One of the unique master plan design features of The Woodlands is the neighborhood cul-de-sac. This land plan design is intended to maximize green space, limit traffic, contribute to public safety and to provide opportunities for neighbors to get to know each other. More than 1,300 cul-de-sac islands currently exist in The Woodlands with a projection of approximately 1,400 at build-out.
Cul-de-sac islands that are larger than 3,400 square feet (jumbos) are maintained by The Woodlands Township 11 times a year, which includes mowing, trimming, blowing and trash pick-up. Islands smaller than 3,400 square feet, which are within the county road right-of-way, are maintained by the Township one time per year which includes mowing, trimming, blowing and trash pick-up
The goal with these maintenance programs is to be in harmony with nature as over time this maintenance program will afford these areas to grow and mature into the forested island. This type of cul-de-sac is easy to maintain and has its hardy native trees and shrubs still in place. Little pruning or weeding is required, and the native growth thrives to soften the streetscape and absorb the heat and sound.
Some residents desire for these areas to have improved landscaping with groundcovers, exotic shrubs or decomposed granite or a stone pad with a small bench. Projects such as these can be approved by The Woodlands Township by application, but elaborate projects are discouraged. Play structures and basketball goals are not permitted for safety and aesthetic reasons.
In many of the villages, neighbors organize themselves to care for the cul-de-sac as a natural outgrowth of a sense of community. Some neighbors have a special interest or expertise in landscape. Some have a knack for leading, and soon the group is taking turns mowing the grass, trimming the trees, or running a hose out to water the trees and shrubs during a dry spell. Some may contract with a landscaping company for the maintenance.
Thirsty seasonal flowering plants, manicured shrubs, and other high maintenance landscaping elements are generally not planted in cul-de-sac islands because they may look nice at first, but detract quickly from a neighborhood if they are not maintained.
Overall, cul-de-sacs both small and jumbo serve a number of purposes in the community, which in part makes The Woodlands a special place.