Feeling hemmed in? Yearning for some peaceful moments communing with nature and beauty? Your city probably has just the spot to satisfy: botanical gardens. Created to grow, study, research, conserve, display and educate, these lush gardens offer respite from all that is hectic and stressful.

This overview introduces you to some of the best botanical gardens to be found near Taylor Morrison communities.


Arizona plants


Desert Botanical Garden – Wildflowers are the springtime stars, but you’ll also enjoy scenic trails, events, exhibitions, classes and more. Be sure to bring water, sunscreen and a hat to shade you.


California flowers

Bay Area

Gamble Garden – Located in Palo Alto, this free-admission destination is just one of the Bay Area Public Gardens, located in the cities of Santa Cruz, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Woodside, Berkeley, Saratoga and Glen Ellen.


Jensen Botanical Garden – This 3-1/2-acre Carmichael garden offers a paradise filled with Tulips, Japanese Maples and a variety of Magnolias and Dogwoods.

Southern California

Best Botanical Gardens in OC – Here’s a wonderful list of botanical gardens in Orange County compiled by CBS Los Angeles.

Descanso Gardens – Take in a tour, relax in the café, or stroll the verdant winding paths of this La Canada Flintridge garden in Los Angeles.




Denver Botanic Gardens – The garden offers too many options to list, but favorites include the 2015 Summer Concert Series, pre-ordering bulbs for September planting, seedling classes for kids, instructional programs like Pumpkins – The Art of Growing Giant Fruit, and periodic films.



Fort Myers / Naples

Naples Botanical Garden – Through July 5 you can ooh and aah at the Unearthed Dinosaurs in the Garden exhibit of life-sized, moving, growling dino replicas in a garden setting, but there is plenty to do any time of the year.


Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens – Wander the trails of this 120-acre urban woodland that feature a series of distinct ecological habitats, inspiring views, and over 100 labeled plants.


Leu Gardens – Just minutes from downtown Orlando, Leu Gardens offers kids’ programs and a variety of tropical plants and flowers.


Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – Find nature on a Sarasota bay-front setting and discover horticultural displays and a center that focuses on education, research and conservation.


USF Botanical Gardens – As part of the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning at the University of South Florida, these gardens span about 16 acres and include a greenbelt on the Tampa campus.




Zilker Botanical Garden – Locals call it “the jewel of Austin.” Visitors enjoy rose gardens, a Japanese garden with streams, waterfalls and Koi ponds, and the recreation of a local prehistoric dinosaur habitat.


Houston Botanic Garden – Although the gardens began as an idea over 30 years ago, it wasn’t until 2015 that the board of directors received City Council approval to transform the site into a botanical garden.

Walkable California Communities
by Cara, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hands (and feet) down, walking is about the easiest, cheapest way to get fit. There’s no expensive gym membership or special equipment needed. Just get a pair of good shoes and hit the pavement. As little as 20 to 30 minutes of brisk strolling a day can help you whittle your waistline, maintain a healthy weight, strengthen bones, lift your mood and even prevent or manage medical conditions include heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Even if you break it up into two or three shorter sessions, you’ll still reap the rewards of a daily walk. And, if you live in a walkable community, it’s even easier to get out there and just do it.

At Taylor Morrison we take a lot of pride in building where people are close to parks, shopping, schools and services. Many of our urban locations put residents within walking distance. In fact, three of our California communities have earned pedestrian-friendly kudos from Walkscore.com, an online service that helps people identify walkable communities based on proximity to stores, restaurants, parks and other amenities.

Bay Area Beats


Brighton, our new metropolitan community in historic Livermore, was named as one of the Top 5 Hottest Neighborhoods in America a couple years back, and it just keeps getting better. In addition to seven stylish floorplans and easy access to BART, Brighton offers hiking trails, downtown art walks and plenty of dogs-welcome play areas. Brighton’s Livermore location netted a Walk Score of 95 out of a possible 100, earning it the designation of Walker’s Paradise! Walkscore.com noted that daily errands can be done on foot and you’re close to parks including Lizzie Fountain and Carnegie. Three-story homes at Brighton start in the mid $600s and include many that are ready right now.

