WHAT NOT TO MONUMENT!
“Light Farms” is one of our favorite executions of a ‘sense of arrival’ noted on an awards judging trip to California.
I was driving through my Bainbridge Island community the other day and took a familiar turn to go past a new small subdivision about mid-Island. This development is one I have been watching with great interest as it looked like the land plan and home plans are quite compatible with their surroundings. Then as I rounded the corner, there it was… a brand new ENTRY MONUMENT rivaling any you might see adorning a Mill Creek, Auburn or Tumwater subdivision/ It was imposing, all logo’d up…. and oh, so OUT OF PLACE!
My team envisions and designs many of these types of entry monuments each year. They can be a great asset when used in the right location. But there are just some places this kind of signage does not belong. Bainbridge Island is one of them. Years ago one our clients at the time, Schneider Homes, asked us to help speed up the marketing of a new subdivision they had already started on the Island. Our first piece of advice* was to remove the entry monument they had erected glaringly out of place on one of the community’s most highly traveled roads. That was not a “smiley” meeting.
Why did we want to rain on their parade? Because, nothing says “We’re Not From Here” louder that an out of place entry monument! And in established, small, tight-knit communities the perception of not being FROM HERE is a decided disadvantage for both the seller and the future residents.
If you’re building in a semi-rural or established community, make sure your marketing and design teams looks at the surroundings for their cues. There are many landscaping solutions to creating a powerful sense of arrival, and many do not call for the traditional entry monument. Don’t broadcast the message “We’re Not From Here”. It won’t help sales momentum or future entitlements.