HOA Amenities You Can Offer For Summertime Fun

Posted by Joseph Barnes on May 21, 2024 11:26:17 AM

The final school bell is about to ring as the school year ends and summer begins. That means neighborhood children will have lots of free time on their hands during summer break, so families will be looking for ways to keep them busy. 

But those activities don’t have to involve parents loading up the SUV to take the kids around town every time. Families appreciate having options right in their own HOA community. After all, parents need a relaxing summer break, too, and staying close to home is both convenient and helps their budgets. 

That’s where HOA board members and community managers come in. Don’t worry - we’re going to give you some fresh ideas beyond a neighborhood pool, plus two clever ways to add summer amenities and activities even if there’s no room in your budget.


Maximizing HOA Gathering Spaces Beyond The Pool

We’ll begin with three swimming pool alternatives right off the bat. But we should first be clear about why HOA boards may want to consider maximizing outdoor gathering spaces in the summertime. 

First more HOA amenities mean the community becomes more desirable. This leads to all residents seeing their property values go up, meaning they can get a larger ROI on their investment if they choose to sell one day. Second, residents want to see where their HOA dues are going. Outdoor amenities are easily visible ways to highlight improvements being made with those dues, especially with the following options:

  • Splash pads for kids (more details coming)
  • Water features
  • Pickleball court 

These options cater to a wide range of age groups, and number three is a prime example of an outdoor space that can be made affordable using creativity. The Professional Pickleball Association recommends a temporary net ($100) versus a permanent net ($1000) for cost savings. A removable net also provides flexible usage of that space. 

Remember to encourage usage, though.

Encouraging Outdoor Community Engagement

The best way to get residents involved in summer activities in their community is to get the word out by piggybacking ongoing activities. A good example would be posting new event notices at the pool gate.  

And what about a suggestion box in popular gathering areas of the clubhouse? That helps generate great ideas. However, we suggest a pre-populated list of options residents can check or rank in order of preference. This gets more engagement and avoids letdowns for ideas that can’t be used.

Another example of piggybacking to encourage outdoor engagement is to encourage board members to talk with people already piling up step-counts on sidewalks or walking trails. They will make great ambassadors for a walking buddy initiative - as would officially inviting family pets to these scheduled walks.

And a quick plug for anyone considering joining your HOA board…(Have you downloaded our HOA Cheat Sheet?)

Now, for six more outdoor HOA amenities - with design details.


Designing Inviting Outdoor Spaces For Summer

Shade Structures: Air conditioning isn’t the only way to beat the heat. Shade works wonders and should be part of the brainstorming for new HOA outdoor spaces. Many options are available, such as gazebos, trellises, retractable awnings, and patio covers. If you can add amenities near already-in-place mature trees, great!

Picnic Tables and BBQ Areas: Sometimes, we overthink activity options. But breaking bread is universal. Adding picnic tables is budget-friendly and gives neighbors a chance to enjoy something as simple as a sub sandwich while soaking up the sunshine. Adding a community grill takes those impromptu meals up a few notches. How many friendships begin over burgers and the outdoors?

Sports Facilities and Open Fields: Basketball courts or soccer fields in your HOA community give kids the chance to get away from their addictive screens.

Plus, it saves parents from driving across town to the rec department and draws kids from surrounding areas to your neighborhood—showing their parents what is potentially missing from their neighborhood. And if you’re feeling competitive, try organizing a sports tournament to bring the entire community together.

Mature Trees and Landscaping: Adding mature trees for shade is now easier with specialized equipment. Shade is a valuable commodity as we learn more about the health hazards of shade deserts. Not to mention, trees are nature’s masterpieces, once we pause to appreciate them. Of course, landscaping options are only limited by your imagination. Yellowstone Landscape can extend your imagination while making your budget go further with expert advice on the best plants for your specific environment.

Walking Trail: Many call walking the perfect exercise—refreshing, meditative, and easy on the joints. However, true perfection comes by having well-kept greenery along walkways. HOA managers and boards are doing residents a great service by creating walking trails with natural aspects that are a proven step toward better mental and physical health.

Dog Run/Dog Park: Dogs are the best salespeople. A dog park brings dog lovers together, and once they connect, they’re sold on hanging out in other outdoor areas, too. Casual dog competitions and dog shows could add to the fun, but the key is promoting these unique events early and often. 

Moving on to special HOA activities (Yes, movie night is still alive and well)

The Special Summer HOA Amenities And Activities

Summer Movie Nights: Sure the film industry has struggled to make a comeback since COVID, and superhero movies may be watered down due to over-saturation. Still, it’s the coming together and nostalgia of popcorn and a movie that have kept movie nights atop family-friendly activity lists. Four things to keep in mind for movie night:

  • Optimal time to begin the show (sunset) and run time of the film(s)
  • Safe movie choices are ones that performed well not just in the U.S. but globally 
  • Ensure everyone has a clear view of the screen
  • Note sprinkler times if there is lawn seating to avoid a wet movie night

Horseshoes and Cornhole: Classic games never get old, whether you keep score or not. These games do more than help kill time on a relaxing summer evening. Games create small talk. And small talk leads to neighbors learning and remembering each other’s names. It’s not an overstatement to say HOA boards can “gamify” community building. Other classic games that are popular to play outside:

  • Giant Jenga or Giant Connect Four
  • Ladder golf
  • Bocce ball
  • Capture the Flag REDUX (night glow game)
  • Lawn bowling


Splash Pads for Kids: These have huge upsides as an HOA amenity either in conjuntion with or instead of a pool. Splash pads are safer, lower-maintenance, great for young children, and can convert to a beautiful water feature when not being used for play. They’re also super-affordable compared to a swimming pool build. Concerns to be aware of, though:

  • Slippery surfaces can cause falls
  • Sanitization is needed to prevent the spread of recreational water illnesses 
  • Safety rules should be posted prominently 
  • Insurance may not cover an addition of this type

Implementing And Maintaining Summer HOA Amenities

There’s no time like the present to start planning new summer amenities. As we’ve shown, there’s no shortage of outdoor spaces and activities available to start making your neighborhood the envy of the area.

Consider budgeting, safety issues, and the ongoing maintenance involved with the ideas we presented. These three considerations will help you whittle down the list of options, along with feedback from your HOA members. Another key is adding the right amenity in the ideal spot.

So take the long view of how residents will interact with new amenities during all four seasons. Adaptable spaces can make things easier on your budget. Working with local contractors and vendors is another clever, affordable way to add summer fun to the neighborhood. It can be as simple as asking your landscaping company to sponsor an ice cream social or snow coneICEE Truck. 

Also, don’t overlook campaigns to get outside funding the way a Bend, Oregon, neighborhood successfully did for an 8-court pickleball project! 

Summer HOA Amenities Conclusion

Be listening for that final school bell. It’ll be followed by a joyful noise of youngsters set free for the summer.

As that time arrives, families in your neighborhood will appreciate your leadership and efforts to make their children’s summer one to remember. Not only that, families may surprise you with their willingness to get involved and assist with ideas, and promote new summer activities. Why wouldn’t they be eager to help? After all, expanded summer amenities hit two home runs. They give your community’s children a healthier environment than being stuck inside, and a more desirable community makes the families’ homes more valuable. 

If you’re also eager to get an outdoor project going but aren’t sure where to start then please schedule a consultation today. Yellowstone Landscape has the experience and expertise to guide you so that your community is the envy of the area this summer.



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Joseph Barnes

About The Author

Joseph Barnes

Joseph Barnes has served as Marketing Manager of Yellowstone Landscape since 2013. He writes on a variety of topics related to the commercial landscaping industry.