3rd and Main

3rd and Main, a collection of contemporary, energy-efficient townhome-style condos, puts you right in the heart of beautiful Walnut Creek. That’s one of the East Bay’s most desirable cities, with more open space per capita than any other California community! Walkscore.com calls it Somewhat Walkable because some errands can be accomplished on foot, but they also point out that it’s quite bike-friendly, too, and close to Larkey Park, Walden Park and Shell Ridge Open Space. Sound like your style? Check out our ready-now two-bedroom homes priced from the mid $550s.


Strolling SoCal

Level 1

Urban living in Southern California doesn’t get much better than Level 1. For starters, you’ll be living right on the boundary between Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. The ocean is about a mile from your front door and you’re even closer to the area’s hippest shopping, dining, nightlife, parks and cultural hot spots.  Walkscore.com ranks the area at 73, Very Walkable, since most errands can be done on foot. Level 1 two- and three-bedroom, three-story plans with spacious private rooftop decks start in the mid $700s. We’re only building 60 units, so you might want to pick up the pace and jog by soon! 

The Meaning of Memorial Day
by Cara, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This Monday, in Taylor Morrison communities across America, people will be observing the Memorial Day holiday. In addition to touring some of our model homes over the long weekend, take a few moments to observe and honor members of the U.S. Armed Services who gave their lives for our freedom. Add one of these traditions to your family’s celebration.


• Fly the flag. Learn how to display and store the Stars and Stripes properly here. 
• Attend a religious service or a ceremony. 
• Visit a local memorial, historic site or museum honoring the military.
• Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3PM your time to think about the true meaning of the day.
• Thank a veteran or active service member.
• Read the Declaration of Independence aloud and talk about what it means.
• Do a patriotic craft together such as making a garland of red, white and blue paper stars. Find more ideas here.
• Have patriotic song sing-along.
• Visit a wounded warrior at a local hospital.
• See our 50 Ways to Get Inspired at Home and find ideas you can adapt for your family’s Memorial Day. 
Share your celebration with us.

Grand Opening for Fiori at Serrano this Weekend
by Cara, Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nestled among rolling hills with a beautiful oak tree studded landscape and situated behind a guarded gate entrance in one of Northern California’s most exclusive master planned communities, Fiori at Serrano offers the perfect new home for those looking to escape reality and discover peace of mind. Graciously appointed with detailed craftsmanship, timeless architectural styling and designer-decorated finishes, Fiori features a stunning all-new collection of single and two-story home designs. Come join us at the sunset Grand Opening celebration on Friday, May 15th from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. where homebuyers can discover this impressive community, savor local culinary favorites, enjoy live music, take part in a cooking demonstration and much more!

Fiori 1

Welcoming owners and guests alike with a sophisticated front courtyard or portico entry, Fiori homes range in size from 2,784 to 4,382 square feet and offer 3 to 5 bedrooms, 3.5 to 5.5 bathrooms and either a 2 or 3-car garage. Each home is highlighted by a spacious open floorplan that features a modern kitchen, an elegant first floor master suite and at least one covered outdoor living area. Homebuyers will also have the opportunity to personalize their new home with a variety of room options that may include a wine room, guest suite, den, guest casita, master suite sitting area and more. Golf course homesites are also available.

Fiori 2

Synonymous with luxury and prestige, the master planned community of Serrano offers a private championship golf course, acres of open spaces, miles of hiking trails and picturesque views from nearly every angle. Serrano also boasts award-wining schools, immaculate neighborhood parks, an on-site public library, organized sports programs and an outdoor amphitheater. The community’s seasonal activities range from the popular Serrano Easter Egg Hunt to Niello Concours at Serrano to a summer outdoor film series – Saturday Night at the Movies. A variety of boating and fishing opportunities can be found nearby at Folsom Lake, and local wineries in El Dorado and Amador counties are just a short drive away. Reminiscent of a European village, the El Dorado Hills Town Center is filled with boutique shops, restaurants and year-round events. Here at Fiori, residents will enjoy a peaceful setting with strong community connections just 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento and ninety minutes from Lake Tahoe.

