When you live in a place that has a Homeowners Association (HOA), you may have common areas that are part of the larger community. Such communities as apartment complexes, duplexes, subdivisions, retail areas, and office parks are governed by HOAs. These spaces usually have areas that are commonly owned and taken care of through the HOA. An entrance to a neighborhood is one such example of a common area that falls under the auspice of an HOA.
At Turf TitanZ, one of our specialties is creating beautifully landscaped common areas for any space. In this article, we’ll give you some of our ideas for enhancing a common area, reducing HOA landscaping costs, and creating an HOA landscape plan.
The Importance of HOA Landscaping
Common areas are representative of the property complex and, as such, should be landscaped in a way to present inviting and attractive spaces, regardless of whether it is a neighborhood, office complex, retail space, or apartments. Common areas create a sense of community and draw people outside for a place to relax and congregate. For example, an office park has common areas that provide a respite from the busy work day so employees can be refreshed and return to their office reenergized. The common areas in a retail space create a space for shoppers to linger and stay longer, which can mean they will shop more and spend more money. An apartment complex with beautiful landscaping can draw in more interested tenants. And, a neighborhood with an attractive entrance is a hallmark of homeowners who live in it.
Enhancing a Common Area
There are several ways to enhance a common area regardless of the type of community. Here are a few:
Common Area Gardens
Green foliage, plants, and flowers that produce colorful focal points are essential in creating a beautiful outdoor space. Ideas for plants include flowering shrubs, native plants, and bushes that draw butterflies and hummingbirds. These will all add interest to a blank landscape and provide an aesthetically pleasing environment for the common area.
Walking trails provide the opportunity for people to get outside for fresh air and exercise. These are great at apartment complexes, office complexes, and school grounds. These paths should integrate well with the property’s layout and terrain. Keeping foot traffic off the turf is another benefit of walking trails in the common area. Options for trail paths include lighting and attractive stone or gravel to delineate the walkways.
A common area that provides a space for children to exercise and be entertained is an added bonus for young families. Creating a space that has separate areas for different age groups–toddlers, preschoolers, and older children is the best utilization of this space. Using materials that work with the environment keeps this a consistent and beautiful space in the common area.
The surface is important to the playspace. Instead of wood chips, which can be costly to maintain, consider a sustainable surface such as poured rubber, synthetic turf, and rubber mulch. These create a safe, shock-absorbing surface that facilitates drainage, requiring little to no maintenance.
In addition to areas that encourage exercising, areas that provide comfortable resting spots are integral to a well-designed common area. Seating options can include chairs and benches that integrate into the total aesthetic of the space.
Creating a patio in a common area can give the landscaper the opportunity to use a variety of bricks and stones as well as other hardscape features, adding to the beauty of the area. Patios call people to relax and congregate with others. Such features as water fountains and ponds add to the interest, in addition to grills or fire pits. Using large, oversized planters makes an instant impact and is especially helpful for sites that don’t have a lot of green space. These have several benefits such as breaking up an empty flat wall, hiding ugly spots, and fostering privacy.
How to Reduce HOA Landscaping Costs
Creating a beautiful common area on your property doesn’t have to be expensive. By using these suggested methods, you can reduce costs for your HOA landscaping.
Hardscaping doesn’t need to be tended to and maintained the same way plants do. Additionally, building areas that include pebbles, bricks, and stone provide areas that encourage children and adults to walk there instead of on the turf and in the flowers.
Pick Appropriate Plants
Choosing the “right” plants is one of the primary factors that make HOA landscaping creation and maintenance cost-efficient. Options include plants that don’t require a lot of care and attention, plants that last a long time, and plants that come back each year (perennials). Native plants as well as evergreen bushes and shrubs are great for cutting down on expenses. Avoid exotic plants because they are more expensive to purchase and maintain.
When your HOA doesn’t have a big budget, prioritizing sections is the way to go. You will want to place importance on areas that are immediately visible like entryways. Proceeding in batches will space out your expenses.
Get Professional Help
It may sound counterintuitive, but seeking a professional landscaping service more than likely will save money and effort in the long run. Many times an HOA decides to do their own landscaping and maintenance to save money only to find out they haven’t picked the right plants and have them die. This, of course, adds more expense to replace them. Though the initial expense may be higher, professional landscapers have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to achieve the best results.
Making an HOA Landscape Plan
Each HOA has different landscape requirements. By developing a community landscape plan that provides guidance to the board in how the landscape is to be created and maintained, the specific needs of the property are identified. An HOA landscape plan ensures that the landscape services are tailored to the community. Here are three key components to include when developing a landscaping plan for your community property:
- Create an inventory of existing landscape features – The inventory should include a detailed description of trees (e.g., age, type, and condition), shrubs and plant material, flower beds, irrigation systems, landscape lighting features, condition of walkways, and any pest or disease issues. It’s important to note the age, condition, and other details of the plants as well as other hardscape aspects of the area.
- Consider both installation and maintenance costs – It’s important to not only account for installation costs but also for ongoing maintenance including weeding, mowing, pruning, and other tasks to keep spaces beautiful, safe, and accessible.
- Develop a budget – Often, landscaping is the largest cost in an HOA’s budget. As a percentage of an HOA budget, landscaping can range from 25% for smaller communities up to 75% for large communities. For example, on average landscaping can cost anywhere from $45,000 to $60,000 per year for a typical community. Apartment, retail, and office complexes can be significantly higher. The level of service, the output quality, and the size of the space are all factors that contribute to the costs of professional landscaping. Be practical in coming up with a budget that meets the requirements for the space.
Contact Turf TitanZ for All of Your Commercial Landscaping Needs
At Turf TitanZ, we have the experience and knowledge to create and maintain your HOA’s common areas so you have beautiful spaces that are representative of your property’s brand and image all year long. Our designers work with you to create a space that meets your vision and objectives. We pride ourselves in developing a plan that meets your needs and stays within budget. Contact us today at (919) 562-0771 for all of your commercial landscaping needs.