FUTURE TRENDS OF AN HOA LANDSCAPING COMPANY
In response to the high cost of water, and rolling water restrictions being felt throughout
the greater San Francisco bay area, a new wave of landscaping trends are on the rise.
With a wave of ingenuity and innovation, such challenges don't need to dull the potential
of your HOA outdoor spaces! In fact, commercial landscape companies, facilities
managers, apartments, and HOA communities are embracing low precipitation levels
and mandated water restrictions in a range of new and exciting ways. Here, we will
explore the techniques that can be employed to create beautiful, enjoyable, and resilient
green areas, for tomorrow and the future – whatever the weather.
1. ELIMINATING HIGH WATER USE PLANTS
It's easy to comprehend that high water use plants call for extensive – not to mention
expensive – watering. Should water restrictions arrive, these plants tend to wind up
looking lackluster, or even wind up needing to be replaced. Such thirsty plants, that
were often traditionally used in HOA landscaping, include Algerian ivy, Mondo grass,
Azalea, Camellia, Agapanthus, and Roses. While these species can perform
fantastically in a more temperate climate, when the heat ramps up they all too often let
the side down within any exterior HOA presentation. Replacing such species with
architectural and water efficient grasses, and a spectacular array of other drought
tolerant plants offers a far more robust solution. Drought friendly landscaping requires a
fraction of the water, and continues to look the part through all seasons!
2. MULCHING FOR WATER CONSERVATION
In terms of an HOA landscaping company, the value of mulching cannot be overstated. A layer of
mulch is ideal for reducing soil evaporation – ensuring that irrigation water reaches
roots, rather than rising up into the ether! In the mean time, mulching suppresses weed
growth, by preventing sunlight hitting any seeds within the soil. During the driest of
seasons, or even the heaviest of rains, mulch helps to prevent soil erosion too. For
these reasons, we are certain that the trend for mulching is going to grow just as fast as
the plants that benefit from its presence!
3. WATER EFFICIENT IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
Did you know that in the heat of the sun, traditional sprinklers are only 50% efficient, or
even less? Sprinklers leave that precious resource – water – vulnerable to evaporation
and runoff due to over-spray. In contrast, drip irrigation provides water to the roots
where it is needed, at 90 - 100% efficiency! For this reason, anticipate seeing a big uptick
in drip irrigation among HOA locations that haven't already made the switch. Aside
from reducing evaporation and runoff, drip irrigation allows for far more precise watering, helping you to save yet more money on water. It helps plants to build a stronger, deeper, and more resilient root systems, while helping you to avoid expensive asphalt damage and building damage that can be caused by traditional sprinklers.
4. FLOWER POWER AT MONUMENT SIGNS, FRONTAGES AND HIGH IMPACT ZONES
Flowers can be costly to replace, require lots of water, and demand high maintenance –
however we all enjoy the presence of a vibrant floral display. Today, traditional high-cost
blooms are being intelligently replaced with verdant, drought tolerant flower power!
Prudent planning in terms of floral choices will save money on water and plant
replacements, and will prove to be a wise investment for the trend setting managers of
the Bay Area. We recommend strategically selecting areas that provide the most visual
and prolific impact for blossom displays. Main office entrances, leasing signs, patios,
pool areas, and flanking driveway entrances are excellent choices when it comes to
introducing sprays of color!
5. A WATER AUDIT WILL PROVIDE POWERFUL AND TRANSPARENT INFORMATION
When times get tough, the smart get strategic, and in the case of Bay Area landscaping
trends, this is certainly paying off! For ultimate efficiency in terms of maintenance and
water savings, a water audit is the ideal place to start. Auditing provides information for
capturing potential water savings, which can in turn reduce costs and improve margins.
