Many people have heard of a new law passed this summer regarding landscaping and HOA requirements. This law was mostly regarding xeriscape or "Florida Friendly Landscaping". It requires that HOA articles being developed cannot restrict this type of landscaping. What this involves is:

  • Less grass and more planting beds containing "Florida Friendly" plants
  • Eliminating lawn and providing "xeriscape" lawns consisting of rock or other type coverage with appropriate planting.

Both solutions will REQUIRE architecture approval from the board/architecture committee. Justification should include detailed plant types and irrigation modifications - water reduction is the point.

What this law does NOT do:

  • Invalidate any existing HOA requirements for lawn or landscaping
  • State ANYTHING about grass types or determine what is or is not a florida friendly grass (sod, not grassy plants)
  • Allow home owners to select a different type of grass (real or artificial) for their lawn, just allows less of it. St. Augustine is still required for Hawks Ridge.
Here is an excerpt of a document explaining this from the state of Florida website:
  According to newly enacted legislation, homeowners’ association documents may not prohibit the inclusion of “Xeriscaping” or “Florida-Friendly Landscaping” provisions. The main concern for developers or homeowners who are interested in conserving water and protecting the environment would be the ability to enforce and amend these provisions in their community’s declarations of covenants. The reality of the matter is that since this topic is fairly new, not much case law can be found on the subject. Therefore, inferences have to be made from cases that deal with amending or enforcing restrictive covenants in subjects unrelated to water conservation or landscaping. First, rules included in the declaration of covenants are presumed to be valid since each purchaser had adequate notice of these before buying a lot and voluntarily chose to purchase lots encumbered by restrictions. Therefore, some provisions included in the declarations do not necessarily have to be deemed reasonable since the court will uphold them as long as they are not “clearly ‘ambiguous,’ applied arbitrarily, or violative of public policy or a fundamental constitutional right.  

Hawks Ridge guidelines for xeriscape or Florida Friendly landscape and materials.

For more information: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/yards/    http://www.floridayards.org/