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Benefits of Living Near Natural Beauty, Parks, Trails, and Other Green Spaces

parks, trails, & green spaces

Whether it’s biking, running, or walking the dog, spending active time outdoors is good for your health and happiness. But these activities require a significant amount of space. This is one of many reasons why living by nature can be a huge benefit if you love an active lifestyle.

Having access to true outdoor green spaces is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and that’s exactly what we provide at Lilyana by Hillwood. Here are some of the key benefits of living near a park, trail, or other green space.

Improved Mental Health

According to a recent study, spending regular time outdoors is linked with better mental wellbeing and happiness. This could be due to a number of reasons, including additional fresh air, added socialization, or better exercise. Living in natural beauty is relaxing and peaceful and provides a much-needed respite from the stress of daily life.

Cleaner Air

City planners know the importance of parks in urban areas. They give city dwellers a little slice of nature to enjoy. Even more important, the trees and other plants found in urban green spaces produce oxygen that we require for life and clean the air of carbon dioxide. Without parks and natural areas, life could not exist.

Better Physical Fitness

If you need a nudge on your fitness journey, living near a green space is a wonderful way to get just that. It’s hard to stay motivated when you only see grey concrete outside of your window, but with green spaces, it’s nearly impossible to stay inside. Parks and trails provide a beautiful and convenient reason to get outside and get active. With lovely views, interesting wildlife, and safe design, trails provide a built-in gym for those who live nearby. In fact, studies have shown a correlation between living near green spaces and physical fitness. Some researchers even believe living around nature could even make you live longer. If it doesn’t, it can certainly make your life more beautiful and enjoyable.

Natural Beauty Abounds at Lilyana

So why are parks important to the community? Because they are beautiful, they enhance property values, and they encourage us to get moving, engage with others in the community and enjoy nature. The benefits of green space in communities are numerous, so Hillwood incorporated them into all master-planned communities including Lilyana. Take a look at the amenities our residents enjoy including pocket parks, trails, ponds, and much more.

Lilyana has countless trails for your evening walks or daily runs, a pond for some catch-and-release fishing, an outdoor entertainment area, and more. In addition to these great amenities, our newest amenity, Bluebonnet Park, is coming soon. This pocket park will include a covered pavilion, gas grills, bocce ball and sport courts, and a children’s play area for residents of all ages to enjoy.

Contact Us

Now that you know the countless benefits of parks in communities, your healthy, happy, nature-filled life awaits you at Lilyana, located in Celina, TX within Prosper ISD. If you are ready to learn more about our community just north of the DFW Metroplex in North Texas, take a virtual tour, visit our website, or get in touch today!

4 Reasons to Love Living in Prosper ISD

School girls studying

Whether you’re looking to buy a starter home or need to move to a larger home for your growing family, location is a huge consideration. While you may be thinking about proximity to work, entertainment, and shopping, don’t forget to investigate the area’s schools. Fantastic public schools are one reason parents in Prosper, TX and the surrounding areas love living in the Prosper Independent School District.

Prosper ISD Ratings and Rankings

Out of 1,019 school districts evaluated, Prosper sits high on the charts as the 14th best district in Texas. As such, Prosper ISD school ratings consistently go above and beyond the average. Across Prosper ISD’s 12 elementary schools, four middle schools, and two high schools, the district received an A rating by the Texas Education Agency’s accountability system in 2019. This means that Prosper schools met the top performance targets for student achievement, school progress and “closing the gaps” for Texas schools, based upon testing results from every student enrolled.

Prosper Test Scores Rank in Top 5% for Texas

Prosper ISD’s mission is to prepare students so they can graduate excited, inspired, and prepared to succeed in the rapidly changing environment of higher education and the working world. This mission helps teachers motivate students to achieve 10/10 rankings on tests, placing Prosper schools’ ratings and test scores in the top 5% in the state.

