Set amongst rolling hills, citrus groves, and pine plantations, ‘Hamlin’ citrus trees were once one of the most widely grown oranges in Central Florida. Hamlin’s land has now become a dynamic 600-acre waterfront community located in the heart of Horizon West’s 30,000-acre community in West Orlando. Hamlin is designed for families who are searching for a connection to the water and nature in their everyday lives while having efficient access to urban amenities. Over the past decade, Dix.Hite has collaborated closely with Boyd Development to design a variety of properties within Hamlin including multi-family developments, retail and commercial developments, medical facilities, parks, trails, and streetscapes. Dix.Hite developed the public realm landscape, hardscape, and community signage to harmonize and pay homage to the natural land and citrus legacy of West Orlando. The designs exhibit natural stone, weathered steel, rustic wood fencing, and a plant palette of predominantly native plants, and provide a consistent look and feel across the community.
Hamlin aims to have a lower environmental footprint than most community developments and Dix.Hite has designed low-impact stormwater solutions into most of the property. This ecologically friendly approach as applied at the Hamlin Walmart earned an award for “outstanding infrastructure” from the Florida Planning and Zoning Association. The parking lot at the Hamlin Publix features a rain garden system that runs through center of the parking lot and includes educational signage. Placing LID systems like this in such prominent locations in the public realm allow people to interact with them in their everyday lives. Our hope is that this becomes the norm across Central Florida (and beyond!) and one day we won’t need the signage, it will just be what people expect. The retail centers across Hamlin include bioswales and a Florida-friendly landscape palette. Landscape architecture creates a people-friendly interface between Publix and the adjacent retail and office space, and the public walking trail that connects the community. The nearby Regal movie theater features a permeable parking lot that helps reduce the stormwater movement into the lake and creates a beautiful brick paver threshold at the entry to the theater.
Serving as precedent for all future development in Hamlin and the greater Orlando area Florida’s native landscape and its once dominant agrarian landscapes are contrasted and therefore celebrated as a part of the designed user experience.