Audits often identify broken irrigation – and many properties would otherwise be entirely
unaware that such as easy water saving fix was at their fingertips! An audit will also test
your water efficiency and distribution. This test can reveal information that may pinpoint
why your water costs are presently so high. An audit is a great investment, that can
literally provide the information that you need for making crucial decisions for
infrastructure upgrades and conversions – including how long it will take to get the
return on your investment – and powerful, transparent insights.
6. GRAVEL, HARDSCAPE AND DROUGHT FRIENDLY GROUND-COVER, LESS LAWN
While we might romanticize the idea of a well manicured lawn, HOA landscape maintenance within a dry hot climate can be cost prohibitive. Equally, lawn can quickly become a visual disaster if
water restrictions are enforced. In contrast, gravel is porous and sustainable which
helps capture rainwater and water run off during the winter seasons. We recommend
replacing traditional lawn landscaping with artistic and useful hardscape for patio areas,
with walk ways and court yards. Hardscape is the most drought tolerant landscaping
available. Areas can be softened and accentuated with attractive and colorful perennials
at borders, focal points, and entryways. If you are fond of the green grass aesthetic,
consider incorporating today's near indistinguishable artificial turf for smaller, less
expansive areas. A water feature with circulating fountain can provide the tranquil sound
of running water and a refreshing source for wild life.
WHY IS TRADITIONAL LAWN LESS THAN WATER EFFICIENT?
Lawns require a lot of water to survive, because turf roots only extend down an average
of 2” in depth. When such shallow roots are subjected to the hot Bay Area wind and sun
they dry out incredibly quickly. In addition to substantial irrigation, lawns require mowing
between 35 and 45 times per year! For an immaculate aesthetic, harsh chemicals are
necessary for weed control, which for many are considered an unwelcome presence in
an HOA setting. Lawns also demand 4-6 applications of fertilizer per year, while other
plants not only survive, but thrive without such attention. Together, these factors make
lawn a less than ideal solution in a warm and dry climate.
ARE DROUGHT TOLERANT GROUND COVER AND GRASSES ARE HERE TO STAY?
Drought tolerant grasses and ground covers are quickly becoming firm favorites of HOA Landscape Designers, and here's why: They have deeper, more extensive root
systems than traditional lawn grass, making them resilient to minimal moisture levels.
This allows landscaping solutions that require a fraction of the water. Because of their
sturdy nature, they take up large spaces quickly with minimal care, maintenance and
irrigation. With such plant species, an attractive, architecture-complimenting aesthetic
can be created – as is already the case in many well-known communities.
WILL THE COST OF WATER EVER GO DOWN?
Unfortunately, this is not likely – especially when we consider that many of the public
agency’s and municipalities' infrastructures are outdated and in need of update. The
difficult reality is that the challenges of such water scarcity are likely to be felt most by
the consumer. Increased rates capture funds that will be called upon to replace
outdated and antiquated systems – not to mention the cost of transporting water
through canals and rivers, as this has a price tag as well. Within our region, water is
usually purchased outside of the area from another state and sold to water purveyors.
The purveyors then markup the cost and make a profit. In this sense, water rates
behave very much like taxes, and will continue to increase year after year. History, and
climate predictions, warn us that a downward turn is exceptionally unlikely.
At present, some cities and counties are passing on water increases that exceed 10 –
20%. With this in mind, we recommend embracing new trends that reflect the emerging
reality, rather than letting costs outpace your budget. When we reflect that it will soon
cost more to keep lawn green than replacing it with drought friendly landscaping – with
only a 3 - 5 year ROI – it makes sense to start planning for the new future!
If you would Like to Learn More About What FloraTerra has to offer, Call Us at 408.275.1200 – or Click Here to get in touch!
ABOUT OUR HOA LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE COMPANY
FloraTerra and its affiliates are based in San Jose, California. As a leading HOA landscape maintenance contractor in San Jose Ca, FloraTerra specializes in multi-family developments, since its origin the company and its affiliates have installed and maintain some of the most prestigious communities throughout the Silicon Valley, Metro area.
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