Prosper ISD Rating: Top in Reading and Math Proficiency

Two specific areas in which students in Prosper, TX schools excel are reading and math proficiency—with average scores in the top 5% and 1%, respectively. When it comes to college preparedness, math and reading skills are important building blocks to understanding a large majority of university curricula. If a student has a firm grasp on math and reading, they will have much more flexibility in their future educational and career paths.

Prosper Schools Are More Diverse Than Similar Rural School Districts

Diversity is an important consideration for many young families as they search for a home in a new community. Prosper Independent School District is located in a community with a more diverse population than many other areas of north Texas. Minority enrollment in the Prosper Independent School District accounts for over 43% of the student population.

Students at Prosper schools are taught diversity and inclusion from an early age. Starting in pre-K, students begin learning competencies in interpersonal effectiveness, including:

  • Positive student self-concept
  • Effective interactions with diverse populations
  • Effective and appropriate communication
  • Recognition of personal boundaries, individual rights, and privacy needs of others
  • Effective conflict resolution

Those who choose a home in the Prosper Independent School District can be assured that their children’s schools will reflect our diverse world.

Prosper School District Rating: Top 1% in Graduation Rate

Across the state, the average graduation rate of Texas high schools is 90%. The Prosper school district, however, ranks in the top 1% of the state, with a graduation rate of 99.1%. Studies have shown that more rigorous academic programs tend to have higher graduation rates and lower dropout rates.

Earning a high school diploma has shown to have positive effects that last throughout life. Students who graduate from high school have higher self-esteem, earn a better living, and tend to have a greater quality of life overall.

Master-Planned Community in Prosper ISD

Now, if you’re looking for the best community for relocation within the north Texas and DFW area, look no further than Lilyana by Hillwood. Situated in Celina, TX, just outside Frisco and Plano, homes in Lilyana provide the best of both worlds—proximity to shopping, entertainment, work, and top-tier schools in Prosper ISD. Texas students living in Lilyana attend Johnson Elementary School, Rogers Middle School, and Prosper High School, giving them the opportunity to attend the acclaimed Prosper Independent School District.

In the near future, a Prosper ISD elementary school will be built within the Lilyana community, allowing the neighborhood’s youngest students to walk or bike to school.

Learn more about making your relocation dreams a reality with Lilyana by Hillwood virtual tours, or get in touch with us to discuss your options.

Moving to Celina-Celina City Guide

town square in Illinois

Thinking of moving to Celina, TX? Congratulations! This thriving little town near Dallas-Fort Worth is a great place to live. Learn the answers to your most pressing questions: Is Celina, TX a good place to live? What is Celina, TX’s crime rate? What are some fun things to do in Celina, TX? Small town charm with the big city a short drive away is just one of the many reasons you’ll love this town. Our Celina city guide includes information on what you can do for fun in Celina, and other important details that you will want to know.

One of the Fastest Growing Cities in DFW

It’s no surprise that Celina, TX is one of the fastest-growing cities in DFW. Celina’s growth can be attributed to its convenient location to top employers, thriving business park, top schools, and low crime rate. The Celina, TX crime rate is well below the national average and rated an “A+” by areavibes.com. Both violent crimes and property crimes are approximately 70% below the national average, which makes Celina a very safe place to live. These are just a couple of reasons that make Celina appealing to people looking to invest in meaningful place to call home.

Where is Celina, TX

Where is Celina, Texas located? This growing city of just over 23,000 is located up the road from Prosper, about 13 miles north of Frisco and 17 miles northwest of McKinney. Celina, Texas is 33 miles, or 40 minutes north of Plano and 42 miles, or about 50 minutes north of Dallas. Celina is located in both Denton and Collin counties.

Cost of Living in Celina

According to payscale.com, the cost of living in Celina, TX is 19% lower than the national average. When it comes to housing, utilities, and transportation, Celina just about matches the national average with the exception of housing costs, which are about 18% lower than the average. Food and grocery prices are 11% lower than the national average, whereas healthcare costs are 2% higher than the national average.