Don’t miss out on owning a beautiful brand new home at Fiori at Serrano in El Dorado Hills! Visit the community during the Grand Opening event or contact a sales agent at (916) 526-0814 to schedule your own private tour of this amazing new community.

Arbor Chase in Tampa is Underway
by Cara, Thursday, May 07, 2015

Work is progressing at Arbor Chase as we transform a well-situated stretch of Tampa real estate into a beautiful new community in Palm Harbor. From setting to size to select floor plans, this intimate neighborhood promises to be every bit as special as anticipated.

Arbor Chase Ground Breaking

Only 50 homesites are planned for the gated community.  Set within 20 wooded acres, the neighborhood will be graced with mature oak, a lake and a private dog park for residents and their four-legged friends. Some of our most popular floor plans will be offered, with model homes available for tours this summer.

Overhead of Arbor Chase

Arbor Chase students will attend highly rated K-12 schools, all within 1.5 to 5 miles. Residents will also be conveniently close to shopping, entertainment and medical facilities, and major employment and transportation centers are just a short drive away. With Gulf beaches, golf courses, major sporting facilities, museums and art centers so close, homeowners will enjoy a true West Florida lifestyle.

Arbor Chase

If you’re considering new homes in Tampa, be sure to sign up for the VIP list. You’ll be among the first to learn about floor plans, pricing, specials and more. Keep an eye out for your invitation to tour the Hemingway III and Windover II model homes, expected to be complete this summer.

Simple DIY Flower Arrangements
by Cara, Tuesday, May 05, 2015

As winter recedes and summer waits on the horizon, we are treated to the blossoming spring. Residents of our Austin or Houston homes enjoy a countryside blanketed in colorful wildflowers this time of year.  Flowers abound in Florida as well, with Naples properties dressed in sky flowers while beauties like lupines and alligator lilies grace other areas of the state. Owners of Southern California homes, in the meantime, can breathe in the aroma of a variety native plants and flowers.

Research shows that flowers affect our emotions. Many of us here at Taylor Morrison get a lift by bringing spring indoors with bouquets of fresh-cut flowers. Here are some thoughts about DYI floral arrangements to revitalize your home.

Flower Arranging


Flower arranging is an art, but there are tricks, so no need to feel intimidated. From selecting the right amount of flowers to embellishing with leaves, this article shows you some secrets and provides a checklist. To make your arrangements last longer, get them into water quickly, cut stems at an angle and change the water daily.

Buying Flowers


Your flower selections will be based on color, availability and what’s growing in your garden. If you buy cut flowers, make sure the stems aren’t slimy, the water still smells fresh, stems aren’t broken and buds don’t droop. When you get them home, recut the stems under fresh water and use flower food.

Kinds of Containers


As these guidelines explain, there’s a technique for every shape and size of vase. You can even be whimsical and creative, using watering cans and painted colanders. Even rain boots can show off your flowers with flair. If you’re planning a wedding, these tips include types of flowers and clever ways to display them.

Design Trends for 2015
by Cara, Thursday, April 30, 2015

The home décor design trends for 2015 are all about surprises. We’re seeing bright colors next to muted ones, multiple patterns in the same room, and textures and materials where you don’t expect them. The overview below will give you a sense of what some of the trends are for this year.



The Pantone Color of the Year is Marsala, an earthy red as robust as the wine itself. Deep blues, solid and in patterns, are also big. Another interior trend calls for bright color accents.

