Along Sugarland Run’s fountain-equipped Willow Lake are some of the development’s townhouses and its community center. (Cheryl A. Kenny )

Dianna and Karl Acorda were so eager to buy their home in Sterling’s Sugarland Run that they spent part of their wedding day making it happen.

“We needed to get the lender a copy of our marriage certificate,” said Dianna Acorda, 47, an information systems professional. “So, between the wedding ceremony and the reception, we went to my office — me in my wedding gown and Karl in his tux — and faxed them a copy.”

With that closing contingency met, the day after their 1994 wedding, instead of leaving on a honeymoon, the couple moved into their 1974 “Laguna” home, one of several models available in what a 1971 brochure described as the “with-it” community. The planned community, which features ranch-style architecture, has 1,027 single-family homes, 785 townhouses and 250 townhouse condominiums.

“In a lot of homes, you open the door and are greeted with stairs or walls,” said Karl Acorda, 46, who was then in sales but is now a realty agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties and vice president of the Sugarland Run HOA. In the Laguna-style house, he said, “you can see from one end of the house to the other. They’re open, with vaulted ceilings and family gathering places.”

Although the couple liked the California-inspired houses on quarter-acre lots, community character was the major draw. “We liked that it’s a distinct, enclosed community, and that we would be protected from the sprawl we knew was coming on Route 7,” said Dianna Acorda, who heads the neighborhood watch program. Acorda also counted the community’s mature trees, 26 miles of paved trails, 19 tot lots, tennis and volleyball courts, ball fields, a renovated community center, and a family-friendly “look out for each other” spirit as among features that have made Sugarland Run an ideal place for her children, now 12 and 16.

Sugarland Run (Gene Thorp/The Washington Post)

Water features: “We have one of the largest outdoor pools in Loudoun County,” Acorda said. “Two years ago, members of the U.S. Olympic swim team came here to use the pool for a weekend.”

Also, the six-acre man-made Willow Lake features a lighted fountain and is ringed by walking trails and many of the community’s townhomes. Non-motorized boats are allowed, and the lake is stocked with fish; a fishing tournament is scheduled for June.

The renovated community center, sitting lakeside and adjacent to the pool and a playground, is the community hub where neighbors meet. Social activities ranging from game nights to holiday parties are held there.

Association dues: The Sugarland Run HOA, which covers all residents, has monthly dues of $55.76, which include pool membership, recreational amenities and common-area maintenance; its volunteer committees organize social activities. There are additional HOAs (with additional dues) for townhouse and townhouse-condo owners.

Shopping and recreation: Shopping centers line Sterling’s busy Route 7, and a small, local center sits just outside the neighborhood. Twelve miles west is Leesburg’s outlet mall; 12 miles east is Tysons Corner. Within 10 minutes are Claude Moore Farm and Algonkian Regional Park, with boat access to the Potomac River.

Public transportation: Virginia Regional Transit offers express bus service from points in Loudoun County to the West Falls Church Metro station, as well as local service within Sterling. Loudoun County Transit offers commuter buses to Rosslyn, the Pentagon and Washington.

Boundaries: Roughly, Algonkian Parkway to the north, Sugarland Run Creek to the east, Route 7 to the south and Potomac View Road to the west. Some small subdivisions that are not part of the planned community also lie within that area.)

Schools: Meadowland and Sugarland Elementary, Seneca Ridge Middle, and Dominion High. The high school is also home to Loudoun County’s Academy of Science program.

“The principal of Dominion, Dr. John Brewer, is amazing. He has a tradition of visiting new students and rising freshmen at their homes to welcome them to ‘Titan Territory,’ ” Dianna Acorda said.

Crime: According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department, in 2012 there were 11 burglaries, eight robberies and seven aggravated assaults in the neighborhood.

Living there: The recent recession led to numerous foreclosures in the neighborhood, but in the past 12 months the average sales price for single-family homes rose nearly 17 percent, Acorda said. Townhouse prices rose, too, by 9.6 percent.

Between March 2012 and March 2013, 53 single-family homes sold, at prices ranging from $249,900 to $384,900, and 36 townhomes sold for between $184,900 and $259,900, according to Acorda. Currently, three single-family homes are on the market, priced from $365,000 to $385,000, and four townhomes, from $231,000 to $269,900.

Cheryl A. Kenny is a freelance writer.