What to Do in Celina

You will not run out of fun things to do in and around Celina, TX. Celina’s historic town square offers a variety of wonderful restaurants and unique shops. Nearby cities also have historic downtown areas with shopping markets, seasonal festivals, restaurants, music venues and incredible outdoor space to roam. Places like Hope Park and Arcade 92 are perfect for all ages, young and old! You won’t believe how much fun Celina offers until you see it for yourself.

Four Fun Activities in Celina, TX

  1. Hope Park
    This park is amazing for all children, no matter what their abilities are. It’s an all-inclusive fun land that has playground equipment, splashpads, climbing walls, and a host of developmental play themed areas for all ages to enjoy.
  2. Arcade 92
    Arcade 92 is a place to eat and let your hair down, so to speak. It’s family-friendly but also a popular place to enjoy happy hour or plan a party to celebrate a special occasion. There are games galore, including pinball, retro video games, and the ever-popular gaming lounge.
  3. Historic Downtown McKinney
    Shop, dine, and enjoy is the motto of Historic McKinney, and there are a million reasons why. From fine dining restaurants, chic pubs to local coffee shops and bakeries, McKinney has it all! Cities near McKinney, TX are host to popular events and festivals that are unique to the area and will quickly become a favored tradition.
  4. Frisco Fresh Market
    This popular hot spot offers a year-round farmer’s market that is open, rain or shine. Locally harvested and carefully prepared foods are sold here amongst live music, in-person demonstrations, and special events. This family (and pet) friendly destination offers up to 100 vendors and is home to a wide variety of goods for sale. Typically, cities near Frisco, TX, like Celina, are considered neighbors and are welcomed as part of their community as well.

Celina, TX is a Great Place to Call Home

These are just a few of the attractions Celina, TX offers its residents. The friendly town also eagerly welcomes newcomers, so it’s just the kind of place you can call home. Still not sure if living in Celina, TX is right for you? If you need more encouragement, contact us today. Or better yet, drive on over for a visit, take a look at our homes, and see for yourself all the reasons this up and coming city is so appealing!

Things To Do and See In McKinney, TX

Local Businesses

Whether you’re new to the area or are a native Texan, if you’ve never explored the many fun things to do in McKinney, you are in for a treat. There’s a lot going on in this Collin County town that is home to more than two hundred thousand people. Take a look at all this historic town has to offer. Our collection of fun stuff to do in McKinney includes something for everyone!

Things to Do in McKinney

Wondering what to do near McKinney, TX? You’ll find a variety of activities for all ages. McKinney is a historic town that offers art galleries, live performances, outdoor recreation, shopping, great dining, and nightlife.

Explore McKinney’s History

McKinney was founded in 1848 as the county seat for the newly created Collin County. Visitors can learn more about the area’s history at the Collin County History Museum which is located in the historic 1911 post office building.

Just a five minute walk away is the Chestnut Square Historic Village which houses many historic buildings and is home to the 1854 Faires House, known as the oldest house in McKinney. The 501(c) (3) non-profit Heritage Guild of Collin County operates the village and offers tours of the village, larger city tours, and community farm tours. The guild also hosts a Saturday Farmer’s Market at the village and puts on various fun events such as family workshops, holiday tours, murder mystery dinners, ghost walks, and much more!

Visit Downtown McKinney

McKinney’s historic downtown square is a lovely marriage of historic architecture and modern commerce. The centerpiece of the square is the majestic old Collin County courthouse which was thought to be the tallest building north of San Antonio when it was completed in 1875. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour of McKinney’s downtown historic district. Guided and trolley tours are also available.

Downtown McKinney is home to more than 100 businesses. Browse for antiques, books, clothing, jewelry, and art. Stop in for a relaxing spa treatment, a fresh baked treat, a coffee or a gourmet meal. Even geocaching enthusiasts will find treasure hunts to enjoy.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation in McKinney

Some of the best things to do in McKinney, TX involve outdoor activities. Here are a few examples of great places to visit in McKinney, TX when you are feeling active and ready to burn off some energy.

