Revitalizing a home landscape is a great thing—but there are often limitations on what can be done that don’t involve space or budget. For those of us who live in neighborhoods with home owner associations, there can be guidelines, rules, or covenants that work as a way of getting along with neighbors, as well as keeping everyone safe. Before starting a landscaping project, it is very important to review the neighborhood rules and processes to avoid conflicts and to protect yourself from having to remove a part of the project later.
There can be many rules regarding in-yard features: what types of fences and house paint colors are allowed, how close plantings can be to property lines, maximum heights of plants relative to line of sight, or even what types of plants can be used. Some regulations are made for protecting utilities and people, while others are agreed-upon rules that compromise tastes and desires between neighbors—what one person finds beautiful, another might find very obnoxious.
These personal preferences are true for all of our landscaping projects. We love to create amazing landscape designs that wow our clients and their neighbors, but sometimes not everyone sees the yard like we do. However, we always share a common goal—make the neighborhood safe and comfortable for everyone living there. We find that having a work-together attitude and developing good compromises means much can be accomplished.
Remember, though neighborhood rules are meant to be agreed upon, asking your neighborhood to change a covenant continues to be tricky for most. A third of the neighborhood may not have an opinion either way on a rule, a third may be all for changing it, and a third might not want to change anything. Discussing the rule may sometimes be the better option. Talk with people in charge of jurisdiction, and get written permission for any exceptions they grant. One of our clients put in a white picket fence around his garden, but only acquired verbal approval, and later had to remove the fence as there was no proof of permission. Backing up your steps with documentation means you can prove your process later and hopefully not have to remove a part of your project.
At the end of the day, the goal is to have the landscape of your dreams while getting along with your neighbors. If you have need of an experienced landscaper, email us or call (317) 997-4803.