Remember when you decided being on your HOA landscaping committee sounded like fun?

Flowers! Green spaces! Pondering cool amenities like walking trails and dog parks! 

But when you’re an HOA board member, let’s face it — landscaping can be kind of stressful.

You want your community to look great, feel welcoming, and attract new buyers. You want to protect your property value. You know landscaping plays a huge part.

But how do you know what HOA landscaping services you really need? How do you find a dependable HOA landscaping company in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia that won’t let you down? What to do about that lady who wants to plant 30 hydrangea shrubs in her front yard? 

Relax. Sure, HOA landscaping has its share of challenges

Head outside, wiggle your toes in the grass, and check out these stress-saving strategies for HOA Landscaping success

Table of Contents

Communication is Crucial

You want to be in the know about what’s happening out there with your HOA landscaping. 

HubSpot Video

Ask potential HOA landscaping companies about these key points:

Who Are the Key Communicators?

Hint: It can’t be everybody. When everybody wants to talk to everybody, it’s chaos. 

Imagine a hundred different HOA residents calling the landscaping company account manager to ask if crews can prune their shrubs, when they’ll be mowing, or if new perennials will be installed.


account manager and homeowner tour property

The best strategy is to focus on communication between the HOA landscape maintenance company and the HOA property manager. 
Then the property manager can keep the HOA board and residents informed.

When the property manager communicates with HOA residents, so they know exactly what the HOA landscapers are responsible for and what they’re not, that prevents a lot of confusion.

Will Your HOA Landscaping Company Attend Your Board Meetings?

They should. It’s a great chance to field questions from board members, give seasonal updates on their work, and forge a friendly working relationship that keeps everybody happy.

How Will They Keep You Updated?

You want to know what’s going on out there. Does your HOA landscaping company have a plan in place to update you on their work?

Level Green’s digital property service reports detail exactly what services were performed when on HOA properties.

hoa sign with plantings

Were flower beds weeded? Trees pruned? Mulch delivered? Irrigation checked?

There’s no mystery — it’s all outlined for the HOA property manager, in a snap. It might include a photo, too. HOA landscape maintenance crews might point out a hole they discovered that should be filled in so nobody twists their ankle.

These instant updates keep communication flowing.

Be sure to hire a Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia HOA landscaping company with a strong communication plan.

Safety First

Safety is important on any property, but as an HOA board member, you have extra concerns. 

Pedestrians are strolling the sidewalks. Kids are playing in driveways. Prospective buyers are checking out neighborhoods with an eagle eye.

As landscaping crews mow, trim, and maneuver trucks throughout your Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia HOA community, are they being safe? 

Ask your HOA landscapers about their safety measures

landscape maintenance team trimming shrubs

What precautions should HOA landscapers take? Here’s a look:

  • Before they pick up a shovel or fire up a trimmer, crews should inspect your HOA property, looking for any rocks, pipes, or wire on the ground, or anything that could interfere with their work or pose a hazard.
  • They should check for any irrigation heads or pipes and mark them with a flag, so the mowers don’t hit them.
  • HOA landscape maintenance crews should place safety cones around their parked trucks as a reminder to thoroughly check the area before driving away.
  • Each vehicle should have first aid kits and fire extinguishers on board.
  • Personal protection equipment for each crew member should include earplugs, safety glasses and dust masks. Bright, high-visibility vests and company shirts should add to visibility and safety.
  • Crews should go beyond mowing, trimming, and pruning and look for potential dangers, from a tree stump that may cause someone to trip to hazards on playgrounds to cracked, uneven concrete that needs repair.
  • HOA landscapers should stop power equipment when pedestrians pass.

Your Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia HOA landscaping company should have a comprehensive safety program that includes equipment and safety training and weekly meetings for crews that cover timely safety topics.

Lots of precious people and property make up the community at your HOA. Make sure your HOA landscape maintenance company has protocols in place to keep everybody safe.

Curb Appeal is King

Here’s a fun experiment: drive through your HOA community and see how tempted you are to slow down for a closer look.

If you were in the market for a new home, would anything entice you to hit the brakes?

Fantastic flowers flanking your pretty signage? Tidy yards with thriving lawns? Flowering trees that scent the air

neat landscape at HOA with trees and shrubs

Curb appeal matters.  

Your HOA landscaping company should have lots of great ideas to boost your appeal. 
Here are just a few:

Flowers, Flowers, and More Flowers

You notice them. Everybody notices them. 
Bountiful blooming flowers make your HOA community stand out from the rest.
Think vinca, petunias, lantana, dragon wing begonia, creeping Jenny, coleus and sweet potato vine.

