Sendero Field

Rancho Mission Viejo, CA—Honor Award, Parks & Rec/Sports Fields


Garry Collins
Water Concern, LTD
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA



Sendero Field is part of the 5,000-acre planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo, located between San Diego and Los Angeles.  Sendero Field is a highly visible 15-acre community park within the Sendero development that provides events and activities while connecting the community with future developments. Park amenities include: pickle ball courts, a multiple purpose field, a baseball field, event lawn, an extensive children’s adventure playground and facilities.



The firm of Water Concern, LTD, had previously prepared a master plan for the entire 5,000-acre project including irrigation standards and materials.  At total buildout, the project will consist of six separate Villages.  The irrigation design and installation for Sendero Field had to be consistent with the master plan requirements and to integrate into the community’s overall irrigation system, especially as related to system control.

The site uses recycled water from the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD).  This community’s effluent water is pumped to the Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant, and its reclaimed water discharge is then used for the community’s landscape irrigation.  Special considerations for filtration and flushing salt out of the soil were critical design elements.

It was essential that the irrigation be as efficient as possible, as it was constructed during the drought when there was criticism towards new developments.  The project was designed to fully optimize water management and field repairs, even if the initial cost was higher.  The irrigation design uses advance sensors to track soil moisture, salinity, and soil temperature in the park.  The controllers receive local ET data from the Sendero weather station located a half mile away.



The irrigation consultant was extensively involved in all five key milestones for the project.

  • The Master Plan was completed several years before breaking ground on the Park. Work included coordination and collaboration with civil engineers, utility consultants, landscape architects and maintenance contractor
  • Prepared Construction Documents, including close coordination with the landscape architect on plant material selection to create the most efficient hydrozones
  • Provided Construction Observation services. Consultant was on site 2-3 times a week during construction, including assisting with on-site staking of key irrigation components
  • Project commissioning, including three reviews: at project completion, after 60 days and 90 days.  Construction Drawings were modified on CAD to reflect all “as-built” modifications.  The CAD files were then sent to the survey consultants who provided GPS locations for all irrigation equipment for input into the community’s GIS database
  • Provided Water Management consulting after the project was turned over to the HOA.  Working with the maintenance contractor, developing irrigation programs for each station program into the irrigation control system.  Provide on-going periodic inspections to observe the system and recommend adjustments as necessary



Extensive SMWD easements on the eastern side of the project created a design and installation challenge.  No mainline or ancillary mainline equipment such as valves could be located within the easement, creating mainline routing issues.

Sendero Field is on the edge of San Juan Creek.  River rock, located just under the topsoil, had to be trucked away in the excavated areas and caused some on-site mainline re-routing.

Wildlife from the adjacent creek, such as gophers, rabbits, deer, and other animals have the tendency to chew on drip tubing, which severely limited its practical use.

As a public and intensely used space, it was imperative to have a system that mostly goes unnoticed.  Discrete component placement, minimal overspray, no runoff, and effective coverage keeps the system and its operation out of the public eye.



To view project images, click HERE