Rethinking Your HOA’s Landscaping
Homeowner associations are beginning to plan their 2023 budgets and many of them question their ability (and their budget) to maintain their current grass due to heat, increasing water prices, and the cost of irrigation plans. As states along the Colorado River enter a third decade of significant drought, states in the Lower Basin (NV, AZ & CA) are being forced to reduce their water use and see landscaping use as their primary opportunity. Turf replacement programs are being required in Las Vegas, offered in Arizona, and now supported by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Change is coming.
For HOAs in Colorado, there are several resources your community can leverage to upgrade to water wise landscaping. Resources include:
- Plant Select (Denver Botanic Gardens & Colorado State): https://plantselect.org/
- Colorado Native Plant Society: https://conps.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/CoNPS-Native-Plant-Vendors-12.pdf
- Front Range & Foothills Guide for Low-Water Native Plants: https://conps.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/FrontRange.pdf
- Audubon of Colorado (Native birds): https://denveraudubon.org/native-plants-birds/
- Resource Central: https://resourcecentral.org/lawn/
One of the most helpful guides is from Denver Water, the Water Wise Landscape Handbook. This provides your HOA with a roadmap on how to change your landscaping over time:
- Plan and design – Create a conceptual and planting plan for your landscaping
- Amend your soil – Explore adding composting and tilling before planting native species
- Efficient irrigation – Irrigate by zones with appropriate sprinkler heads and during ideal times
- Leverage mulch – Find the best organic mulch, rock, or fiber mulches for the new plants
- Plant in zones – Group plants with similar light and water needs in the most ideal place
- Consider alternative turf grasses – Shift from bluegrass to fescue or buffalo grass
Most importantly, work together as a board or landscaping committee to take collective action and improve your HOAs landscaping while lowering costs. Speak with your current landscaping contractor to see if they have in-house expertise to help with the transition or can recommend landscape designers or irrigation specialists to assist your community.
CAP’s Community Managers are well-versed in finding landscapers who can help their communities address their concerns and lower their water use. We advise starting this process before laws begin to restrict use and your options become limited.