In California, a water-wasting golf course is repurposed as drought-resilient orchards, food gardens and energy-efficient homes

Water has always been precious in the Coachella Valley.

So when California drought conditions surfaced this year, the community of Miralon was prepared.

Former golf course replaced by mature olive trees. Photo by Freehold Communities.

Palm Springs’s newest neighborhood is also an “agrihood.”

Recognized as one of the most sustainable and regenerative masterplans in the U.S., this enlightened community transformed a former irrigation-guzzling golf course into orchards and gardens designed for water and energy conservation; crucial for the environment and residents of the desert.

Those who live at Miralon enjoy this sustainable regeneration daily.

The “U-pick” gardens, for example, include fresh herbs and vegetables.

This farm-to-fork lifestyle is also one of many social benefits, as the gardens are part of The Club at Miralon, the community’s center for gatherings and recreation.

And its homes are surrounded by acres of shady, drought-tolerant olive groves, replacing the fairways of the former 18-hole golf course.

As Brad Shuckhart, California Division President of Freehold Communities, developer of Miralon, says, this is a vital community – one that inspires healthful social interaction.

Community garden at Miralon. Photo by Freehold Communities.

Miralon’s design is very specific to the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley region,” says Shuckhart,

Here we have repurposed a former golf course into groves, parks and trails including more than 70 acres of olive trees, cultivated by Temecula Olive Oil Company, using drip-irrigation. Former golf cart paths constitute approximately 6.5 miles of biking and walking trails. Former tee boxes and greens are transformed into smaller groves, dog parks, and social areas. Olive oil from the orchard will be pressed on-site, and produce from the community gardens goes directly to the kitchens of our residents,” he added.

In recognition of the approach, Miralon last year received a sweeping set of Gold Awards, the top honor bestowed by PCBC – representing the best community developments across the country.

Miralon’s wins included Masterplan Community of Year, the highest possible recognition.

All homes at Miralon are equipped with solar power and drought-resistant landscaping.

Even its new Miralon Club is highly efficient, exceeding California’s Title 24 requirements by more than 15%.

New model of Gallery Homes at Miralon. Photo by Chris Miller / Imagine Imagery.

The community’s many other sustainable components include: carbon sequestration from olive trees and ground cover, the communal garden beds, and homes that feature up-to-the-minute energy efficiency while reflecting the great Desert Modern architectural heritage.

In bestowing the Masterplan Community of the Year honor to Freehold Communities and its partners, the judges wrote, “A compelling application of adaptive-reuse, sustainability, healthy living and superior design, this 309-acre agrihood in Palm Springs packs a punch and acts as stellar model for community land planning. With Modernist-inspired architecture applied throughout the homes and amenities, this walkable and connected community is iconic and on the verge of idyllic, while at the same time livable, comfortable and accommodating.

Miralon recently unveiled the first of 50 Desert-Modern homes.

Gallery Homes hosted public events during Modernism Week in October of 2022, including a ribbon-cutting with the city of Palm Springs.

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