New community garden taking root at Naples Reserve | Naples Reserve
People standing near new garden at Naples Reserve

A new community garden is taking root at Naples Reserve

Posted on November 18, 2019

The number of residents at Naples Reserve isn’t the only thing growing at this South Naples community. As iStar’s 688-acre community of Southern Coastal-inspired attached villa, single-family and custom estate homes continue adding new homes and homeowners, a new community garden is also sprouting within.

Under the guidance of Karen Day, iStar’s lead landscaping consultant, the residents of Naples Reserve embraced the concept of a community garden. “Everybody jumped on board,” said Day. “The enthusiasm from the homeowners is what drives me. A community garden is only as good as the involvement from the residents, and their excitement is just unbelievable.”

On a generous piece of land near the planned Paws Awhile dog park, Day used large rocks found on the property to create raised beds where herb, vegetable and cut-flower gardens have already been planted. “The residents love the fact that the raised beds will make it easier for them to pick and weed,” said Maria DeMarco, activities director for Naples Reserve.

Day selected plants that are easy to grow and maintain for each garden area. The herb garden includes dill, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil. In the vegetable garden, a variety of tomatoes and peppers have already started growing.

“On the day all the plants came, everybody took part,” said Day. “The homeowners planted everything. They got in there and got dirty and sweaty.”

Everything is being grown organically. “I don’t use any chemicals in the garden,” said Day. “If people are going to ultimately eat what’s grown, it needs to be safe.”

Coming in 2020 is a garden of fruit trees and a butterfly garden. Day anticipates including avocado, mango, lime and lemon trees among the mix. The butterfly garden will feature a variety of flowering shrubs whose nectar will attract the winged creatures, as well as host plants like milkweed where butterflies can lay their eggs.

There are currently five resident volunteer teams, each with a team leader who organizes the efforts for each garden area. “Each team will determine and schedule who is responsible to check the garden every day,” said DeMarco. “Once the teams pick the vegetables, herbs and fruits, they’ll be placed inside the Island Club, where all residents will have access to the freshly picked items.”

Though Day will remain involved in the garden as it keeps growing, she feels confident that it’s already in good hands. “I’ll keep advising the residents as they need me, but they’re already pretty self-sufficient,” she said. “A garden like this brings all the homeowners together, and we’ve only just begun. It can go as far as the residents want it to, and I’ll help as much as I can. We have such a wonderful homeowner base already, so it’ll be exciting to see where it will go from here.”

Naples Reserve and its developer iStar were recently honored with Collier Building Industry Association’s Sand Dollar Awards for Community of the Year ($500,000 to $1 million) and Best Landscape Design (Over $1 million).

A Blue Zones Project recognized homeowners association, Naples Reserve was created amongst 22 lakes, which provide prime opportunities for using the community’s Hydrobikes, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards and enjoying scenic vistas. The 125-acre Eagle Lake features a large tiki hut on destination Kontiki Island, in addition to a mile-long rowing lane nestled against the Picayune Strand State Forest, a 76,000-acre state park with protected pinelands, cypress swamps, marshes and abundant wildlife.

The community’s lakefront, resort-inspired amenities include the $7-million Island Club social center, which features a 5,160-square-foot clubhouse and an adjacent 3,500-square-foot fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and a movement studio for spinning, Zumba and yoga. Outdoors, an expansive, resort-style, zero-entry pool offers dedicated lap lanes and ample room for relaxation.

Indoor and alfresco gathering areas at the Island Club include a lakeside fire pit and casual beverage and dining options at the Chat ‘n Chill Tiki Bar and Latitudes Cafe. The nearby Outrigger Center offers a variety of watercraft options available for residents’ use and serves as the departure point for cruises on the community’s two Duffy electric boats for exploring Eagle Lake and Kontiki Island. Naples Reserve also offers homebuyers along Eagle Lake and the mile-long rowing lane the opportunity for a personal floating boat dock.

At the lakefront Match Point complex, residents can challenge their neighbors to some friendly competition on five tennis and four pickleball courts. Nearby, the Walk & Wag dog park provides a place for residents and four-legged friends to enjoy together. An additional dog park – Paws Awhile – is also planned, as well as the Kid’s Cove playground area.

Navigating a loop road circling Naples Reserve, the meandering linear park is designed to engage residents within their natural environment and provide an alternative mode of transportation throughout the community, including biking, hiking and jogging.

Naples Reserve offers 18 fully decorated models available for viewing built by Southwest Florida’s premier homebuilders, including Ashton Woods, D.R. Horton, Florida Lifestyle Homes, KTS Homes, Lundstrom Development, Marvin Development, McGarvey Custom Homes and Stock Signature Homes. Homes are priced from the low $300,000s to more than $1 million.

Naples Reserve is located off U.S. 41, 2 miles southeast of the Collier Boulevard/CR 951 intersection and 10 minutes from I-75, Exit 101. Visit the community at 14885 Naples Reserve Circle or online at

About iStar Land & Development:
iStar Land & Development creates unique communities, considering the best use of the land with a focus on future residents. iStar has financed and invested in over $10 billion of residential projects since 1993, making it one of the largest investors in luxury condominium, multifamily and master-planned residential developments in the U.S. Its portfolio has included interests in over 18,000 condominium units in the nation’s top markets, and 65,000 acres in master-planned communities with the potential for an estimated 50,000 single-family and multifamily units. Offering a fully integrated platform, the team includes best-in-class developers, architects, builders, marketers and community liaisons.

About iStar:
iStar (NYSE: STAR) finances, invests in and develops real estate and real estate related projects as part of its fully integrated investment platform. Building on over two decades of experience and more than $40 billion of transactions, iStar brings uncommon capabilities and new ways of thinking to commercial real estate and adapts its investment strategy to changing market conditions. The company is structured as a real estate investment trust, with a diversified portfolio focused on larger assets located in major metropolitan markets. Additional information on iStar is available on its website at

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