HOA Landscaping: Maintenance, Scope, And Guidelines

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HOA landscaping is an important part of maintaining a planned community. Nobody wants to live in a neighborhood with wild and overgrown greenery. The HOA must take care of maintenance and implement guidelines to keep the community’s green spaces beautiful. 

Is HOA Responsible for Landscaping?

It’s well-known that homeowners associations are responsible for maintaining the community’s common areas. This includes everything from sidewalks to roads and even parks. Hence, it goes without saying that HOAs are also responsible for landscaping common area green spaces. 

However, are they also responsible for HOA lawn care for individual homeowners’ yards? While your first instinct might be to say no, it does hinge on the type of HOA you live in. There are two types of HOAs when it comes to HOA landscaping.

HOA-Maintained Landscapes

The first type includes HOA-maintained home landscapes. In this type of community, homeowners buy their property, but the landscape surrounding their homes is the HOA’s responsibility. The HOA hires a professional HOA landscape company to maintain all green areas, including homeowner yards.

This type of community is popular among seniors and those who can’t be bothered with landscaping. However, while this setup is convenient, it is also quite limiting. Homeowners cannot change the landscape or plant different kinds of flowers. It’s up to the board to decide how to landscape the areas and what type of plants to incorporate. 

Of course, the scope of the HOA’s authority will vary per community. Sometimes, the HOA maintains the surrounding green areas of a homeowner’s property. Meanwhile, other HOAs only preserve the front yard and allow the homeowners to take charge of their backyards. This maintains the community’s aesthetic appeal while giving the homeowners some freedom. 

Homeowner-Maintained Landscapes

The second type of community separates homeowner yards from the common areas. In this type of neighborhood, the HOA is only responsible for landscaping the green areas that are part of the common elements. Meanwhile, the homeowners are responsible for HOA lawn maintenance in their front and back yards. 

In this community, the HOA’s landscaper typically does not maintain the yards of individual homes. The homeowners have to hire a landscaper or landscape their yards themselves. They can employ the HOA’s contractor or find a different one for their property. This setup is ideal for those who want more freedom over their home’s aesthetics. 

HOA Landscaping Guidelines

If a homeowner lives in the second type of community, they must abide by a few HOA rules. This is why landscaping can be a contentious subject for homeowners associations. Often, homeowners want to landscape their yards a certain way and use specific plants. However, HOAs usually have strict HOA lawn maintenance guidelines that control what residents can do.

What are the common landscaping guidelines you can find in homeowners associations? Here are a few standard guidelines many communities adopt.

1. Required Plants

Many HOAs limit the kind of plants homeowners can plant in their yards. The objective is to create a relatively cohesive community aesthetic, even though residents can choose to landscape their yards in different ways.

In addition, these policies allow the HOA to protect its greenery from invasive species. Homeowners often have no problem complying with these rules, but some may disagree and conflict with the board. 

2. Furniture and Sculpture Limitations

Sometimes, residents can take landscaping too far and overpopulate their front yards with too many sculptures, ornaments, or furniture. Hence, many HOAs have limits on the number and types of lawn decorations they can use. Doing this keeps the community uniform and neat.

Typically, homeowners associations are stricter about front yards. Meanwhile, they offer more freedom about backyard decor, furniture, and fixtures. This gives HOAs and homeowners the best of both worlds. 

3. Number of Rocks

Xeriscaping is a popular landscaping technique that limits the need for irrigation. However, while it has benefits, it can also affect a community’s aesthetics and harm curb appeal when taken to the extreme. For this reason, some homeowners associations limit how much xeriscaping residents can do.

HOAs often add a limit to the number of rocks homeowners can have in their backyard. For example, an HOA may require homeowner yards to be no more than 20-30% rock. This way, the community’s landscapes can remain somewhat uniform. 

4. Required Drip Irrigation Along Sidewalks and Curbs

Drip irrigation is a useful tool to save water on landscaping by allowing water to travel directly to plant roots. In some communities, the HOA requires residents to install drip irrigation systems along sidewalks and curbs to avoid wasted water and broken irrigation lines along walkways. 

5. Artificial Turf

Some homeowners may want to install artificial turf to avoid landscaping altogether. However, some HOAs do not like this idea and will limit how much artificial turf residents can use. The HOA may also restrict artificial turf to certain areas.

6. Structural Height

Front yards are often playgrounds for adults, as they can decorate them however they please. However, they have to be mindful of the association’s height restrictions. Many HOAs restrict the height of certain structures, such as statues and fences, so nothing impedes the view of other homes. 

7. Personal Garden Restrictions

Many homeowners like the idea of planting a personal garden to grow produce. However, HOAs may restrict the type and size of gardens homeowners can plant. This prevents the community’s aesthetics from becoming too ununiform. Personal gardens may also increase the risk of wildfires and invite pests in the community. 

Often, residents can plant a small herb garden in their front or backyards. However, most HOAs will prohibit residents from growing large fruits and vegetables. 

8. Tree Removal Restrictions

Trees often provide aesthetic appeal to planned communities. As such, many HOAs will implement a tree removal process to prevent homeowners from haphazardly removing trees they dislike. 

9. Regular Maintenance

A homeowners association might regulate HOA grass height, tree branches, and bushes and require residents to maintain their landscapes regularly. Residents cannot let their branches, grass, or bushes overgrow and look unsightly. 

How Does HOA Landscaping Maintenance Work?

Homeowners association landscaping maintenance is not easy. Often, HOA landscape maintenance requires a committee dedicated to the community’s green spaces. This is especially true for larger communities that have more green areas to maintain. 

However, the process usually boils down to three parts: creating a budget, hiring a professional landscaper, and conducting regular inspections. Typically, landscaping costs somewhere between $45,000 to $60,000 annually. The budget will vary greatly depending on the number of landscapes, level of services, and output quality. 

Once the budget is set, the landscaping committee will send out requests for proposals to various vendors. They will pick the best contractor for the job and sign a contract. Afterward, it’s only a matter of conducting regular inspections of the HOA’s green spaces. 

The landscape committee can make recommendations to improve the landscaper’s output. They can also evaluate whether or not the landscaper is providing quality service to the community or if the HOA needs to hire a different vendor. 

Prioritize Your Green Spaces

HOA landscaping may be intimidating at first, but it should certainly be a priority if you want to enhance your community’s aesthetic appeal. Doing so will invite more buyers into the community and increase property values.

Do you need assistance with HOA landscaping and hiring good vendors? An HOA management company like 88 Doors might be able to help. Call us now at (512) 348-8821 or contact us online to learn more!