If you’re looking at “greening up” your community, then one of your first stops may be looking at your HOA landscaping. There are actually a number of green landscaping initiatives for HOAs that can help your property to continue to look and perform optimally but without putting more stress on the environment. As an added bonus, many of these initiatives can ultimately save you money, too.
To help you get started in considering your options, we’ve rounded up some of the best green landscaping initiatives for HOAs that you might want to implement.
1. Upgrade to a Smart Irrigation System
Of the many green landscaping initiatives for HOAs that you may be considering, smart irrigation is undoubtedly one that can have the biggest impact.
Smart irrigation systems tailor their watering schedules and run times to the actual weather conditions. Instead of just following a predetermined watering schedule, they’re making real-time adjustments based on the current conditions.
In the past few years, there have been tremendous leaps and bounds made in the world of smart irrigation and the capabilities have come a really long way. Some of the technology that can be beneficial in a smart irrigation system includes soil moisture sensors and rain and freeze sensors.
Additionally, many smart irrigation systems also use data from local weather stations in order to make adjustments based on the upcoming weather forecast.
The biggest benefit to using a smart irrigation system is that it allows you to use water more efficiently. By eliminating water waste, you can significantly save on your community’s water bill. It’s also something that both management and residents can feel good about. After all, nothing is more frustrating than seeing your HOA’s irrigation system kick on in the middle of a rainstorm. You just know that it’s wasting lots of water which is a precious resource in many parts of the country. It’s like sending your residents’ money down the drain.
But with an upgrade to a smart irrigation system, you can make tremendous strides in using water as efficiently as possible.
2. Utilizing Native Plant Material
Another important green initiative is the use of native plant material. Native plants are those that have adapted to the local conditions because they’re naturally found in that habitat. That means that they require less water, making them a drought-tolerant choice for your HOA.
The use of native plant material is part of an effort to “xeriscape,” which is the process of landscaping in a style that requires little to no irrigation.
Over the years, we’ve found that when people picture a xeriscape they tend to think of a landscape that has a lot of cacti and succulents. But the truth is, there are many wonderful native plants that can still create an attractive landscape without using excessive amounts of water.
As is often the case with a successful landscape, it comes down to horticultural experience and plant knowledge. When landscape designers have an extensive working list of plant material in their mind, they can create really beautiful designs using native plants.
The Right Plant for the Right Place
Of course, it’s not enough to just choose native plants. It’s also essential that the right plant is planted in the right place. We honestly can’t stress this point enough as we’ve found that even some supposed “pros” have made mistakes in plant placement. But when a plant that needs full sun is planted in a shady spot—or vice versa—you’re just setting it up for trouble. It’s never going to perform optimally and will need continuing care to even survive.
The idea with any of the various green landscaping initiatives for HOAs is that they reduce maintenance. Reduced maintenance and overall better performance will give your community a landscape that is eco-friendly and attractive.
3. Consider Alternatives to Plant Material
When people think of “landscaping” they automatically picture greenery. In many peoples’ minds, landscaping is about lush turf and a green landscape. But it can actually be an eco-friendly move to eliminate some of that greenery and use other elements, like decorative rock, in your landscape.
Rock can be a really great way to fill in a landscape instead of having every inch of plant beds brimming with plants. Decorative boulders or even decomposed granite can be impactful additions and they require zero maintenance. There’s no watering, no fertilization, and ultimately no upkeep.
Rocks also look really great. If you’re trying to make a big impact, maybe for your HOA entryway, then incorporating boulders and patterns or different size color and decomposed granite can make a nice statement.
4. Choose a Vendor that Offers Electric Equipment (But Understand There are Tradeoffs)
We would be remiss in not mentioning that choosing a landscape vendor that uses electric equipment is another way to lessen your community’s environmental impact, BUT there can be tradeoffs. And these tradeoffs can be big enough to be a dealbreaker in many cases.
Currently, the technology for electric landscaping equipment is simply not up-to-par with other commercial grade gas-powered equipment. That means that it may take twice as much time to get the work done—and that’s not necessarily ideal.
In fact, this option is actually the least effective green landscaping initiatives for HOAs for most communities. It’s not as efficient but it has the environmental appeal of saving on fuel. For some it may be worth the tradeoff, but for many HOAs, it’s not. They’d rather have the work completed efficiently and in a more cost-effective way.
Given the drawbacks of electric equipment right now, it is not something that Yellowstone Landscape has invested in heavily. We do have the option in some of our branches, but the interest just isn’t quite there on a large scale to invest heavily in the equipment.
That being said, we’re a company that is always staying on top of the latest advances so we’re watching this closely. The landscaping industry is making many changes to be more green and we’re keeping up with it.
5. Hire a Conscientious Landscaping Provider
While it may sound simplified, the truth is that a lot of these green landscaping initiatives for HOAs will only be effective when you choose a landscaping provider who is conscientious about the work that they do.
That means they don't haphazardly apply control products across your landscape. Rather, they only target those areas that really need them. The truth is, being selective about applying material (such as spot-treating weeds as opposed to just spraying in a blanket manner) takes more time, so a lot of companies don’t take this approach. They’d rather just get the work done quickly so they can move on to the next job.
But at Yellowstone Landscape, we are much more scientific about spray and granular applications.
We’re also being smart about where we apply and we’re doing what we can to protect waterways.
What many people don’t realize is that thick and healthy turf can actually do wonders to prevent runoff, which is one of the most important things we can do to protect our waterways. This is a big reason why choosing a diligent provider who is cautious about where they’re putting the product down is one of the most important “green initiatives” you can do for your community.
Choosing a Commercial Landscape Contractor for your Green Landscaping Initiatives
You have options. When it comes to implementing some of these green landscaping initiatives for your HOA, your choice in commercial landscaping providers will make a big difference.
Ultimately, you need to find a company that is capable of executing these green initiatives we’ve mentioned in your community. That means a company that can offer in-house irrigation and understands how to upgrade a system. It also means choosing a company with extensive horticultural knowledge and experience.
But, as we’ve said, it’s also about choosing a landscape provider that is going to do their work conscientiously. That is, a company that’s not just rushing through the job so they can move on to the next one, but rather a company that really cares.
At Yellowstone Landscape, we understand the magnitude of being tasked with upgrading your HOA in ways that will be more environmentally sustainable while also saving you money. But it’s also something that we truly care about. When we work with HOAs, we focus on forming partnerships.
In fact, it’s our goal to become true partners with the HOAs that we work with in order to provide them with peace of mind that they’ve chosen wisely. You deserve to conclude your landscape vendor research process knowing that you’ve chosen a provider who has your best interest at heart.
Are you ready to feel confident in making a wise choice among commercial landscape providers? Request a consultation today. We’ll meet to learn more about your property and its challenges, then create a comprehensive plan to take care of all of the details for you.