Roots & Wings Online

Ladera’s Largest Field Gets a Major Facelift

The Founders Park turf renovation project is scheduled to start in early June.

Then Ladera Ranch’s award-winning master developer envisioned the community, the design included interconnecting neighborhoods, pathways, trails, and open spaces. Founders Park in the Avendale Village was designed for passive recreational use.

When Ladera Ranch was founded in 1999, social media was in its infancy, and team sports in Ladera were not what they are today. Since its inception, there has been explosive growth in youth and adult sports and the use of the community’s fields, originally designed for much lighter use by its residents.

Over the past five years, the maintenance of sports fields has been progressively more challenging given a 20-plus year drought, from which we’ve just recently seen some relief, significantly hotter and longer summers, and the year-round use of the fields, without much relief for the turf grass to recover from heavy use.

As if the weather and demand issues weren’t enough, Bermuda or Kikuyu, turf grass species best suited for Ladera’s warm climate and sports field conditions, have specific germination and growth periods that don’t necessarily align with sports and event schedules. Founders Park, which is located next to Ladera Ranch Elementary and Middle Schools, experiences heavy use by students during physical education classes and recreational play, an 8-month sports season between soccer and baseball/softball, and community events such as July 4th Celebration, the Summer Concert Series, Harvest Festival, and Spring Celebration.

Until this year, Ladera Ranch Maintenance Corporation (LARMAC) had done its best to balance the health of the sports fields at Founders Park and accommodate the community’s needs. For 18+ months, efforts have been made to improve the soil’s structure, fertility, and overall organic health.

LARMAC has been working closely with its landscape partners, Mosaic Consulting, O’Connell Landscape Maintenance, and Osborne Organics, to develop a plan approved by the LARMAC Board of Directors earlier this year.

In June, LARMAC will start the Turf Renovation project at Founders Park, a significant undertaking addressing the soil, grading/drainage, and turf grass issues with a comprehensive approach.

The field renovation project is expected to take the entire summer and extend into early September, when the field will reopen to host soccer games for AYSO and Capistrano Unified students.


  • Design Use: The park was designed for passive use, not for heavy sports use.
  • Soil: Clay soil does not drain well and easily compacts, limiting drainage and root growth.
  • Reclaimed Water: High salt content, and with clay soil, restricts root zone for growth.
  • Drought: Negative impact on sports fields; rain leaches out salt in the soil.
  • Weather: Desirable climate for living conditions but not for maintaining sports fields.

Turf Grass
The field rehabilitation project includes the installation of 300,000 sq. ft. of Bandera Bermuda Sod - a warm-season, drought-tolerant variety of grass, which makes it an excellent option for sports fields, golf courses, and parks.

Impact on Events
LARMAC worked with LARCS to make accommodations to maintain the berm areas around the park’s perimeter for the July 4th Celebration. Although the fireworks viewing area will be impacted, LARMAC did its best to make accommodations for the event while maintaining safety measures.

This year, the Summer Concert Series will host two concerts at Founders Park on August 4 and 11. Since the fieldwork has most of the park closed, the concerts will be hosted in the south area of the park, between the Elementary School grounds and the Founders Park parking lot, and between the most southern baseball field and the playground.

Once the field renovation has been completed, the fields will be much healthier, beautifully functioning, and ready for students, residents, and athletes to use.
Summer Events (map): LARCS worked closely with LARMAC to make the necessary adjustments to the layout for the Summer Concert Series and the July 4th Celebration at Founders Park. The darker green areas show the seating areas for popular summer events.

Protecting the Investment

LARMAC’s investment to improve the field conditions at Founders Park for its residents, students, and athletes is something to take pride in. This is our community; let’s take care of it.

  • Don’t ride e-bikes on the new turf grass; keep vehicles off and out of the park.
  • Parents: Please inform kids and others that it is unsafe and destructive to ride in the landscaped areas.
  • Report vandalism immediately. An increase in vandalism results in increased costs to the association, which impacts all homeowners.
    You contact Allied Universal Security Services at (949) 351-9253, 24/7. or send an email to
  • The fine for damage to LARMAC property and vandalism is $1,500 plus the actual cost of repair/replacement.

For updates on this and other projects, visit

Sports groups that use Ladera Ranch sports fields
Ladera Ranch Little League
Capo Girls Softball
Matt Leinhart Football League
South OC Raptors Rugby
AYSO Adult Soccer
Ladera Ranch Softball League

Ladera Ranch Sports Fields
For information about Ladera Ranch sports fields.