When you pull into the entrance of your HOA community, are you impressed enough to slow down?
If you were in the market for a high-end home, would you pull in for a closer look, or keep driving to that other nice place across town?
Curb appeal matters. That means landscaping enhancements that impress.
Wayne Taylor, Level Green Landscaping branch manager, shares the best enhancements for community associations looking to boost their curb appeal.
1. Fantastic Flowers
“It’s all about the flower show,” Taylor says. “That really makes a community stand out among the rest.”
Some HOA boards are tempted to cut costs by scaling back on flowers, he says. Don’t do it.
“More than anything, flowers really make a difference,” he says.
Go beyond basic blooms, Taylor says.
“There are basic flowers like begonias, vinca, and petunias, but within those types there are lots of different varieties, and some are bigger, better, and more colorful,” he says.
“You get bigger, better flowers if you invest a little more,” Taylor says. “Some begonias will grow to 3 feet tall. For the best impact, the bigger and more colorful the better.”
Where to add the wow? Main entrances and common areas are the two places people notice the most.
Think bright, cheerful spring bulbs, followed by striking purple and pink petunias in the summer.
Include plants that have impact in fall and winter, too. Pretty pansies, violas and panolas — a cross between the two — are a fall color staple, available in a rainbow of colors.
Dwarf Nandina ‘Gulf Stream’ is a hardy evergreen that offers year-round interest, bright red new growth and red foliage in the fall.
Evergreens, graceful ornamental grasses and shrubs with unique forms offer winter interest when the flower show takes a break.
Don’t forget to look up. Big, bountiful flower baskets hanging from your street lamps is an attention-getting HOA landscaping enhancement.
“We have our grower get them started in the greenhouse,” Taylor says, “so by the time we put them up, they’re already big and full.”
2. Terrific Turf
Next to flowers, a healthy, thriving lawn is a Taylor curb appeal favorite. (A good turf program isn’t exactly considered an enhancement, but we’re cheating a little here and giving it a plug.)
“A really good turf program with nice mowing patterns shows you’re really investing in the place,” Taylor says. “Flowers and turf are the big things people notice.”
That means don’t skimp on any of the great lawn basics: fertilizer, weed control, proper irrigation, and occasional aeration so your grass can breathe. And get your soil pH tested to make sure that fertilizer can actually do its job.
3. Holiday Lighting
HOA residents want cozy, festive, homey touches at the holidays, and that means classic white lights at the entrance.
Wrapping trees with lights offers a stunning light show. You can practically see them from the North Pole. They look special and magical. And the higher they’re wrapped, the better.
Level Green crews have big ladders and heavy equipment to get 15 or 20 feet up on large trees for wrapped trees that offer huge curb appeal.
4. Rejuvenation Pruning
This HOA landscaping enhancement isn’t as flashy as flowers or as magical as holiday lights, but proper, timely pruning can do wonders for your HOA curb appeal.
Rejuvenation pruning is the removal of old, overgrown limbs so that your shrubs can grow new, vigorous branches in their place.
Timing and technique are everything here.
When flowering Abelia shrubs are sheared back too much, or at the wrong time, they won’t bloom, Taylor says.
“They have these big, beautiful flower displays,” he says, “and proper pruning will actually give you more flowers.” (Remember, flowers = curb appeal.)
Winter is a great time to prune, when your trees and shrubs are dormant. When we head out with the pruning shears to shape and thin, we won’t do as much damage as we would by pruning in their prime growing months.
(We’re talking about curb appeal here, but it’s worth noting trees and shrubs that get too overgrown and gangly can snag pedestrians, obscure your signage, and block your lighting.)
5. Don’t Ignore Drainage
Here’s another not-so-exciting HOA landscaping enhancement, but trust us, bad drainage can kill your curb appeal.
A sloping property can encourage water to pool in low areas, which can cause flooding.
Raise your hand if you want a soggy property. Nobody? We didn’t think so.
There are lots of solutions:
- Installing river rock can help direct the water.
- Plant slopes with a terraced system of native plants and groundcovers to break up the slope and slow down water and soil.
- Consider a rain garden of deep-rooted native plants and grasses in a low area of your HOA property to encourage storm water to soak slowly into the ground.
6. Portering, Please
Portering is a nice way to describe removing unsightly trash from your HOA property. It’s one of the best enhancements for community associations when it comes to curb appeal.
The greenest lawn and most vibrant flower beds are spoiled by wayward candy wrappers and ratty plastic shopping bags.
Level Green crews can visit your HOA property once or twice a week year-round to clear ugly trash and keep your property looking neat and tidy.
Portering includes tasks nobody likes to do, but if nobody does them, your curb appeal takes a real dive.
We’re talking about emptying dog waste stations and replacing waste bags. Portering crews can empty public trash cans, too, and replace liners.
Why HOA Landscaping Enhancements Matter
“People are concerned about the value of their homes,” Taylor says. “When you have great curb appeal, it not only maintains the value of your home, it increases it.
“That feeling people get when they first enter a community is so important,” he says. “If things don’t look right, they may not know why they don’t like the place, they just know they don’t like it.”
Trust Your HOA Landscaping Enhancements to Level Green
Next time you’re driving through your HOA neighborhood, take a good look around.
What landscaping improvements would make it even better?
Need a second set of eyes to offer some curb appeal pro tips? Give us a call.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you.