HOA Landscaping: Who’s Responsible for What?

Posted by Joseph Barnes on Jan 10, 2022 2:06:24 PM

Many Texas communities are managed by Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs). These HOAs have bylaws (sometimes referred to as covenants, conditions and restrictions) that all residents living in the development must follow. These bylaws verify the HOA as a legal entity charged with identifying rules homeowners must follow, enforcing community standards and maintaining common areas. Everything from parking restrictions to installing fences and sheds to what colors homeowners can or can’t paint their houses to working with landscape contractors can be included in HOA bylaws.

An HOA board of directors’ primary job is upholding these bylaws and keeping the neighborhood looking fairly uniform to maintain property values and the property’s personality. Bylaws will reflect each unique HOA community.

Rules change from community to community, so it’s important to understand the rules of each HOA, as they are unique to that specific site, and understand what is the landscape professional’s responsibility and what is the homeowners’ responsibility. This can change from HOA to HOA.

A Tale of Two HOAs

There are typically two general types of HOAs.

One involves maintained homes. The homeowner buys the house and the landscape around the house is the responsibility of the community, so the landscape professional maintains them. This is popular for seniors and others who don’t want to take on a home’s landscape maintenance. They look at this as a perk or benefit of the community.

hoa landscaping

This means the homeowner doesn’t have the authority to change the landscape if the board elects to have someone plant the same flowers from house to house, for instance. Most homeowners understand what they are getting into in this type of community and they welcome the help with their landscapes. Some HOAs will maintain just the front yards of properties and homeowners have the responsibility of maintaining their backyards to provide a nice balance.

The other type of HOA is when a homeowner buys a property and the HOA is only responsible for the common areas, such as the entrance, right-of-ways, community center, community pool, tennis court, etc. The landscape professional does not maintain the home landscapes. The homeowners have full responsibility of their landscapes, and they can hire the HOA’s landscaping professional to maintain their landscape if they offer that service, they can hire another landscape professional or do it themselves.

Homeowners Have Rules, Too

Just because a homeowner has full run of maintaining his or her landscape in an HOA, however, doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want. The HOA will still have bylaws dictating a few rules that the homeowner must follow to keep up the community’s reputation, appearance and values.

Here are some common bylaws Texas HOAs tend to include that homeowners must follow:

  1. The property can be no more than 20 to 30 percent rock. Since Texas landscapes tend to suffer from drought, xeriscaping is a popular option as a method of saving water. However, xeriscaping can be taken to the extreme and change the look of a landscape in a community if it goes too far. For that reason, many HOAs will say that a homeowner can only xeriscape one-third of their lawn area versus ripping the entire lawn out.
  2. The homeowner must use drip irrigation along curbs and sidewalks. Not only does drip irrigation save water use on the landscape by targeting water to plant roots where it’s most needed, but it also helps avoid overspray and wasted water or broken irrigation heads along walking paths and sidewalks.
  3. The homeowner cannot overuse lawn ornaments in their landscapes. You won’t see an overabundance of pink flamingos on these properties.
  4. The property cannot use artificial turf in certain areas. Again, as a water-saving method, homeowners may have the idea of replacing their lawn with artificial turf. Some HOAs will restrict how much and where homeowners can do this.
  5. Structures must only be a certain height. Some HOAs will put a height limit on fences or other structures to ensure nothing too unsightly or impeding views is installed.


Know the Rules

Understanding the rules of HOA landscaping is important for homeowners, the board of directors and the landscape professional in charge of maintaining the site. Ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities ensures a smooth and peaceful working relationship and a happy, thriving community.

Let Yellowstone Landscape help you understand how to manage your HOA landscape and ensure homeowners are following your rules. We’ve worked with many HOAs and can share our experiences to help you better maintain your community.

Request a consultation today. We’ll meet to learn more about your property and its challenges and come up with a comprehensive plan to take care of all of the details for you.

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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.