Towne Lake Recreational Area is maintained by McKinney Parks & Recreation and offers activities for all ages including paddle boating on the lake, a fishing pier, a disc golf course, volleyball and horseshoe courts, and baseball fields. There is also a recreation center with a gym, a weight room, an outdoor play structure, a nature trail, and a multi-purpose rec room where programs and classes are held. Contact the rec center for more information on programs and hours of operation and any restrictions due to COVID-19.
Another outdoor option is Erwin Park, a beautiful 110-acre suburban park in North McKinney. There are swings, picnic areas with grills, overnight camping, 3 pavilions, and a 9.5-mile natural-surface trail for hiking and mountain biking.

Visit a Brewery or Vintner

If you are a fan of adult beverages, you’re in luck. You may find the local breweries and wineries to be among your favorite places to visit in McKinney, TX. Franconia Brewing Company produces Bavarian-style beers using traditional German methods. This environmentally-friendly brewer offers weekend tours with tastings. Tupps Brewery is located on the premises of an old cotton mill. Though they are not currently offering brewery tours, the taproom is open.

Wine lovers wishing to try a new varietal have two places to go in McKinney, both located in the historic downtown area. Lone Star Wine Cellars offers food and wine pairings, flight tastings and live music. Landon Winery offers their award-winning wines along with appetizers. You can enjoy them on site at their location or take anything with you to enjoy at home.

Places to Go in McKinney

If you’re looking for more exotic things to do around McKinney, read on. How about a thrilling high-altitude adventure or an all-natural experience? Here are a few more exciting places to visit in McKinney, TX.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the coolest places to go in McKinney, TX is up! Yes, you read that right! Rohr balloons offers hot air balloon rides year-round on weekdays and weekends. Rides can accommodate large groups, you can arrange a private ride for two, three or four passengers, or you can book a shared ride. Free digital photos and video are included with each flight. Special options such as tethered flights, proposal packages, and wedding packages are also available.

Heard Wildlife Museum

One of the best things to do with kids in McKinney is to visit the Heard Wildlife Museum. This 289-acre nature preserve and museum has been connecting people and nature for more than fifty years. Heard is a wildlife sanctuary with an amazing assortment of wildlife, natural science exhibits, animatronic dinosaurs, miles of nature trails, a native Texas plant and butterfly garden, a ropes course with a zip line and much more. The museum hosts events and programs for kids and adults throughout the year such as night time hikes, summer and break camps, and Halloween and holiday themed events.

Events Near McKinney, TX

The greater North Texas area is home to so many great things to see and do, there’s no wonder it’s growing by leaps and bounds. That’s one reason so many families are buying new homes in Celina, just minutes away from all fun things to do in McKinney. In addition to all the attractions we’ve reviewed above, our area hosts some wonderful seasonal festivals that offer additional excitement for residents and visitors alike.

Some examples of the wonderful events near McKinney, TX include the following:

Arts in Bloom in Historic Downtown McKinney. For this April festival, more than 100 artists set up on the streets surrounding the performing arts center in downtown. The festival includes fine arts, dance, performance art, music, food vendors, Texas wineries, and more!

Red, White and BOOM! This July 4th celebration offers free fireworks, entertainment, and family activities.

McKinney Oktoberfest. Held in late September/early October, this festival features local breweries, food trucks, and live entertainment.

Home for the Holidays, a McKinney Christmas. Celebrate the season in historic downtown McKinney with Santa Claus, a Christmas carousel, family activities, an art market, and much more.

We hope you find a few things to try amongst all these McKinney, TX things to do! When you are ready to explore master-planned residential communities in North Texas, get in touch with us at Lilyana by Hillwood.

4 Ways Owning a Home is so Different from Renting

Young Couple dreaming new house

Are you thinking of finally moving out of your rental and taking the plunge into the homeownership pool? It’s a tough decision to make and there are many factors to consider when you’re going from renting to owning. It can be tough to get the process started and fully know what to expect.

