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:
Here is an excerpt of a document explaining this from the state of Florida website:
- 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.
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
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/