HOA Landscaping Issues

April 07, 2011

Landscape design can be a very personal, opinion-based venture. That’s why designing common areas for a home owner’s association can be tricky. As a company with many landscaping accounts in Portland and Lake Oswego, we have experience dealing with HOA’s. A landscaper and the HOA want to make sure everyone is happy, but neither can be paralyzed by conflicting opinions. Whether you work for an HOA or are a landscape contractor, knowing the ins-and-outs of the operation will help make the process a smooth, enjoyable one. Here are a few items that both parties should be aware of before entering into a landscape management and maintenance project.

Plant Care

Both the landscaper and the association need to have a clear understanding of what level of HOA maintenance will be required for the plants that are going to be used in the design. Will the shrubs need monthly pruning? Will there be a lawn that requires mowing? Will there be a lot of allergy-inducing plants and flowers? Knowing what types of foliage will be used and how it will need to be maintained is an important first step in the landscape design process.


Did you know that shaping and shearing shrubbery will increase twig density at the surface and kill off the plant’s interior growth? Do you know what types of flowers will come back year after year and what types you will need to replant? Asking these types of questions about your landscape management that shows you are thinking about the future and don’t want to leave anything to chance.

Design Limitations

Before deciding on anything, you need to find out if the HOA has a design limitations. Some associations restrict outdoor lighting, while others require that only native plants be used. Making sure you have all the rules at the start can save you a lot of time later.


The key to a smooth HOA maintenance project is communication – between the HOA and the landscaper, and between the residents and the HOA. While not everyone’s suggestions will be made a reality, at least everyone can put their two cents in. Confirming the HOA maintenance and landscaping plan in writing, with clear obligations on behalf of the landscaper and the HOA, will also help control any problems in the future.

Contact Landscape East & West for your HOA landscaping in Lake Oswego, West  Linn, Portland and Beaverton.