No matter what the size of your community, one of the goals of any condo or HOA's landscaping plan is to increase owners’ enjoyment of their property and enhance the value of the investment in their home. Larger condo complexes often have a landscaper in house and/or under contract to care for the lawns, flowers, greenery and other plantings around the property. Smaller associations may have a lawn or landscaping service to do a quick weekly grass cutting, but due to the limitations of the modest size and budget, a personal touch from one or more green-thumbed condo owners can enhance the community’s curb appeal.
Many condominium associations encourage residents to get more involved in the planning, designing, planting, and caring for exterior flora, whether it’s sprucing up flowerbeds, courtyards, and entrances or researching the costs for suitable shrubs and other horticultural specimens for upgrading their property. These activities are commonly handled by a gardening or landscaping committee.
There are a variety of ways to start a garden or landscaping committee. Sometimes the genesis is from a resident who just enjoys gardening or it may be a handful of residents who decide to form a committee to examine ways to improve and replace decades-old and overgrown landscaping encroaching upon the building and entrances.
“If residents are interested in forming a landscape committee they should outline the duties and share the relevant financial information. They should also be clear about any timing expectations, for example if a project is to be extended over a multi-year period or if it needs to be completed by a certain date when proposals are to be presented to the board for a vote,” says Christine E. Evans, CMCA, PCAM and the Florida regional vice president of Associa. “There are so many benefits of having a landscape committee, but the biggest one is that it fosters volunteerism.”
For the condo board and manager, avoiding conflict between the landscaping committee and the landscape contractor is indeed a delicate dance, especially if the committee takes a heavy-handed approach toward the property’s landscaping activities.