The Dos And Don'ts Of Landscaping In An HOA


According to REALTOR® Magazine, properly maintained landscaping increases the value of your home by 12 percent. Imagine what quality shrubbery and garden beds can do for an entire HOA community.

To get you started on the basics in time for the spring and summer, here’s a list of dos and don’ts from the experts at IKO Community Management in Olney, Maryland:

Do hire a professional landscaper. When you hire your community management company to subcontract a professional landscaper, you get top experience and unrivaled knowledge of flowers, trees, grass, and climate. This cost-efficient alternative to manual labor is a huge benefit to your residents.

Your community also looks more consistent, and none of the HOA board members or volunteers have the responsibility of upkeeping the neighborhood. For more information about why you should hire a gardening company, visit our blog.

Don’t invest in formal landscapes. According to Dr. Pat Lindsey, a smart landscape design professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, symmetry is very expensive to upkeep. If your community has identical evergreens on either side of the pool house and one dies, your homeowners association has to replace both to keep the look. This adds an extra expense.

Do consider hardscaping. Hardscaping is the practice of strategically incorporating pebbles, gravel, and bricks among greenery. If your homeowners association has a strict “no pets in the grass” policy or a lot of children that roam in the grass, hardscaping is a good idea. Be mindful that some associations require that you obtain approval for some types of hardscaping prior to installation. Therefore be sure to check your association rules before proceeding.

Don’t use weed barrier fabric where it’s not needed. Weed barrier fabric (also known as landscape fabric) is most useful under gravel or mulch walkways to keep the material from sinking into the soil. Don’t use weed barrier fabric in planted areas, as it only provides a short-term solution until weeds grow in the mulch on top of the fabric.

Do work from a plan. Because HOAs have limited budgets and resources, partner with local gardening and community management companies to create a master plan for your neighborhood. Think about future needs, the climate of your community, and seasonal considerations; work in reasonable phases; stick to the HOA budget; and focus on small projects first.

If your neighborhood is working on mostly upkeep, have a maintenance checklist. Some HOA boards hire a landscaping company for year-round maintenance. However, if your budget doesn’t budge past the initial work, consider downloading IKO Community Management’s Landscaping Checklist.

Don’t forget to recycle. According to HGTV, community recycling should include using “a mulching mower instead of bagging and dumping grass clippings to cut fertilizer requirements by 30 percent.”

An online home guide from SFGate, the “go-to online source for all news and entertainment related to” San Francisco, suggests running pruned trees through a chipper to provide mulch for a garden bed.

Another recycling tip is to use a compost pile to turn plant debris, like leaves and grass clippings, into decayed organic matter. Work this organic matter into soil for nutrients, good bacteria, erosion prevention, and water retention properties.

From hiring professional gardening help and community recycling to avoiding formal landscapes and weed barrier fabric, these landscaping tips for your community should improve value and create a beautiful, harmonious view for all residents.

If you’re looking to perform basic maintenance on your neighborhood landscaping before the spring and summer, click on the button below to download IKO Community Management’s Post-Winter Property Inspection Checklist.

Click Here To Download Your Checklist

We talk about how to properly handle the change in season for playground equipment and tot lots; common areas; the community pool; roads, parking lots, and sidewalks; mosquito control; and more.