Getting back to nature at Ecco Ripley

Date: 16 November 2021

Ripley is a region full of rich landscapes, abundant green space and natural rugged parklands, and is surrounded by one of the most productive farmland regions in the country.

Satoyama — the Japanese concept of ‘ribbons of green’ — fosters the connection between people and nature. It’s this concept that has guided the creation of Ecco Ripley and promotes healthy living for its residents. It encourages conservation, education and an immersion in natural surroundings.

At its heart, Satoyama focuses on the idea that both humans and the environment can exist alongside and benefit from one another, when properly managed. Central to Sekisui House’s design principles is its commitment to forging a strong relationship between humanity and nature, which can be seen throughout aspects of the planning and design of its communities, and in particular, Ecco Ripley.

Satoyama, a brief history

Satoyama — derived from the Japanese words for village (‘sato’) and mountain (‘yama’) — is a term used in Japanese culture to describe the area between a village and mountain where there is an interface between nature and people. In Satoyama, there are fields to grow rice and vegetables, natural playgrounds to explore and forests that provide firewood and timber. Natural ecosystems are maintained, and creeks are used to irrigate fields surrounding the village. Over time, the Satoyama area is carefully managed to support village life.

Satoyama at Ecco Ripley

The guiding principle of Satoyama can be seen, and felt, right across the Ecco Ripley community. More than 10 hectares of award-winning parklands and green open space provide endless opportunities for residents, and visitors alike, to connect with each other and with nature. In fact, our Ecco Ripley parks — including Faye Carr Park, Brooking Parklands, Pebbles Park and Spear Lily Park — account for more than 20 per cent of the entire development, with most homes in the community no more than 400 metres away. From tiny tots to teenagers and adults, these valuable outdoor spaces have proved to be a popular destination for the local and wider community, particularly the walking tracks, cycle paths, playgrounds and dog park.

The ‘Gohon no ki’ (‘five trees’) landscaping concept, which incorporates Satoyama design, has also been considered throughout Ecco Ripley. It aims to create gardens with native tree species that are suited to the local climate and to increase green coverage throughout the community. In Spear Lily Park for example, the native Spear Lily plant, which is commonly used as a food source for Indigenous Australians, features heavily throughout the park as part of an Indigenous tucker trail. Shady areas throughout the park also provide unique vista points with views out towards the Flingers Rangers landscape. Sekisui House has planted more than 15 million trees across its locations around the globe, including more than 500,000 trees, shrubs and ground coverings at Ecco Ripley and Ripley Town Centre to date.

Ecco Ripley’s detention basin is another natural area conserved within the estate. While its primary purpose is for the collection of stormwater run-off, it also doubles as a recreational space that residents can enjoy, with a dedicated walking path through its centre. Native trees and shrubs have been planted throughout the basin, and will become habitat for wildlife once fully grown.

Satoyama also guides many of our regular community events that celebrate the outdoors way of life, and promote health and wellbeing in nature, from outdoor bootcamps and Family Fun Days to Little Day Out as part of SPARK Ipswich, which incorporates sustainability and nature play workshops. Ecco Ripley’s free outdoor playgroup, in particular, engages children’s senses, and sparks imagination and creativity while connecting with nature. Hosted by Flourish Children’s Collective, the playgroup teaches kids about native flora and fauna, and allows them to have fun with sensory art, a mud kitchen and loose nature parts however they choose.

Keep an eye on our ‘What’s On’ page for upcoming events for you and your family to connect with nature at Ecco Ripley: