The Making of an IDEAL Neighborhood: The Woodlands

April 12, 2022

There’s a whole lotta dirt moving in Harrah these days. Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods is adding a new neighborhood and brand-new homes in Harrah, according to Zack Roach, Ideal’s Vice President of Development, and it should be ready to open this spring if all continues to go well. Ideal is also building brand new neighborhoods in Edmond/Deer Creek, Norman, and Stillwater this spring/summer.

So just what’s involved in creating a new community? “A lot,” says Roach. “A new section of homes in a neighborhood is a management team decision,” continues Roach. He breaks down the development process for us right up until home building actually begins. A lot of work happens before any home ever sees a two-by-four or a nail, he says.

The first job is to find the land. “Once we’ve located a piece of land, we have to negotiate the price and perform our due diligence,” says Roach. He continues to say: “That can take about six months. During that time, we must determine if the project will actually work from an engineering standpoint. The new property must be good, usable land that can accommodate oil and gas easements, sewer, water, and flood plains. Then we can look at zoning the project through the city, which includes preparing presentations and meeting with planning commissioners and the city council.

The Woodland Drone Photography Dirt Work

Only after we clear all those hurdles can we go ahead to contract for the land and make the purchase. Next, we start working on the actual engineering using our preliminary plat map showing all the homesites designated for that specific neighborhood. The first phase of the build is identified, typically 70–100 lots in the first section. Engineers go to work making the grades, sewer, water, and drainage systems, plus the road system to carry both traffic and water.

From here, we get plan approval from the city and start bidding out the work to contractors. Two weeks after sending out requests for bids, a contractor is selected for the job, and they start the dirt work”

These are the steps for the preliminary work on any new neighborhood:

Step 1: Dirt work

Step 2: Sewer

Step 3: Water

Step 4: Drainage

Step 5: Paving

Paving is the last step. Once that is complete, Ideal can begin selling homes. As paving is wrapping up, Ideal is filling in the plat document (the legalities that make it legal to sell the lots and pull permits to build). At this point, the team selects homesites for pre-designed homes and model homes before selling custom homes and pre-designed homes to new homebuyers.


Almost immediately after a new neighborhood is imagined, the Development team begins planning for parks, playgrounds, walking trails, and other amenities, which usually takes between four and six months to build. “The size of the neighborhood dictates how much we invest in amenities: the larger the neighborhood, the more amenities we are able to plan for and install,” says Trish Morris, Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods Director of Development. Most Ideal neighborhoods have a playground and pond, while some also have a splash pad, sports fields, or even a pool depending on the space we have for installation. “We plan as a team, along with marketing, before we even break ground, to figure out what we’ll be installing so we’re sure the equipment or amenity fits with the community theme.

Playground themes are usually chosen once the equipment has been selected. The Woodlands playground is based on the idea of being in southeastern Oklahoma, where there are lots of pine trees, camping, forts, and even a Big Foot sighting or two. Ideal sends several trusted playground suppliers a general theme and space requirements. The vendors send designs which the development team adjusts and passes on to the management team for the final decision. “The park we select is designed to give the best play value for all play abilities and feel for the neighborhood we’re working in,” Morris said.

Coming Soon: Splash Pad Rendering

Coming Soon: Playground Rendering

“We’re also focusing on installing pollinator gardens to aid in the migration of the Monarch butterfly and create a safe haven for other pollinators,” she continued.

Many of our Ideal neighborhoods also feature walking trails. They are usually focused around ponds to encourage a natural outdoor experience.

Choosing and constructing the amenities can take six to nine months, depending on permitting, installation schedules, and landscaping plans.

The Woodlands update

As of March 18, The Woodlands was in the last phase of development. The punch list to inspect all the improvements (Steps 1–5) will be completed so the plat can be approved. Once the plat is filed, Ideal can officially begin selling lots.

This entire process takes about 18 months from the time of land purchase until the first lot is available for sale. Sometimes it seems like houses go up overnight, but it’s time-consuming if it’s done right. And many times, waiting is the name of the game. “Weather, inspector schedules, and city timelines are just a few delays that can throw us off schedule,” says Roach.

The Woodland Drone Photography Dirt Work

By the time you’ve toured the first home in The Woodlands addition in Harrah, though, all these steps will have been completed. You’ll just drive through the new neighborhood on freshly paved roads, choose your homesite, and pick a floor plan to start making your Ideal home happen!

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