Metallic Gold

Gold Accents

Gold has been taken to the next level and used as a metallic. Gold plumbing fixtures are replacing chrome and gold accents are making their ways into interiors. Even cabinets are getting the shiny metallic look.

Functional Elements

Coventry at Heathrow Dining Room

Sleek lines and geometric shapes, multiple-function furniture and a contemporary and a minimalistic look work especially well in smaller spaces where you don’t have room for clutter. This is a look that you might find in a high tech home or in one of Taylor Morrison’s Southern California homes.

Eco Friendly Design

Artisan Lakes Treviso Living Room

We’re seeing pieces that use natural design elements and materials – wood, rope, stone, copper, burlap – throughout the home. This eco approach reflects the growing desire to connect with nature.


Sleek Master Bedroom

You’ll be seeing more interiors that mix it up, where modern shares the room with traditional, African designs sits next to Asian accents, and colors are teamed up in unexpected ways.

To see examples of these and other 2015 décor trends, go to Lushhome, Pouted, Town and Country Living, Decoholic, The Ace of Space, and TopTeny

Enjoy Living in New Tampa
by Cara, Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A lot of people in search of their next new home are turning their eyes to our Esplanade of Tampa community in New Tampa, Florida. What’s the excitement about? New Tampa offers a great Tampa Bay location and Esplanade of Tampa, coming soon, takes full advantage of the incredible Florida lifestyle.


Esplanade of Tampa offers planned resort-style amenities including a more-than 4000-square-foot clubhouse with a full-time Lifestyle Director and more.  After an active day on the amenities campus, residents will come home to their beautiful California-Tuscan style home. Choose from ten accommodating floor plans with two or three bedrooms, up to three bathrooms, and 1,689 to 3,006 square feet of living space.

Contact West Florida Online for more information and join the VIP List to be the first to receive community updates.

  1. Shopping - Shop your heart out at some of the area’s most popular shopping destinations. Be sure to visit The Shops at Wiregrass and International Plaza and Bay Street.
  2. Night Life – For all the night owls out there, after-hours entertainment options abound. Play pool at Peabody’s Billiards & Games, take in a movie at Muvico Starlight 20 and enjoy a drink with dinner at Primebar at Wiregrass.
  3. Golf – Tee-off at one of the many golf courses within a five-mile radius of New Tampa. Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club is a private club established in 1987; another 18-hole club, Hunter’s Green Country Club, features a new bar and remodeled Fazio’s Grill; Pebble Creek Golf Club is a popular public course that offers a great value; and Heritage Isles Golf and Country Club includes a 15-acre preserve of natural wetlands.
  4. Parks – The New Tampa area takes advantage of the natural beauty of the outdoors with parks like New Tampa Community Park, which encompasses numerous ball fields, Recreation Center, playground, and a concession stand. Flatwoods Park in Thonotosassa is part of the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve and New Tampa Nature Park lets you enjoy nature with a network of trails.
  5. Professional Sports – Are you a sports fan? You might want to buy season passes to Tampa Bay Buccaneers football games. For baseball, head over to see the Tampa Bay Rays play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Or, cheer on the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team at Amalie Arena.
  6. Local Attractions – There is fun to be had for people of all ages, such as Busch Gardens, Museum of Science and Industry, Lowry Park Zoo and Florida Aquarium.
  7. Dining – Travel the culinary world in New Tampa, where you can savor an amazing multicultural variety of dining options. Choose from Japanese, Greek, German, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Irish, Korean and Mediterranean, as well as Florida fresh seafood and classic American favorites.
  8. Beaches – Some of the world’s most prized white-sand beaches are located within a 30 to 40-minute drive and there is plenty to do when you are done soaking up the sun: take a stroll on Clearwater Beach, watch the sun set at St. Pete Beach, or have a picnic at Fort DeSoto Park.
  9. Medical Facilities – New Tampa offers top quality hospitals and physicians to meet residents’ medical needs, including Florida Hospital Tampa and Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel.
  10. Amazing Weather– The incredible weather that Florida is famous for is a must on any Top 10 list. The average high in Tampa Bay is 82 degrees, and the average low is 63 degrees. Typically, winters are mild and sunny while afternoon rainstorms are common during the summer months.

