Approved plant lists in Florida HOAs: Do you know yours?

Approved plant lists HOA
Creating a landscape plan without knowing what plants are allowed in your HOA is a waste of time.

Approved plant lists in HOA communities can be viewed as your friend or enemy. On one hand, they serve as established guidelines that facilitate landscape design by listing plants suitable to your area. They also help protect property values by managing the appearance of residential landscapes and common areas. On the other hand, some homeowners don’t want to be limited by any kind of list.

But the facts remain. Whether you’re planning a new-build installation or a renovation, knowing what’s on your community’s approved plant list before you meet with your designer benefits you in three critical ways:

  • Your landscape designer knows you’re serious about your project because you’ve invested time in doing your homework. You’re involved in the design process and have a say.
  • You’ll better understand what is being proposed (and what isn’t) and why.
  • Your landscape will be what you envisioned with no unpleasant surprises at your presentation meeting.  
approved plant lists HOA
Having an approved plant list facilitates informed collaboration between designer and customer.

“Having an approved plant list with a variety of choices actually makes the landscape design process more enjoyable and efficient,” explains ArtisTree Landscape Designer Clinton Lak. “It facilitates informed collaboration between the designer and the customer because everyone knows at the outset what guidelines must be followed to achieve a desired look.

“I’ll give my customers their approved plant lists so they can see the community’s design criteria ahead of time. It beats being the bearer of bad news at our presentation meeting and helps prevent disappointment.”

ArtisTree designers will ask their customers to cross off plants they don’t like on the list so they won’t waste time including them in the plan.

Approved plant lists: Exceptions to the rule

While some HOA communities are very strict with plant requirements, requests for other plants can still be made. “If a customer is adamant that they want something that’s not on the list, we can still run it through the Architectural Review Committee,” Lak said. “But it’s almost always a hassle since you have to go through multiple levels of approval. And even then, there’s no guarantee that the homeowner’s request will be approved.”

approved plant lists HOA
This ArtisTree-created landscape plan was thoughtfully designed while meeting community criteria.

What approved plant lists look like

Customers who take time to review their plant list will gain a true appreciation of all the criteria that landscape designers must consider before creating their plan. For instance, here are subcategories for approved trees (with just a small partial listing of species within each) in The Founder’s Club:

Canopy Front Yard Trees             Live Oaks

Canopy Trees                               Bracken’s Brown Beauty Magnolia, Florida Flame Red Maple

Evergreen Trees                           Southern Red Cedar, Torulosa Juniper, Loblolly Pine

Understory Trees                         Eagleston Holly, Ligustrum, Weeping Bottlebrush

Specimen Palm Trees                  Wild Date Palm, Silver Bismark, Royal Palm

Canopy Palm Trees                      Ribbon Palm, Washingtonian Palm, Cabbage Palm

Understory Palm Trees                European Fan Palm, Foxtail Palm, Windmill Palm

Where to find your approved plant list

ArtisTree designers will supply their customers with approved plant lists if they’ve worked with community residents in the past and/or have maintenance accounts there (and therefore access to HOA requirements). Otherwise, customers are asked to contact their HOA directly.

“In a perfect world, they will then send us their HOA’s approved plant list with notes on which plants they don’t like,” said ArtisTree Landscape Designer Elisabeth Owen. “That way we don’t waste time and can focus on a design plan that gets them excited and involved. That’s when a landscape really comes together — in an informed but creative way. The customer is happy, the HOA is happy and we’re happy.

“Unfortunately, some customers bypass looking at their approved plant list because it takes time or maybe it’s their second home and they’re just not around. In that case, we will still make our best recommendations based on their overall needs, their lifestyle and our company’s deep knowledge of local plant material.”

ArtisTree HOA landscape maintenance

To get your landscape renovation started now, browse ArtisTree’s portfolio and then call Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897, ext. 312, to meet with one of our award-winning designers. We proudly serve Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree also provides complete landscape maintenance services for HOA communities throughout Southwest Florida. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897, ext. 321, for your custom proposal.  

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