Rancho Del Sol (now the site of Pacific Highlands Ranch), was largely used for agricultural use prior to suburbanization. It was largely made up of tomato and strawberry farms, as well as plant nurseries.
The residential development of Pacific Highlands Ranch was approved by the City of San Diego in 1998, in which the majority of the community is being developed by Pardee Homes and the majority of the community has been developed in the 2000s.
Pacific Highlands Ranch, is comprised of over 30 neighborhoods that offer everything from townhouses to gated luxury residences. The community is bordered to the north by Del Mar Country Club and Rancho Santa Fe Lakes, to the south by Deer Canyon and Santa Monica Ridge to the west by Carmel Valley and to the east by Torrey Highlands.
PHR encompasses a total of 2,650 acres, almost half of Pacific Highlands Ranch has been preserved as open space that incorporates miles of interconnected pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian trails.
There are many well layed out neighborhood parks incorporated nicely within and around the developments. There are also many resort-like facilities that include West Highland Pacific Recreational Center, The Club at Lopelia Meadows and Solterra Swim Club.
There are mostly single family residences of which five are gated.