Without a doubt, beautiful landscaping makes life in your community more enjoyable. But did you also know that it can play a crucial role in boosting your community’s reputation in the marketplace, and consequently enhancing property values? While you can’t always judge a book by its cover, potential buyers and residents often look at your community’s external appearance (including plants, trees and other landscaping) before they decide to commit. That’s why it’s important for you and your HOA board to invest in great landscaping. Whether you’re revamping what you already have or starting fresh, here are four elements to keep in mind in order to make the best landscaping choices for your community:

1. Climate

Always consider your climate before you decide on a type of plant. No one plant is perfect for all climates; there are many factors that should be taken into consideration, such as the level of light that a plant will get as well as rainfall and soil composition.

Whenever possible, your landscaping should consist of plants that are native to or bred for the local climate as much as possible. For both southern and northern Nevada, that means choosing plants and foliage designed for an arid climate. There are many desert-adapted plants (aside from the standard cactus) that thrive in dry heat and can serve your community’s unique aesthetic feel. The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension provides a number of recommendations, including butterfly milkweed, desert paintbrush and fernbush.
2. Sustainability

Make sure that your community’s landscaping is designed to reduce harmful chemicals in the environment. One way to do this is by utilizing integrated pest management (IPM), which is a reversal from the practice of “crop dusting” or treating all plants, whether they need it or not. IPM focuses on treating only the plants in need and using as little chemical product as possible. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an overview of IPM and how it applies to landscaping.

Additionally, your community may want to consider an eco-friendly irrigation system that uses reclaimed water. It may be initially more expensive to maintain a system that uses reclaimed water, the savings in water usage and environmental impact will pay off in the long run.

3. Seasons
When making landscape choices, you should take your seasons into consideration. For example, some plants fare well during cold winters. To keep your landscape beautiful and desirable during cold periods, you may want to develop a pallet of plants and trees that are frost resistant. This is an especially important consideration for areas like Northern Nevada, which can often experience harsh winters. On the other hand, if you’re located in Southern Nevada, you may experience harsh desert summers and extremely high heat. In this case, you’ll want your pallet to consist of many native and desert-adapted plants and trees so that your landscape can thrive in the heat and will look good all year long.

Caring for your landscape during seasonal changes also means preparing for each season before it arrives, and mulching is a part of that process. Mulch has a variety of benefits in that it helps retain moisture and control erosion. It also provides and retains nutrients in the soil, suppresses weed growth and controls soil temperature, while keeping your landscape beautiful. Lastly, mulch creates a barrier that protects shrubs and trees from mechanical lawn maintenance equipment and improves soil quality to help your plants better absorb nutrients. In addition to mulch, it is important to incorporate hardscape in large common areas. Work with your community management company to determine the most cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing approach to your community’s landscape and hardscape in your community.

4. Expert opinion

Before you make any landscaping choices for your community, work with your community management company. They will help you determine what the most cost-effective and beautiful options are for your community and will take your short-term and long-term goals into account. The best community management companies will also work with local landscaping companies or reputable nurseries to discuss what you want to achieve with your landscaping and your budget. They can help you determine a great mix of plants that help serve your community from a practical and aesthetic standpoint, while also taking maintenance into consideration.

A great community management company can help you with your community landscaping needs and suggest additional ways to enhance your property values. To learn more, contact FirstService Residential, Nevada’s leader in community association management.
Tuesday March 13, 2018