Get Growing
by Cara, Thursday, April 23, 2015

How does your garden usually grow? If you could use some tips for getting your garden growing this season, we have some to share with you. Here are some of the things to think about, from Taylor Morrison to you.


Sort Out Your Seeds

For the best chance of high germination rates, make sure your seeds are new and not expired. If you have older packets of seeds, you can test their viability; you’ll need damp paper towels and baggies. When buying new seeds, keep in mind what grows best in the spring. Many gardeners enjoy the ease of buying seeds online.

Prep the Soil

Is the soil ready? Wait to plant until the soil is no longer saturated from rain or snow melt. This usually isn’t an issue if you have a home in Yorba Linda, CA, but owners of Orlando area homes might need to wait for any springtime storms to subside.  This organic gardening blog explains how to determine if your soil is ready. When conditions are dry, you can begin to cultivate the soil.

Start Your Seeds

Some seasoned gardeners swear by starting seeds indoors with grow lights. In fact, if you live in a townhouse in Campbell, CA or elsewhere, you can take advantage of new technologies like Intelligent Light Source to grow an indoor produce garden. If your garden is large or you need to grow outside, it’s wise to protect your plants with a metal hoop cover or frame.

If you’ve never gardened before, this article will guide you through starting from scratch. For some unusual tips, from watering with cooking water to gardening at night, check out 7 Great Tips for Early Spring Gardening.

Looking to purchase a new Sarasota home where you can enjoy the very best of the active Florida lifestyle? Here are five great reasons Cobblestone on Palmer Ranch, an Esplanade community is the right choice.

Esplanade logo

1. The Place to Be for What You Like to Do 

Located in one of southwest Florida’s most prestigious neighborhoods, Palmer Ranch, Cobblestone on Palmer Ranch is 4.5 miles from Siesta Beach, ranked the #1 beach in America. Live here and you’ll be close to area attractions like the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast, water sports, boating, fishing, hiking trails and golf. You’ll also find an abundance of fun places to go for shopping and dining.

2. Like Living at a Resort

A community amenity and fitness center, catering kitchen, clubhouse and more will put fun and relaxation almost at your door. A heated pool and spa and sports courts are just a few of the other amenities planned. You’ll also have an on-site lifestyle director making sure there are ongoing community activities to enjoy.  

3. Homes that Inspire

White Kitchen

Choose from well-appointed homes from 1,689 to 2,921 sq. ft.  surrounded by lush landscaping. These thoughtful, popular designs include gourmet kitchens with elegant Corian® countertops and, per plan, islands and breakfast bars. Sumptuous master suites feature large walk-in closets and full bathrooms with dual vanities. Many have dens and formal dining rooms. Roomy outdoor living areas, architectural detailing and handsome brick paver driveways reflect the coastal lifestyle. 

4. Natural Paradise

Outdoor Patio

You won’t find a better place to live for enjoying natural beauty everyday. Your new Sarasota home is moments from the Legacy Trail where you’ll enjoy a scenic bike ride down to Venice. Watch bird life in all shapes and sizes, from pelicans, osprey and gulls to egrets and shore birds along the 10 mile route.

5. Easy Access

With such a convenient location it will seem like all roads lead to Cobblestone on Palmer Ranch. The community is just off the I-75 corridor so traveling up or down the west coast is a breeze. Flying out of town? No problem! Major airports— Sarasota Bradenton International, Tampa International, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International and Southwest Florida International—serve the area.

Come See for Yourself. Then Stay Forever.

Visit Cobblestone on Palmer Ranch and see your future Sarasota home. To schedule your appointment contact our Internet Home Consultants. Call 866-495-6006 or send an email request.