As the community management industry matures, landscaping in older community associations may show signs of aging. This is the time of year that many boards across the country are considering different ways to update and enhance their landscaping. It’s a good financial investment that can enhance the curb appeal, add direct value to individual residences, and increase the quality of life in an association.
So, what are a few ways established communities can renovate and upgrade its green spaces?
- Have a plan – It’s hard to know where to start if you don’t know what you want. Find a professional to partner with – an architect or seasoned contractor – and share your vision. Your partner will help you navigate the thought process by focusing on high impact areas first, then smaller areas. Breaking large spaces down into sections, prioritizing them and then figuring out what is needed is crucial – and the right partner will develop the plan with you, in order to achieve your vision.
- Establish a regular program to replace plant material – Select new plants that tie in to your present landscape configuration. Also, choose plants that will bloom at different times of the year, so there is always some natural color around to brighten the view.
- Replace shrubs – Shrubs have a relatively short life span – around 10 years. They are often replaced or removed because of declining health or incorrect location. Consider replacing with drought-tolerant shrubs; they can thrive in either sunlight or shade, and also will bloom during the year.
- Use ground cover – Converting small lawn areas or other greenbelt areas to ground cover, dwarf shrubs or tall grasses will often reduce maintenance and water costs. Associations with a well-conceived water conservation program can save money and better protect the value of their property.
- Replace trees – Traditionally, communities planted Eucalyptus, Ficus and Melaleucas trees, which can grow large enough to crack curbs and gutters, lift sidewalks, and create hazards. When considering replacement tree options, research to find out how big the tree will be in 10 to 15 years, and the required maintenance. For example, trees that drop leaves in the fall mean more maintenance expenses.
- Upgrade Irrigation – Old systems typically don’t provide much water conservation, while newer systems can be programmed to make every drop count. Many communities have reduced water consumption by up to 20-30%. Your landscape contractor can help to design the best system for you with new sprinklers, a hose system with emitters, or smart clocks.
Landscape is usually one of the largest and often the most VISUAL part of a community. Enhancing it not only brings enjoyment to your residents, but it’s an investment that can increase property values. Check with local landscape professionals for help with making appropriate plant selections.
N.N Jaeschke, Inc.