Northern Virginia HOA Landscaping Case Study - Loudoun Meadows: The Outdoor Comforts of Home
When you live at Loudoun Meadows, the comforts of home aren’t just inside.
The HOA community in Ashburn, Va. offers walking trails with exercise equipment, elegant shady gazebos, a dog park for furry friends, and a lakefront beach with imported white sand.
The 174 homes are situated on 1/3 to 1/2 acre lots, with plenty of space for families and pets.
It’s 64 acres of high-end living — and high expectations.
Level Green Landscaping has handled the community’s landscape maintenance since January 2023.
Donald Burrill, a branch manager at Level Green, walks us through what it takes to care for the Meadows’ impressive landscaping.
Tending to Standout Features
High-end outdoor features help make this HOA a place to be, so Level Green crews keep them working and looking great.
A gravel trail winds around the entire property with multiple workout stations along the way.
Wayward weeds love poking through gravel trails, so the crew leader walks it twice a month, applying weed control as needed to keep things tidy.
A dog park offers space for canine family members to romp. Level Green crews apply tick spray to the area to keep biting pests at bay.
The Meadows residents love their 5-acre pond, with a splashy water feature and an extra luxe touch — an imported white sand beach. It’s a prized and unique amenity.
Level Green crews monitor the area around the water feature for any encroaching plant growth. And they regularly rake the white sand beach so it’s ready for residents’ bare toes.
One Word: Proactive
Proactive is a real buzzword here, with the Level Green team on a mission to pounce on problems and head off issues before they become real concerns.
“We’re out in front of them,” Burrill says, “so they don't have to put out any fires.”
What does that look like?
- When Burrill got wind of an impending storm, he did an inventory of trees on the property, identifying any weak or damaged trees that could topple in strong winds. He pulled together a proposal for tree removal and had the vulnerable trees out of there before the storm blew in.
“If we had waited, there would have been storm damage,” he says. “The community was pretty happy about that service.”
- During a routine February inspection Burrill noticed the lights around the small pond weren’t working. He put together a proposal to replace them and got it done.
- The community’s Crape Myrtle trees weren’t on an integrated pest management program with the previous landscaping company, so they were infested by scale, sap-eating insects named for the scale or shell-like waxy covering that covers their bodies. Crews removed the infested trees before the scale could spread, and replaced them.
“We go out, we identify things that aren’t functioning, and we take care of them,” Burrill says.
It helps to pretend that you’ll wiggle your own toes in that soft white sand, and hit that exercise trail after work.
“I look at the community like I live there ,” Burrill says. “What would make me want to move in — or move out?
“Trash? Dead plant material? Nobody wants to see that. So we remove anything unsightly.”
Sometimes good communication is just common-sense courtesy.
Residents get a heads up when crews will show up for their weekly visit. Crews turn off blowers and string trimmers when passersby approach.
Other times, good communication is a coordinated strategy.
“The property manager is always in the loop,” Burrill says. “Group texts, group chats, and group emails with the HOA board president and the property manager always include all of us. That way there’s no ‘he said, she said’ miscommunication.
“Open communication creates a relationship that will last a long time,” he says.
Bringing Turf Back to Life Takes Time
When you take over for another landscaping company, you inherit the problems they didn’t handle.
“There’s a lot of spurge and invasive weeds in the turf that we’re still working to get under control,” Burrill says. “There just wasn’t good coverage here before. There was no organic compost put down last fall to offset the pH deficiencies in the turf.”
They have their work cut out for them. Burrill had to lay out the hard truth.
“We explained it’s going to take 18 to 24 months before they’ll see a marked improvement in the turf,” he says. “When you explain it, customers understand. Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s what I tell them.”
A solid turf program is key.
That means four targeted visits for fertilizing and weed control throughout the year.
Crews visit twice in the spring and a third time in July or August. Then, a final round of fertilizer goes down in October or November to help the Loudoun Meadows turf store nutrients for the winter and emerge strong and healthy in the spring — just in time to hit that exercise trail.
The Weekly Once-Over
Weekly maintenance covers all the crucial tasks needed to keep the community’s landscaping tidy and healthy, from mowing and blowing to weeding and trimming.
Dead plant material? Gone. Worn-out mulch? Nope. Everything stays neat.
Level Green crews keep an eye on shrub and tree health, too, trimming as needed, making sure wayward branches don’t snag passersby, and elevating canopies for visibility and healthy growth.
Getting a Glow On
Loudoun Meadows residents and visitors don’t just drive through during the day. After-dark arrivals have to impress, too.
Level Green takes care of the lighting that illuminates signage and trees at entrances.
Several magnolias and red maples have gentle uplighting that lends a welcoming glow.
“Lighting softens the community, highlights the trees, and offers that wow factor when you enter,” Burrill says.
No Watering Worries
Landscaping can’t thrive without consistent irrigation.
Monthly service inspections send crews to check the water pressure, adjust spray heads, and make any needed repairs. Crucial adjustments make sure the HOA’s irrigation system stays efficient, saving water and money.
Irrigation maintenance also includes proper spring start-up and fall shut-down procedures for backflow devices and irrigation lines.
Here at Loudoun Meadows, irrigation maintenance includes extra tasks. The community’s smaller amenity pond is tied into the irrigation system.
Level Green crews monitor the water level closely and make adjustments as needed.
Next up: the HOA wants to dye the pond blue for a more impressive look, Burrill says.
People aren’t the only ones who want to hang out here. Deer show up looking for a light snack of, oh, hundreds of flowers.
No such luck. Level Green crews go light on the tasty annuals here and heavy on the deer-resistant perennials.
A few of the hard-working plants:
It sounds tasty, but this ground-hugging perennial with abundant white or pink blossoms actually has an unpleasant smell, so deer and rabbits leave it alone.
This mid-sized ornamental grass has graceful foliage and decorative plumes that add lovely motion to the Loudoun Meadow beds with every breeze.
This hard-working shrub puts on a show for Loudoun Meadows residents all year long, with its big, lobed leaves, pretty exfoliating bark, and huge, fluffy blooms that change colors as the seasons progress.
Catmint ‘Walker’s Low’
Showy but tough, this sturdy perennial produces impressive spikes of lavender-blue flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees — but not deer. They don’t like the minty scent. The blooms last for weeks, offering a stunning display.
Daylily ‘Passionate Returns’
This is a stunner, with striking rosy-pink hued flowers.
“They look really nice and for some reason deer don’t like them,” Burrill says.
Annuals still have a place, bringing important impact at entrance signs.
Each spring and fall 200 annuals add a burst of color. The latest spread included
red and white begonias to complement the soft blue of the catmint for a patriotic theme.
Flower beds have to stay free of weeds, and are topped with rich brown mulch.
The Goal: No Worries
“We’re not in a hurry,” Burrill says. “We’re going to make sure we do everything right.”
He’s vigilant, Burrill says, so the property manager can rest easy.
“The typical property manager is busy, because they're dealing with not just one entity, they're dealing with multiple residents and different vendors,” Burrill says. “We want to give them one less worry throughout the day.”
Looking to take your commercial property to the next level? Contact us today and see how Level Green Landscaping can help.
We’re not in a hurry. We’re going to make sure we do everything right.Donald Burrill
Level Green Landscaping