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Subject: Yard of the month
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Author Messages
CindyB2
(Florida)

Posts:13


09/24/2006 7:40 AM  
All,
We would like to start a yard of the month program, does anyone have any input on this, such as what do we look for in deciding who is awarded yard of the month? Are there any set guidelines to follow?
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


09/25/2006 6:05 AM  
CindyB2,

I would be interested as well. I’m a recently elected BOD. I would like to implement something on the same lines. I think it would be best to do it quarterly ( four times a year every three months) A home owner would have to maintain there lawn the entire time, not just spend a couple hundred the last week of the month and win. I don’t think that all that fair. It’s a lot of hard work. I have given it some thought as to how the yard would be considered the best compared to what, or by whose standards? Should the board me the judges? Should their neighbors? I thought that a gift card to one of the many home improvement stores would be appreciated by the winner and to mention their name and address (if they would like) in the monthly news letter.

That’s what I would like. Who would be eligible? Would any of the board members be eligible to participate or would this too be a conflict of interest. HMMMMM. I maintain the appearance of my landscaping because, it will look good and it makes me and my family feel good. I wouldn’t mind getting a little something for all my hard work and a some acknowledgement.

I’ll be following along as you receive replies and suggestions.

Great question, keep us posted
Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


09/25/2006 7:03 AM  
From experience, it might be best to keep the HOA out of this. A good idea is to have a garden club involved in choosing the yard of the month and either they or a realtor give a gift certificate to a nursery or garden center. An assn. that I am familiar with, used to have YOTM chosen by the ladies' club, but on research found that only members of the ladies' club were winning the award. That is why the HOA decided to stay out of it. Probably, whoever does it should get permission from the board to put a YOTM sign in the winner's yard, and post it in the HOA's newsletter. The reason this is such a difficult area is that the inspector cannot and should not (since homeowners are paying for it) make a judgment about pretty. They should only make a judgement that something is a violation.
EdR
GeraldT1


Posts:0


09/25/2006 8:06 PM  
CindyB2,

I agree with EdR. Also, keep any gift giving out of the realm of the HOA. Let the landscape committee develop this and submit the criteria and write-ups to the newsletter committee. Try to get it structured so more than one or two people are recognized. You'll capture the success of owner plantings in each season if you do it quarterly. Don't forget winter, there's lots of things to plant depending on your climate/zone (hollies, pyrocantha). Other monthly notables are Spring (viburnum spring red berries, tulips, lily of the valley). Summer (hostas, rhododenron), Fall (sassafras/red and yellow brilliance).

All owners that maintain their yard according to the cc&r's are winners in my book. Those that go above and beyond but stay within the parameters serve as living examples for those who do not. Be careful of the recognition in that some may consider it discriminatory.

First step is to survey what's out there already. At the very least, the effort will get owners thinking and some may even take a little more pride in their surroundings.

That said, some criteria for judging landscapes are as follows:

Seasonal color/interest
Group/mass plantings
Curvilinear bedlines (best curves)
Geometric bedlines that enhance architecture
Green/healthy Lawn
Decorative Night Lighting
Creative Use of hardscape materials (pavers, trellises, etc.)
Fall brilliance
Appropriateness of Shade Tree location
Tallest impatiens.
Mums the word (most colorful)
Fragrant Borders (rugosa or saltspray rose, lilac)
Healthiest Plant in a shady area (vinca, sweet woodruff, ferns, violets, etc.)
Creative juxtaposition of plant variety

Best of luck!!
GeraldT1
NNJ

HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


09/26/2006 12:10 PM  
Are you trying to motivate owners to change, alter, add, re-do, their existing landscaping? If so, (at least for us) wouldn't they need to get approval from the ARC to even alter one shrub? If you are only trying to motivate the owners to maintain their existing, approved landscaping, doesn't the CC&Rs already mandate that and give the board the power to enforce it? So you're going to reward someone for maintaining their landscaping better than their neighbor? And if all landscaping remains unchanged and you award Mr. Smith's yard the best this time, what criteria would be used to find another "best" the next time? I guess I'm just not sure what you are trying to promote. Harold
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


09/26/2006 1:01 PM  
Harold:
That's why I posted that it would be best to keep the HOA out of the situation. You ARE already mandated by your CCRs to keep a nice yard. Frankly, years ago, there was a garden club, separate of the HOA. They all gardened and started sort of competing. A realtor got interested and when the garden club started giving a $25 gift certificate per month to the winner of the "prettiest" yard, they decided to entice everyone to have a beautiful yard. It has fizzled out in our assn. because after the garden club fizzled, the ladies' club took it over. Although I'm sure the realtor wouldn't mind continuing her own promotion by having her name on the gc, it became selective again, i.e., the LC was responsible for choosing the winner and they were choosing only LC members. Now, they have one contest per year--that is "best decorated for the Holidays" and they have first, second and third prizes. No matter what, for the HOA not to get involved in the choosing and awarding.
EdR
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


09/26/2006 1:03 PM  
PS: One other comment--our CCRs do not require approval to change landscaping other than getting permission to remove and replace a dead tree. However, some might, but this was only a matter of flowers, color, etc.,--nothing seriously permanent like changing from grass to rock gardens, etc.
EdR
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


09/26/2006 1:49 PM  
Ed - good for your association! In ours, she won't let us move a rock without her approval! But I agree: this is not something for the HOAs to be involved with. I keep wondering why these volunteers are always looking for more work to do. Harold
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