New Braunfels NPSOT member Kathleen Scott was interviewed by Central Texas Gardener (PBS, KUT Austin) in 2022 about native planting within a restrictive HOA.
Ideally a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) exists to represent the community while protecting the property owners’ interests. Ultimately your property’s value is increased because of the enforcement of the agreed upon rules and regulations (deed restrictions). This sounds beneficial until you find yourself at odds with how they are interpreted and enforced when you incorporate native plants.
In part, the deed restrictions covering the home’s exterior includes general maintenance to prevent overgrown lawns, “weeds” and unkept exteriors. Traditionally, HOAs prefer the manicured green turf grass and appointed evergreen ornamentals. Changing the perspective of what constitutes an ideal landscape can have its challenges.
Let’s begin with an understanding by what we mean by a wildscape. A wildscape is a way of designing your home’s landscape to attract and benefit birds and pollinators by providing the required food, water, and shelter.
Dealing with your HOA
Beware / Be Aware of your Bylaws
There may be requirements covering what types of trees, plants, and shrubs that are allowed to be planted in your landscape. There are many alternatives in the native plant world that prove to be better substitutes for these typical landscaper choices.
Ask your local NPSOT Chapter for ideas on better choices. Or better yet, sign up for a Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP) class to learn more. Classes focus on the characteristics and plants of the region in which they are taught.
Partner with your Providers
The NICE Native Plant Partners program (in some areas known as Operation NICE!) is a collaboration between the Native Plant Society of Texas and local nurseries around the state to offer natives that are right for the local environment. As a Society, our members naturally appreciate native plants. With this knowledge we transform our lawns and gardens into wildscapes moving away from formal and structured designs with nonnative ornamental plants. However, all too often our NPSOT members find their HOA doesn’t see this as a landscape in keeping with the community’s deed restrictions and by-laws. As a native plant advocate, you can unite with others in your community and help them understand the benefits that come from using native plants for landscaping.
More about working with your HOA
Download “Working with your HOA” for detailed information about how to work effectively with your HOA.