It’s often said that you should never judge a book by its cover. However, the front-line curb appeal of a community can make a difference in the value of every property in a neighborhood. This is one reason current and potential homeowners consider landscaping and common-area maintenance so important.

Well-maintained trees and plants around your entrance and common areas (such as your amenity grounds) can enhance property values as well as provide residents with a greater sense of pride. It’s no wonder, then, that one of the main priorities of a homeowners association (HOA) board is an effective and well-executed landscape maintenance plan. 

If you’re needing a little guidance to get started on a fresher approach for your community, we have the scoop. These five simple tips will help your community make a great first impression by putting a little more color in your landscaping and, ultimately, more green in your property values.
  1. Use a reliable landscaping company.

    Although smaller communities may prefer to use HOA volunteers to perform necessary landscaping maintenance tasks, most associations require a professional landscaping company. If you live in a managed community, your association manager will work with your board or grounds maintenance committee to select and oversee the right landscaping and tree-care company, as well as other trusted service providers you may need. If your community is self-managed, consider hiring a reputable property management company that has established relationships with quality contractors.
  2. Plant for success.

    Landscaping maintenance will be easier if you choose vegetation that thrives in your area. Be sure to factor in your community’s soil conditions, maintenance budget and resources. When purchasing plants, flowers or trees, ask vendors or your landscaping company about their replacement policy for items that are damaged or unhealthy.

    A best practice that your association or contractor should follow is to create a landscaping design plan before you start planting. This will help to ensure that all your choices have enough sunlight, water and space to grow. The design should allow for seasonal changes and highlight the most prominent, visible areas of the community such as the entrance and amenity spaces.
  3. Keep it clean and green.

    Of course, maintaining your landscape is just as important as planting. By consistently performing all necessary maintenance like weeding, mowing grass, mulching, watering regularly and fertilizing floral areas as needed, your landscaped spaces will grow healthy and strong.

    A routine check of sprinkler systems will also help to prevent over- or under-watering and keep water from collecting in grass and flower beds. Standing water is a big attraction for mosquitos and can increase the risk of resident exposure to diseases like the Zika virus, which has been a concern for Texas communities in recent years. It’s also a good idea to treat areas for insects like ants and fleas that can be an annoyance for people and pets.
  4. “Branch out” to add value.

    Trees not only provide shade, majesty and beauty to your community, but they’re also a tangible asset. Protect the value of your community’s trees by making sure they receive regular TLC from association staff or tree-care professionals. This should include pruning, fertilizing and mulching so they stay healthy and disease-free.
    Insider tip: Be cautious about growing flowers or other plants under trees to avoid damaging tree roots. It’s best to start small and sparingly. Allowing plants to multiply gradually over time will help to minimize any intrusion to the tree’s root system.
  5. Nurture the seed of community engagement.

    If there is interest among residents and the board, start a landscaping committee. Having an assigned and educated group of residents who are focused on grounds maintenance and improvements helps your board fulfill its fiduciary duty to protect the community’s assets while lightening its load. In addition, resident involvement in beautifying the property creates a greater sense of community.
Taking proactive steps to maintain your trees and landscaping can rake in numerous benefits for your association. By increasing curb appeal, you not only help to maintain property values, but you also support community growth and enhance the quality of life for you and your neighbors.
Tuesday March 21, 2017