primary goal is to protect and maximize individual property values through the implementation of an appropriate landscape treatment. These criteria must be followed to successfully receive the approvals required by the Committee.

Each Wilson Ranch homesite must maintain a cohesive framework from which the property owners can express their unique tastes and personality and the natural qualities of each homesite.

Submittals of landscape plans are to be submitted as a part of the Design Review and Submittal Process described in Section V. A $1000.00 Letter of Credit, Cash Bond or cash deposit must be provided to the Wilson Ranch Association (WRA) to ensure that each homesite completes landscape construction prior to home occupancy, seasonal conditions permitting.

Zone One:Building Zone
Definition:  The Building Zone is the maximum area permitted to provide for the home, outbuildings and gardens.

Landscape Concept:
Maintain the natural state of the homesite to retain the connection to the existing forest and open space.

Any turf areas must be minor and limited to this zone. Turf must be integrated into the natural landscape setting. Large blocks of turf areas are not permitted.

Zone Two:Forest Management Zone

Definition: The Forest Management Zone includes all the remaining of the privately owned property outside the area the Building Zone. The size of this area varies, depending on the depth of property and the placement of the home on the property.

Landscape Concept:
Minimize thinning of ground cover vegetation and tree removal to frame views rather than total clearing. All trees will be managed to maintain a healthy and diverse forest stand and follow the principles of wildfire prevention (Fire Wise) and forest health. Information on wildfire prevention is available on line and in brochures from the Design Review Committee. Thinning and planting is subject to Wilson Ranch Design Review Committee approval. Turf areas are not permitted in this zone.

Combining proper forest management techniques with an approved landscape plan will greatly enhance the ecology of Wilson Ranch, reduce wildfire hazard, reduce landscape cost/maintenance, and retain essential cover and nesting areas for its wildlife and fauna. Driveways that are winding/meandering limit impact to wildlife and ecosystems.

Plant Palettes
Fire Hazards

Several fire-tolerant, fire-resistant, or even fire-requiring adaptations in Intermountain Northwest plant species have been identified. Many of the plant types in the Intermountain Northwest have adapted to frequent, rapid, low-temperature fires.

Landscape Zones

A fire-resistant landscape should incorporate these concepts, as appropriate, for the individual site. A combined effort of management and maintenance of the surrounding landscape to minimize fire hazard should occur to increase the safety buffer around structures and reduce the danger posed by wildfire. The visual identity of Wilson Ranch is the forest. The following tree palette is provided as a reference for the homeowner when additional and replacement trees are in order. Examples of appropriate trees are:

Shade/Large Trees
Black Cottonwood*
Douglas Fir*
Grand Fir
Lodgepole Pine
Pacific Silver Fir
Pacific Yew
Pacific Willow
Paper Birch
Ponderosa Pine
*Quaking Aspen
Western White Pine
White Spruce
Whitebark Pine

Small Trees
Black Hawthorn
Bitter Cherry
Columbia Hawthorn
Douglas Maple*
Pin Cherry
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Scouler's Willow*
Smooth Sumac
Water Birch
Western Beaked Hazel
Western Mountain Ash

Bald-Hip Rose*
Big Sagebrush
Birch-leaved Spiraea*
Black Huckleberry*
Black Twinberry
Common Juniper
Cut-Leaf Sagebrush*
Five-Leaved Bramble
Gray-Rabbit Brush*
Green-Rabbit Brush*
High Bush Cranberry
Mock Orange
Nootka Rose*
Oregon Box*
Prairie Rose*
Prickly Rose
Pyramid Spiraea
Red Twinberry
Red-Osier Dogwood
Redstem Ceanothus*
Shrubby Cinquefoil
Shrubby Penstemon
Subalpine Spiraea
Tall Oregon Grape*
Wolf Willow

Hard Fescue
Red Fescue
Tall Fescue

Grasses and Sedges
Alkali Bluegrass
Beaked Sedge
Bluebunch Wheatgrass
Columbia Brome
Dewey's Sedge
Fringed Brome
Idaho Fescue
Indian Ricegrass
Northwestern Sedge
Pasture Sedge
Red Fescue
Ross's Sedge
Water Sedge
Wild Blue Flax

Bracken Fern*
Brittle Bladder Fern
Oak Fern
Ostrich Fern
Spiny Wood Fern

Blue Clematis
Orange Honeysuckle
White Clematis

Ground Covers
Arrowleaf Groundsel
Creeping Snowberry
Early Blue Violet
False Solomon's Seal
Five Leaved Bramble
Lance-Leaved Stonecrop
One Leafed Foamflower
Stream Violet
Trailing Raspberry
Worm-Leaved Stonecrop

Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Dwarf Blueberry
Hooker's Fairy Bells
Long Leaved Phlox
Miner's Lettuce
Nodding Onion
Racemouse Pussytoes
Rosy Pussytoes
Rounded-Leaved Violet
Rounded-Leaved Alumroot
Scarlet Gilia
Showy Aster
Silky Lupine
Small Flowered Blue Eyed Mary
Sulphur Lupine
Sweet Scented Bedstraw
Tall Bluebells
Thompson's Paintbrush
White Geranium
Yellow Bells
Yellow Evening Primrose
Yellow Monkey Flower
Yellow Penstemon

*Fire resistant plants.