Where to add the wow? Main entrances and common areas are the two places people notice the most. 

Talk to your HOA landscaping company about a seasonal flower rotation schedule that adds vibrant, impressive appeal year-round. 

sign at HOA with flowers and ornamental grasses

Pretty pansies, violas and panolas — a cross between the two — are a fall color staple, available in a rainbow of colors.

Evergreens, graceful ornamental grasses and shrubs with unique forms offer winter interest when the flower show takes a break. They’re great for dressing up your signage, too. 

Add big, bountiful flower baskets hanging from your streetlamps for a wow-worthy detail. 

And consider native plants that add beauty without a lot of fuss.  

Fothergilla major 'Mount Airy' is a pretty native shrub that offers deep blue-green leaves, honey-scented white spring flowers and attractive fall color.

HOA Lawn Maintenance for Terrific Turf

You can’t beat a healthy, thriving lawn for HOA landscaping curb appeal. It’s like a lush, green welcome mat.

A comprehensive turf program to keep your lawn healthy, with those impressive mowing patterns, (everybody loves those) shows you’re really investing in your community. Buyers notice. 

lawn at HOA with trees

That means don’t skimp on any of the great HOA lawn maintenance basics: fertilizer, weed control, proper irrigation, and occasional aeration so your grass can breathe. (More on all this in a minute.)

Have your irrigation system regularly inspected and maintained so lawns stay healthy and thriving and you don’t waste water and money.  

Bring the Sparkle with Festive Holiday Lights

Twinkling white lights at your HOA entrance makes every arrival cozy and festive — even if holiday shopping has you stressed out and feeling Grinch-like.

holiday lights on trees

Wrapping trees with lights offers a stunning light show, for your residents and potential buyers. They look special and magical. And the higher they’re wrapped, the better.
Your HOA landscaping company can get waaay up there, higher — and safer — than that well-meaning homeowner and the ladder from his garage.

Portering to Keep Things Pretty

Your lawns are mowed, your flowers are blooming — but stray candy wrappers and a ratty plastic grocery store bag are blowing around the neighborhood.
So long, curb appeal. 

Portering to the rescue. It’s a nice way to describe removing unsightly trash from your HOA property. 

Have your HOA landscaping company visit your community once or twice a week year-round to clear ugly trash and keep your property looking neat and tidy.

Request a Consultation

Must-Have Services for HOA Landscaping

Quick, see how many HOA landscape maintenance services you can list in 30 seconds.

Time starts now! 

Let’s see…mowing, trimming, edging, fertilizing, weeding…did we already say mowing?

HOA community association landscaping

Not only are there certain key HOA landscaping services, but they’re all on a schedule designed to keep your community’s landscaping thriving.  
So, what are your must-have Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia HOA landscaping services?

You Get to Choose

Every HOA community is different and can have different services in their contract. Some HOAs have crews do all the mowing. Some just have them mow the common areas. (Some ask if we can also clean out garages. Nice try.) 

One HOA might ask for mulch and pruning on individual homes, another might not.

Start with these HOA landscaping guidelines, and you can always tailor the services to fit your needs:

HOA Lawn Care

Weekly mowing is a must. Mowing begins in mid-April and continues through the first week of November.

hoa-community-associations healthy lawn

Other HOA landscaping tasks happen during these mowing visits, too, including trimming and edging.


Weeds. Don’t get us started. Everybody hates weeds. So you’ll want plant beds and tree saucers weeded throughout the growing season to maintain a neat appearance.

This includes pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides as well as hand weeding.

Fertilizer and Weed Control

Your best bet?  four-application fertilization and weed control program as part of your HOA landscaping schedule, with visits spaced out spring through fall.

Don’t Skip Spring Clean-up

Ugh, winter really knows how to make a mess, right? 

You never know when a prospective home buyer might drive by, so make sure your HOA landscape maintenance includes crucial spring clean-up

team carrying branches clean up

HOA landscaping crews remove leaves and debris, pull weeds, and get the community ready for the growing season, including fresh mulch, yay! 

You’ll want two or three clean-up visits in the fall, too, to clear leaves and debris — one visit before Thanksgiving and one before Christmas.

Aeration and Overseeding

This key task pulls out tiny cores of soil from your lawn, allowing water and oxygen to get to the roots. Now, your lawn’s roots can grow nice and deep, producing a lush, healthy carpet of green.

Aeration is usually followed by overseeding, as the holes created by aeration are perfect new homes for that seed.