Whether you’re preparing to close on a home, or you’re just learning about down payment percentages, the differences between renting and owning are vast, especially when moving from a small apartment to a house with multiple floors.

If you’re ready to set off on the path to homeownership, here are some major differences between renting and owning that you can expect after you purchase your first home.

1. Expenses

Before moving from an apartment to a house, it’s a good idea to go over your finances. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much do I/we currently have saved?
  • How much more are we willing to pay per month/year for a place to call home?
  • Do I/we have steady employment?
  • What is my/our credit score?

Once you feel comfortable with the answers to these questions, you can map out the additional expenses that come with homeownership.

Renting seems simple enough, right? Each month, you pay rent, utilities, and in some cases, parking. Your landlord is responsible for any maintenance and repairs that take place during your lease.

Owning a home is much different. When you’re going from renting to owning, consider these additional expenses:

  • Down Payment
  • Mortgage
  • Property Tax
  • Interest
  • Mortgage Insurance
  • Homeowners Association Fees (HOA)

Not to mention, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs, as well as ALL utilities.

First thing’s first. Talk to a mortgage lender about getting pre-approved. Once you understand the financial difference between buying and renting a house, the loan amount you are allowed to borrow, and what the current interest rates are in today’s housing market, you’ll feel more confident making this big decision.

2. Maintenance

If you’re a self-proclaimed DIY-er (thank you, HGTV, for making us all feel like we can be!), this point shouldn’t affect your decision too much. That being said, before you get too excited about buying a home, consider the fact that when going from renting to owning, you, as the homeowner, will be responsible for any maintenance the house might need.

Renters often take for granted the luxury of not being expected to pay for repairs and maintenance. This isn’t the case with homeownership. One major difference between buying and renting a house is the maintenance that comes with it. Before you buy, think about all of the time, money, and energy you are going to put into:

However, there is one huge positive to take away from this. As a homeowner, you can do whatever you want to your space. From paint, to design, to fixtures, etc., you don’t have to run your ideas by a landlord before making a change. Better yet, buying a home in our Lilyana community makes adding upgrades and personal touches easy as pie.

You can take a virtual tour of available homes and preview floor plans to get a sense of all of the design possibilities. Lilyana homes are built to reflect the tranquility and convenience of the community and our expert realtors have made it easy to tour the home of your dreams wherever you are. Find out more about Lilyana and all of the great things you can expect when you call Lilyana home.

3. Stability

Although you may be a seasoned renter by now, there is always uncertainty with living in a home or apartment you do not own.

Moving from an apartment to a house can make you and your family feel more settled. Instead of always signing a new lease or researching a new place to stay. Why not plan to plant roots (metaphorically and literally) for a lifetime?

You and your family can feel freer knowing you don’t have neighbors living directly above, below, or next to you. Your kids can use the yard as their own playground while you host family and friends for a cookout. Have you waited all this time while renting to own a pet? Becoming a homeowner allows you to finally give an animal the loving home it deserves!

Doesn’t that sound ideal?

As a renter, you can’t predict if your landlord will sell the building or increase rent payments. Homeownership takes away that unknown! 

4. Lifestyle

For many people, being able to live out the American Dream, means owning a home. The difference between renting and owning comes with pride-of-ownership and a permanent place to call home.

(It also comes with not having to lug groceries up flights of stairs or into elevators!)

Moving into a new community allows you and your family to explore your surroundings, make connections with neighbors, and really become one with your city.

Have you considered moving to a master-planned community? At Hillwood, we pride ourselves on building and creating communities that are anything but cookie-cutter, just like our homes at Lilyana.

Owning a home in our Lilyana community means comfort, tranquility, convenience, and much more. The homes in this conveniently-located community (just 10 miles north of Frisco!), are affordable and provide all of the amenities you and your family desire.

Now that you’ve read through some of our thoughts on homeownership, we hope you feel inspired to take the first, however small, step towards your forever home.