Today we are going to talk about Home Owners Associations, commonly referred to as HOAs.
We understand that many people have strong feelings about HOAs. That’s not what we are going to discuss here. Instead, we’re going to explore the question, can an HOA tell you what kind of mulch to use in your landscaping? Many of the landscaping companies to whom we supply mulch are asked this question. We are as well from time to time.
First, HOAs exist for a reason. The point of an HOA and the rules that they enforce is to help maintain a consistent, good looking appearance to a community. When the community association is formed the HOA board comes together to put a set of rules in place. These rules provide guidelines on how and what the homeowners can do to their homes. The rules cover things like paint colors, landscape maintenance, and who is responsible for common areas.
The purpose of these rules is to help keep the property values high in the neighborhood. Commonly, when a neighborhood is kept in attractive condition, property values are higher than neighborhoods that have decapitated homes.
So, the question about mulch is an interesting one. This is because the HOA community rules can vary dramatically from community to community. The rules are made by the HOA board and while there are many common rules, there can also be some vastly different rules depending on the board. For example, some communities allow on-street parking where others only allow it during certain hours.
The same is true for landscaping and mulch. Some communities will have strict rules about the type and color of the mulch you can use, where others simply specify that you must use mulch. Others, still, might have no rules in place whatsoever.
The best move you can make is to seek out a board member and ask them if they can help you understand the rules related to landscaping and mulch applications. You could also review your HOA documentation. The HOA board is responsible for the documents that specify the rules for the community and if there are any restrictions to mulch type or color, it will be noted in these documents.
Also, you might want to see if your HOA has what is known as an “Architectural Review Committee” or an “HOA Enforcement Committee” or similar. The people on these committees would have a very good understanding of the community rules regarding your home’s appearance. Simply asking if the HOA specifies what type of mulch you can use should get you a clear answer.
Ultimately, the last thing we’d want for a homeowner in a community is to have any kind of violation from the HOA board. We recommend clear, open, friendly communication with your board if you have questions about what kind of mulch is allowed in your community.