Rejuvenation Pruning

Sound boring? Not really necessary? 
OK, it’s not as exciting as a truckload of blooming flowers, but rejuvenation pruning is big when it comes to curb appeal. 

maintenance team pruning trimming tree branch

It’s the removal of old, overgrown limbs so that your shrubs can grow new, vigorous branches in their place. 
This is a safety issue, too. Trees and shrubs that get too overgrown and gangly can snag pedestrians, obscure your signage, and block your lighting. None of that is good.

HOA Landscaping: Smart Policies Make Your Job Easier

If you think 5-year-olds ask a lot of questions, they’ve got nothing on HOA residents concerned about their landscaping. 

Can I install a patio out back?
Are fountains allowed?
I want to plant a bamboo hedge — is that OK?
Will there be cookies at the next board meeting?

While HOAs typically hire a landscaping company to care for their common areas, homeowners often tackle their own landscaping, following any HOA landscaping rules.
Do you have the right rules? It’ll save you a lot of hassle. 

Here are five solid HOA landscaping policies to consider:

1. Give Some Guidance

Offer a list of approved plants. Your HOA landscaping will have a more attractive, consistent look if all the homes stick to a similar array of flowers, shrubs, and trees. 

2. Keep Out Potential Clutter

Every neighborhood has that one guy with the lawn furniture he built out of his old high school skateboards, right? Or insert your own HOA eyesore. 

Limit what types of lawn decorations, sculptures, water features, and outdoor furniture are allowed, so things don’t start looking tacky.

3. Have Rules About Hardscape

Hardscape is serious stuff. No big deal to move an offending trash can or relocate some flowerpots, but if a hardscape project goes bad, these landscape additions can get ugly and really hurt your neighborhood’s appeal.
Make sure your HOA landscaping committee requires approval of any hardscape projects.

retaining wall ornamental grass seating area on patio  with boxwood shrub

People might not love this, but ask residents to submit their designs for approval. Many HOAs require that these hardscape projects stick to approved colors and materials.

4. Gardens? It Depends

Gardens are wonderful things, but HOA landscaping committees typically have rules about personal gardens.

Maybe pots of tomatoes are OK in the backyard, but not a big vegetable garden.

Well-tended gardens can be great HOA backyard landscaping additions, but they can start looking straggly fast. Then, once the growing season is over, they lose appeal fast, becoming big expanses of dirt. 

If enough residents are interested, consider a community garden, where green-thumbed neighbors can grow zinnias and zucchini with zeal, and because it’s a common area, you can talk to your landscaping company about including its care in your HOA landscape maintenance contract.

5. Be Clear About Who Does What

This is the source of a lot of confusion, so spell it all out. Make sure your HOA landscaping guidelines includes who’s responsible for what when it comes to landscaping at your community.

What areas do your HOA landscaping company maintain? What’s in your landscaping contract, and what tasks are up to individual homeowners? 

Details, details, details.

HOA Landscaping: What to Do About Rule Breakers

Let’s face it, not every HOA resident loves all the landscaping rules. 

There’s the guy who thinks he should be able to plant whatever he wants. The lady who really, really wants colored mulch. The couple who want to replace their lawn with wildflowers. 

Nope, nope, and nope. Sorry. 

circular island in hoa with plantings

How do you enforce your HOA landscaping rules and regulations without being a jerk?
Check out these suggestions:

Nicely Suggest Everybody Read the Rules

Every HOA has governing documents, also known as CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions) that say what you can and can’t do to your home, including HOA landscaping.

But do all residents read them? Of course, they don’t. They’re not exactly the thing you want to curl up with by the fire. 

Issue a friendly reminder. Residents might be breaking your HOA landscaping policies because they honestly don’t know all the rules.

Have a Friendly Chat

Chat with the offending resident to let them know that weird landscaping project they have going on isn’t cool. Or allowed. That’s your first friendly step.

Next Up: A Written Warning

Still no action? Send a written warning that outlines the HOA landscaping policy violations, including a reasonable deadline for correcting the problem. Be sure to include what will happen, including fines and possible legal action, if they don’t comply. If they comply, problem solved!

Time for an HOA Fine

If the homeowner ignores your written warning about breaking the HOA landscaping guidelines, it’s time for fines.

Impose a fine for each day the homeowner doesn’t fix the rule-breaking problem. It’s not easy being The Enforcer. Hang in there.

