April 11, 2018

Home Owners Associations often find themselves stuck between landscaping costs and benefits. It may be tempting to cut landscaping corners, but skipping maintenance or upkeep isn’t a great way to save money.

Alternatively, here are five ways an HOA can trim the budget without sacrificing quality.

1. Landscape with the Lawnmower in Mind

The lawn is likely a major component of your landscape, which means that a lawnmower will have to be a part of your maintenance. Trees, beds, and other decor are all things a mower must pass around. The more of these there are, the more time racks up on the cost of the mowing. This doesn’t mean you need to pull out all the trees and flower beds, however. Try a few of these:

   Emphasize your community’s focal point – This is the place to really focus your efforts as it’s the main visual for your community. Making a statement landscaping area has a greater impact than several smaller ones, and it cuts down on maintenance costs.

   Group your shrubs and perennials – Not only is mowing around single plants difficult, it’s pretty risky for the plants. Save mowing time by grouping your plants into beds or islands with a natural edge. Mulch them in well to cut down on weeds and viola! You’ve got plenty of easily maintained beauty.

   Maximize annual impact – Annuals are a great way to add summery color and texture to any landscaping. The best way to layer these in without slowing down your maintenance is to pack them into the high-visibility areas of your community. Think playgrounds, fitness areas, or pools. Use decorative pots or mulched beds to keep them all together and out of reach of the lawnmower.

2. Water, But Water Smart

IrrigationHave you ever seen a sprinkler system running during a rainstorm?

How about one that seems to be watering the sidewalk or street more than the landscaping?

Don’t be one of those places.

Water costs money, which is why many irrigation systems are on timers. But today’s smart irrigation technology takes the old way of scheduling watering and blows it out of the…well, water.

Early morning hours are still your most productive watering times, but what if you could parlay that knowledge with weather forecast data and your landscape’s exact watering needs? You’d have an even more efficient watering system, that’s what! And that means cost savings for you.

Further, new irrigation technologies are fitted with more precise nozzles and heads, meaning much less water accidentally ends up on the driveway and more ends up on the newly seeded part of the lawn, where it’s actually needed.  

If your HOA’s irrigation system is more than a few years old, the cost savings of reduced water usage may be offset by the cost of retrofitting your existing system. Considering that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 50% of water used in landscape irrigation is wasted, it’s at least worth looking into.

3. Use Native Plants in Informal Designs

Here’s the deal. Non-native and fussy plants are going to be more expensive. They take more water and more care and though they may have special visual appeal, you’re going to end up paying for it.

When upgrading or adding new landscaping, take a close look at the plants native to your area. They are going to be the hardiest for your region because they come predisposed to your environment and are less likely to fall prey to local diseases or pests.

Further, once established, they usually need less water because they naturally enjoy the nature as it is. Plus, natural resistance to local pests means fewer pesticides and less money spent on them.  

Another thing to consider when adding or changing your landscaping is to avoid formal landscaping where possible.

Have you ever seen a long row of evergreens forming a neat hedge, only to see a big gap where one of the trees got knocked over? There’s no good inexpensive way to fill that gap. Things like symmetry and rigid patterns mean that when one plant dies, the whole look has to be replaced.

Save yourself a headache and the cost and go for a more informal, free-form landscape design. It will set off your space but at a lower cost risk.

4. Don’t Ignore the Small Problems That Crop Up

Like any project that requires regular upkeep, it can be super tempting to skip a few steps to save costs here and there. But like most landscape projects, this is never effective in the long-term.

Once the winter has cleared, get leaves and debris raked, hard surfaces power washed, and trim shrubs. Getting things cleaned out after a season of wind, snow, and ice helps uncover any damages or problems that may have cropped up.

Where there are small problems, fix them. Minor damage can turn into major problems if not repaired quickly. Cracks don’t fill themselves back in. Plant diseases don’t stop spreading.

Plus, those seemingly-minor problems can leave you with completely unanticipated, and bad, consequences. A slow drainage tile may seem minor, even if it begins to create some pooling water. But soon enough the temperatures will warm and that insignificant new pool of water will be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Do everyone a favor and don’t skimp on maintenance.

5. Bundle Bundle Bundle!

There are a couple of ways that bunding can save you money and help you keep up a quality landscape.

First, bundle your landscaping needs with an all-in-one service. This way you and your landscaping provider and work from a master plan that considers future needs, maintenance, and of course your budget. Working with an all-in-one that knows you and your landscaping well will help make sure you spot problems early, before they become big issues.

A second way to bundle and save on your landscaping costs is to consider joining with other homeowner associations to harness your buying power. Together you can spread fixed costs between the partnered associations.

Reduce your HOA landscaping costs with Twin Oaks

Twin Oaks Landscape offers your HOA our full range of commercial and residential experience to help trim your budget without sacrificing the maintenance and beauty of your landscaping. Our staff work with each of our clients to complete a full assessment of your needs and budget to determine the best and most efficient ways meet your goals.

We can help you identify and implement cost-saving techniques like those mentioned above, and others specific to your landscape. As an all-in-one landscape consultant, we are proud to offer creative solutions for all kinds of landscape needs.

No matter your landscaping needs, Twin Oaks can help. We can create a specialized landscape replacement or rejuvenation solution plan that will give you the look you need. Call us today to learn more about the perfect landscape solution for your needs.