It’s time for Bay Area HOAs to bloom again. Color in landscapes not only lifts spirits, but improves property values. Adding xeriscapic flowering plants to the common areas of HOAs is also a good way to celebrate the end of California’s four-year drought.
Xeriscape is the art of selecting plantings that are adapted to the highs and lows of regional precipitation patterns. However, even if a plant is well-known for being drought resistant, it needs regular irrigation in its first months for deep and healthy root growth.
Thanks to last winter’s abundant rains, Gov. Jerry Brown issued executive order B-40-17 in April, declaring California’s drought emergency at an end and relaxing watering rules. This makes it possible to refurbish the landscaping of HOA common areas with a multitude of beautiful low-water perennials, ornamental grasses and turf substitutes.
Working With Nature
Aside from watering laws being relaxed, now is a good time to improve landscaping because autumn is a premium time for planting.
Summers are hot and dry, whereas winters are warm and wet — except, of course, during drought conditions — in our Mediterranean-type climate. Soon, air temperatures will cool and seasonal rains will arrive to soak soil that remains warm. These are excellent conditions for growing plants.
Planting at the right time of day and season is one of Serpico’s rules. Putting the right plants in the right places is another way we cooperate with nature through a landscaping process we call waterscaping.
Supporting Your Custom Landscape in the Fall
Waterscaping involves careful irrigation management and strategic selection of lovely yet drought-resistant perennials and evergreens that endure from one growing season to another. We protect them with mulch in a way that conserves water yet avoids moisture damage to their crown and roots — one vulnerability of low-water plants.
Our planting suggestions take into account Bay Area microclimates, from the fog of San Francisco and San Mateo counties to the semi-arid conditions in Santa Clara County and the eastern edges of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. A low-water plant that is perfect for one area may not be the best choice for another.
Add artful maintenance to this package of services, and you almost have the complete picture of how we protect your investment in HOA improvement.
That’s right — almost. We don’t just collaborate with nature; we collaborate with the real estate investors, board members and community managers that help HOAs succeed. We help you achieve appealing landscaping that is within budget and complies with government laws and association rules. Together, we select the best planting, watering and maintenance plan for your common areas.
Finding the Right Plants
So, how does Serpico know what plants to suggest for your part of the Bay Area? The answer is partly our experience and a knowledgeable staff. However, we also access lists of low-water plants, many of which are maintained by local counties, communities, water utilities and organizations such as the California Native Plants Association.
Native plants have histories stretching back to the time before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. CNPS notes that these plants co-evolved in a complex web of survival with “animals, fungi and microbes.” They survive the ups and downs of our state’s water cycles, from drought to abundance.
If you visit the CNPS Calscape page, it offers you the option of searching for a list of plants native to your address or city and then further divides the plants into categories, such as a list of low-water choices. If you compare the photo gallery of natives for San Francisco to those for another subclimate within the Bay Area, such as Livermore, you discover differences. The SF listings include salt-tolerant plants, whereas hotter, drier Livermore has more chaparral flowers. But they both have the tough yet delicate-looking California wild rose (Rosa californica).
Many nonnative, drought-tolerant plants also grow beautifully here, especially ones from other parts of the world with Mediterranean-type climates. Here are a few Bay Area plant lists you may want to view:
- Alameda County Master Gardeners Earth Friendly Demo Garden
- Contra Costa Water District
- Santa Clara County Master Gardeners
- San Francisco Public Works
- San Mateo County
Putting It All Together
Serpico is skilled at coordinating, installing and maintaining all the elements of attractive, environmentally friendly landscaping for HOAs. We can also help you identify sources of rebates and discounts. Call us today at 866-282-0341 and we’ll help your community flower again.