November 2, 2021
HOA Landscaping: What Makes It Unique and How to Hire the Best Company
More and more neighborhoods are governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA). In addition to private residential lots, these neighborhoods have common areas that are maintained by the association using fees collected from the homeowners. HOA landscaping in these spaces is different from other types of commercial landscaping.
In this post, we’ll explore what makes maintaining an HOA property unique and advise for HOA landscape committees looking to confidently choose a good landscaping company when it comes time to secure maintenance contracts.
When you’re dealing with the landscaping around a typical office building or commercial property, a lot of it is focused on creating attractive areas around pedestrian entrances and parking lots. These business owners want their employees and visitors to have a pleasant first impression as they enter their buildings.
HOA landscaping, however, most often involves larger common areas, gates into the neighborhood, ponds or water features, and park-like settings throughout the community. Some neighborhoods even have walking paths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, or golf courses available for their residents that need to be kept looking nice. All of these spaces are designed for the enjoyment of multiple homeowners who live in the area day in and day out.
Living in a community that has a Homeowner’s Association comes with several advantages and challenges. The neighborhood may consist of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, or some combination of each. In order to keep the neighborhood as attractive as possible (also keeping property values high), planned communities use HOAs as a governing structure to help keep the property in immaculate condition.
Homeowners pay a fee to cover these services and amenities and neighbors are held to high standards. Depending on the particular neighborhood, a few of the benefits of living in an HOA property may include:
- Lawn care
- Trash pickup
- Snow removal
- Gated entrances
- Well-lit, well-maintained streets
- Common outdoor areas
- Recreational facilities
HOA Landscaping Maintenance
Regardless of whether the HOA property is a neighborhood of single-family homes or a retirement community, the odds are good that the committee members will be responsible for securing some sort of landscape maintenance contract.
Landscape services that participate in the bidding process for these maintenance contracts will typically offer to provide regularly scheduled:
- Lawn care in common areas
- Trimming of shrubs and trees
- Leaf/snow removal
- Mulch for common flowerbeds
A lot of these activities are the same as what would be provided in any commercial landscape situation. However, since these things are being done around people’s homes and in areas where they go to relax, a good landscaping company will be aware of the fact that they’re really working for multiple “clients” who all expect a high level of service. HOA landscape committees should look for landscape service providers who will approach their property with the right attitude.
HOA Landscaping Guidelines
HOA landscape committees should also establish clear guidelines about outdoor areas so that homeowners can have a clear understanding of what is expected in their community. Some of the most common policies about landscaping include:
- Limits on plant selection. In order to keep a mostly uniform appearance throughout the neighborhood, HOAs may establish an approved list of trees, shrubs, and sometimes flowers that can be planted in areas visible to the rest of the community. There could be several reasons to say “no” to a plant:
– It’s inappropriate for the area (a cactus in Connecticut)
– It’s invasive (kudzu, ivy, or bamboo)
– It affects someone else (blocks a sign or encroaches on a walkway)
– It’s outside of the uniform look the neighborhood wants to achieve
- Limits on lawn furniture and decorations. Because of the almost infinite kinds of items to put out on the lawn, HOAs understand how quickly things can get out of hand if residents aren’t given some reasonable guidelines. Unless they want a lawn with a dozen multicolor birdbaths, flamingos, and fountains that rival the Bellagio, landscape committees need to think through what is acceptable and what isn’t.
- Limits on vegetable gardens. More and more people seem to be interested in growing at least some portion of their own produce. Some see it as a fun hobby, while others want to be able to provide quite a bit of what they eat themselves. In an HOA community, gardens are often seen as undesirable simply because they usually aren’t aesthetically pleasing. Even if allowed out of sight in the backyard, a garden may affect the future resale value of that property. Therefore, many HOAs do not allow personal gardens at all.
In some cases, neighborhoods have created community gardens in central areas where residents can grow vegetables. The HOA or management company can then give the commercial landscape company they hire the responsibility of keeping the area around the garden neat and clean.
- Limits on cutting trees. Since trees are often the most prominent landscape feature of any neighborhood, HOAs are particularly careful about allowing anyone to cut them down or even remove limbs without approval. A shrub removed by mistake is easy to replace; trees are not. A lot of times, HOAs will make it a part of the landscaping contract so that they know qualified professionals are the ones taking care of any tree issues.
HOA Landscaping Proposals
When securing HOA landscaping bids from commercial landscape management companies, be sure to contact several in order to make sure you’re getting the best service at a reasonable rate. Always ask if the company has worked with any other HOA properties before. Have them provide the names of commercial properties they take care of. You might even want to have a board member or two actually drive over and see their work in person.
We have been working with HOA communities in Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding suburban areas for many years. We understand how important it is that your neighborhood looks its best, and our landscape services have you covered.
If you’re a board member on an HOA landscape committee looking for a team of high-quality professionals to take care of your community, contact us today to schedule a free estimate.