Condo Media - August 2011 - (Page 24)

LANDSCAPING by Kelly Flagg Common Area Landscape Expenditures to Consider and When ne of the biggest challenges that condominium boards face regarding landscaping is when to invest in that landscape and how much should be invested. After many years of consulting and working closely with board members to determine what investments are most appropriate and necessary for each community, I have identified some common threads that all associations should consider. There are times when it makes sense and pays to invest in the landscape. At Turnover from the Developer: To some, this seems an odd time to consider investment in the landscape since: things are new; reserves are often low; the board has not yet adjusted dues; and often managers and boards are still getting their heads wrapped around the general expenses of the property. The reality is this; the two biggest line items in an association budget are insurance and grounds maintenance, but not necessarily in that order. It is a good idea at this time to do your homework and interview several landscape companies. Ask for local references including customers they have had for long term and customers they have gained recently. Look for a company that can both maintain and improve the landscape as needed. Look at this decision as an investment, rather than a commodity; if you are just looking for someone to mow the grass at the cheapest price, you may run into issues later with plant health and maintenance or what to do when the rest of the landscape needs attention. A full-service landscape company with depth of knowledge and skill, may cost a bit more, but will save you money in the long run. Find a company with whom you can form a relationship, so they can get to know your community and your community’s specific needs. Around Year Five: Most plant material starts to approach its mature size around the fifth year after planting. Now, consider for a moment that the goal of the developer is to sell units, while the goal of the owners and board is to keep things tidy. Neither is incorrect, but the two goals often create an issue in landscaping. In order to create an immediate effect, beds are often over planted as well as underspaced in new developments. To the untrained eye, this is not a problem because in year one, two and even three, it looks fantastic. The challenge for the community and landscape maintenance contractors typically O 24 CONDO MEDIA • AUGUST 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - August 2011

Condo Media - August 2011
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
Smooth Operations
Vendor Spotlight
Industry Perspective
Advertisers Index
Classified Service Directory

Condo Media - August 2011