HOA Landscape Maintenance Contract Tips

Not your favorite part of this whole HOA landscaping scene, right? Stick with us. Contracts are designed to protect both you and your HOA landscaping company. You need a solid one from the get-go to prevent potential problems down the road.

street in hoa with trees and plantings

Read through your HOA landscape maintenance contract thoroughly before you sign it. If something isn't clear, ask questions. A good company will be up front about all contract items and be happy to explain them.

A few key points:

Does the Price Seem Too Low?

No such thing as too low? Actually, there is. Of course, you want the best possible price to stay within your landscape budget — who doesn’t?

But if an HOA landscape maintenance contract bid seems too low, then it’s probably too good to be true. Kind of like that free steak dinner offer that turns out to be a real estate pitch.

Chances are, when you compare bids from a handful of qualified landscape maintenance companies, their estimates for HOA landscaping costs should be in the same ballpark. If they’re skilled and experienced, they know what it takes to care for your property and will price accordingly.

If one bid is significantly low, hmmmmm. Why? Are they cutting corners? Do they save money by not offering staff training or securing insurance?

What key services are they not including in that low price? Your property could suffer because of shortcuts made to keep that price so low.

HOA Landscaping Scope of Work: Is it Clear?

This is the nitty gritty. The scope of services should describe in detail what services the HOA landscaping company will perform, where and when. 

trees and flowers near roadway at hoa

The more detail, the better. What does “landscape maintenance services” include? Mowing? Edging? Fertilization? Irrigation adjustment?

The contract should also include how often they’ll perform each service. This will give you an idea of how extensively they’ll take care of your property.

Are the Payment Terms Clear?

Your HOA landscaper’s pricing arrangements should be crystal clear. What are the rates for services? When are payments due? Are there late fees? Is there an extra fee if you pay with a credit card?

This helps avoid any questions or disputes down the road.

How to Choose an HOA Landscaping Company

Nope, not the company with the cutest animal on their truck or the one stuffing your mailbox with coupons. 

Maybe your best friend lives at an HOA where they love their landscaping company. Good for you — referrals are a great way to find a good Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia HOA landscaping company.  

But if you’re on your own, this decision can be stressful, right? 

How do you know if a company will meet your needs, communicate well, follow landscaping guidelines for HOAs, and help you attract buyers?

Check out these tips:

Start with Their Website 

The best HOA landscaping companies in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia post plenty of photos and videos of their work, share a bit about the company philosophy, and offer clear, up-front language about the services they offer.

Look for educational blog posts designed specifically to help and engage HOA customers. That shows they have your interest in mind.

What’s the company mindset? Are they interested in helping you attract potential buyers?

Will They Have Proactive Ideas for Improvements?

Sure, your HOA is great. But wouldn’t you love some pro landscaping tips to make your community even better?

In today’s competitive market, you need perks that will attract new buyers. 

How about a dog park? Or a landscaped exercise trail that doubles as nature escape?  

Artificial Turf for Dog Park

Maybe a flickering fire pit? Surround it with seating and add some festive string lights for an instant community hot spot. 

Your HOA landscaping company should be full of innovative ideas.

References, Please

Ask for references. Landscape maintenance companies should be able to refer you to happy HOA customers.
Call them.

Are they satisfied? How’s the company’s communication? What have they suggested and done that really improved the community?
And if something went wrong, like landscaping damage caused by snow removal services,  how did they handle it?

Ask Why You Should Choose Them

Give the HOA landscaping company you’re considering a chance to prove they’re your best choice.

Why should you choose them over the other guys? They should have plenty of good answers.

Are They Eager to Come Over?

A good HOA landscaping company should be happy to stop over and stroll your property with you to get a sense of your community and your landscaping needs.

Do they have lots of questions for you? They should want to know your trouble areas, your hopes and dreams, and why you didn’t like your last landscaping company.  

Do they Care About the Environment?

Do the HOA landscapers have experience with environmental issues? 

Maybe your HOA is near a body of water, in a protected area, or you want to replace annual flower beds with native plants and grasses to lower the amount of maintenance needed. 

Ask about HOA landscaping companies’ environmental experience.

Trust Your HOA Landscaping to Level Green in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia

At Level Green Landscaping, our core service is commercial landscape maintenance, and our customers include many HOAs with high expectations. 

Your job isn’t always easy. Everybody has questions, comments or gripes. Trust HOA-experienced Level Green account managers to help smooth the edges when things get rough.

Meanwhile, our skilled crews tackle these high-end, discriminating properties with a proactive, precision plan that hits all the hot spots and makes it always feel happily like home. 

We go beyond landscape maintenance to offer construction and landscape design, landscape enhancements, snow and ice management and irrigation management.

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.

Request a Consultation