Purchase paradise | TheUnion.com

Purchase paradise

Chase international is listing Sierra City's Big Springs Gardens on the market for $3.5 million. The 118-acre parcel contains 30 acres of gardens, with a mixture of native and planted growth and a 2,764-square-foot home with a classic hipped roofline and high clerestory windows, set on a sprawling lawn at the edge of a pond.

"Everyone who comes to visit tells us that they find an incredible sense of peace here," owner Don Phillips said. "It renews your spirit and allows you to leave the turmoil of the world behind."

The old European-style home on the property was built in 1991 and designed by San Francisco-based architect Jim Babcock. The Sierra Buttes can be seen from the front porch, the lawn and the many west-facing windows in the home.

The home is also equipped with a stone fireplace; wrap-around porch; croquet lawn that stretches toward a 1-acre pond; swimming pool; and upgraded appliances such as a Viking range, a Sub-Zero fridge and a bridge across the second floor connecting master suites.

"All that was needed to create Big Springs Gardens was essentially here," Phillips said. "The forest, the rich soil, the clay to hold the pond, the natural spring to feed it, a waterfall just downstream. All the makings of a park-like setting existed."

Big Springs Gardens also has easy access to golf, as there are many courses nearby in Graeagle, Gold Mountain and White Hawk. Fishing and outdoor recreation is out back, as the Gold Lakes area is just a short drive up Highway 49.

More than two miles of trails take hikers past several gardens and lead to a natural artesian spring that flows through the grounds into a pond and eventually to a waterfall on Highway 49. This artesian spring gives the place its name.

After Phillips built the home, and installed the pond and Monet-at-Giverny replica footbridge, he methodically planted thousands of flowers, shrubs and trees and opened the property for the public to enjoy in 2002. The space currently operates during the summer months as a destination for hikers, birders, photographers, plant lovers and artists, as well as a venue for special occasions.

Big Springs Gardens also has an on-site restaurant serving lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday, on a terrace surrounded by flowering cosmos, irises and rhododendron.

"This incredible estate has so many possibilities," listing realtor Alison Elder said. "Its new owners, I'm sure, will cherish and love this property. It's no wonder that it took 50 years to create such an oasis. A visit to Big Springs Gardens is an astounding experience."

For more information go to http://www.BigSpringsGardensForSale.com.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.