How many landscaping questions could HOA residents possibly ask? Let’s see:
- Can I install a patio out back?
- Are garden ornaments allowed?
- Can I plant 7 hydrangea shrubs?
- What are the rules about fences?
- I want to plant a bamboo hedge — is that OK?
- Can I grow tomatoes and peppers to make salsa? I’ll give you a jar!
You get the idea. Lots of questions.
While HOAs typically hire a landscaping company to care for their common areas, homeowners are often required to care for their own landscaping, following any HOA landscaping rules.
Do you have the right rules?
Residents want to understand what they can and can’t do. If you set clear landscaping policies for HOA residents to follow, they won’t have so many questions. And your HOA landscaping committee won’t be faced with as many potentially prickly enforcement decisions to make.
While every HOA is different, here’s a look at five solid HOA landscaping policies to consider:
1. Put a Planting Policy in Place
There are thousands of great flowers, plants, and shrubs out there. (Don’t get us started!) Rein in residents’ choices a bit to help maintain a tidy and cohesive look.
Your HOA will have a more attractive, consistent look if all the homes stick to a similar array of flowers, shrubs, and trees — so offer a list of approved plants.
Bonus: This also helps keep plant “bad guys” out of your HOA development. You don’t want residents planting invasive species or plants that create a big mess.
2. Keep Out Potential Clutter
Everybody has their own ideas about what makes great outdoor art. That means your HOA landscaping committee should decide what’s allowed and what isn’t.
Giant porpoise sculpture out front? Nope. Hot pink polka dot Adirondack chairs? Sorry.
Limit what types of lawn decorations, sculptures, water features, and outdoor furniture are allowed, so things don’t start looking tacky.
Be specific. Maybe that dolphin garden sculpture is OK, as long as it’s under a certain size.
3. Be Hard-Nosed About Hardscape
Patios can be luxurious, relaxing escapes. Fencing can be tasteful additions to landscaping (and a way to enjoy your outdoor morning donut in your robe without the neighbors gawking.)
But make sure your HOA landscaping committee requires approval of any hardscape projects.
If they’re not designed and installed well, these landscape additions can get ugly and detract from the neighborhood’s appeal.
Ask residents to submit their designs for approval. Many HOAs require that these hardscape projects stick to approved colors and materials.
4. Get Real About Gardens
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 beautiful landscape 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 contract.
5. Be Clear About Who Does What
This can be a big area of confusion. Make sure your HOA landscaping guidelines includes who’s responsible for what when it comes to landscaping at your community.
What areas do your commercial landscaping company maintain? What’s in your landscaping contract, and what tasks are up to individual homeowners?
Spell it out to avoid confusion.
HOA Landscaping Guidelines: Communication is Crucial
Have you weighed your HOA policies handbook lately? These things can be pretty bulky documents, right?
But really encourage your residents to read them. Make sure all new residents get a copy — including HOA landscaping policies — before moving in. That way they already know the answers to the most common questions.
At Level Green, we’re happy to help you handle some of the hassle.
We attend as many of our customers’ HOA board meetings as possible to answer residents’ questions, explain what things we’re responsible for there, and make sure they know who to contact if they have questions.
It’s a chance for us to field questions from board members and sometimes residents, and to give seasonal updates on our work.
Good communication makes everything easier.
Need HOA Landscape Maintenance? Trust Level Green
When Level Green Landscaping crews show up to maintain an HOA, we know it’s more than a collection of lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Let us join you in creating a beautiful, peaceful, enjoyable place to live.
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.