Strawberry 1 HOA – Installing Xeric Landscaping

If you have been following our blog about the meaningful and sizable water conservation initiatives at the Strawberry 1 at HeatherRidge HOA, you will remember that our last posting detailed the installation of the brand new 0.8 gallon-per-flush toilets that replaced those old behemoths that consumed a full five gallons with each flush.  This posting in regards to the physical installation of our xeriscaping at the HOA comes just over a month after that last posting.  It really goes to show that these things take time!  With a property of this size and with so many residents on site, things do not always move along as fast as one may prefer, but the point is that the time has arrived and the new landscaping is being installed beginning tomorrow.  This multi-faceted sustainability project has really proved to be a powerful learning experience and I feel confident that future initiatives will be able to move along much faster now that potential ‘speed-bumps’ or required pauses can be predicted or even eliminated.  With that said, CAP Management and the residents of Strawberry are all very excited to be getting a fresh and sustainable new look at the homeowners association – one that will certainly be the envy of the other HeatherRidge area HOAs.

The first step will be removing the turf grass that currently occupies the sites where the new xeriscape will be installed.  Instead of sending this organic material to landfill, we will make a sustainable secondary use out of it by donating it to the composting operation at the HOA’s community garden.  The reintroduction of these rich nutrients will benefit greatly the garden and act as a reminder of the sustainability associated with keeping things local.  Afterward, the new plants will be introduced to the xeriscaping sites, of which this year there are two being improved.  These new plants will need to follow a preexisting design plan rather closely in order to qualify for the best possible rebate.  You may recall that this xeriscaping project, as well as the toilet replacement initiative, has been made financially feasible for the homeowners association by the generous rebates offered by the City of Aurora.  Because the city is providing so much funding for this project, certain rules are in place to ensure that the finished product meets their expectations.  The HOA gladly welcomes this, as the city officials have the master eyes and their conveyed expertise will allow Strawberry to proudly display the highest quality landscape.  By the end of the week there will be colorful perennials, interesting shrubs and attractive tall yet indigenous grasses in the place of formerly lackluster turf grass at the two gateways to the community along South Xanadu Way.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please look for these beautiful displays!

The landscaping team contracted for the job expects that all of the work will be completed by the end of this week.  This should give the xeriscaping officials representing the city enough time to ensure that the new plants and decorative features (i.e. boulders) are placed in line with their requirements.  After this initial inspection, the grounds will be covered with a variety of mulches.  In addition to using familiar organic mulch (i.e. wood chips and shavings) to increase moisture retention on portions of the landscaped sites, rock mulch will also be used to enhance the presentation of the displays.  Following this application, city officials will return to sign off on the project and authorize the rebate process.  It bears noting that, unlike the new toilets installed across the property, the rebate on the xeriscaping will not be 100 percent.  The City of Aurora rebates one dollar ($1.00) per square foot of new plant coverage, averaging a rebate of about 61 cents ($0.61) with our project.  While not optimal in the opinion of some, this reimbursement is still very generous and really was not the only financial motivation for the HOA to move ahead with this segment of the project.  The amount of money saved by dramatically reduced irrigation will over time pay for the remainder of the project.  A worthy investment!  While turf grass requires many gallons of water to remain healthy in our high and dry climate, the xeric landscaping will require almost no additional moisture beyond what it will receive naturally from the weather patterns that persist in Colorado.

CAP Management will be filming the installation process for the xeriscape at the HOA.  We will be doing so while Aurora city inspectors are present as to document the logistical aspect of the project in addition to the manual labor component.  We look forward to sharing the video on our website for all to enjoy.  Please visit www.capmanagement.com to view the video and all of our other related videos on environmental sustainability.

The installation of the xeriscape completes the succession of physical improvements at this Aurora homeowners association.  With more appropriate landscaping and bathroom fixtures and a flourishing new community garden to unite Strawberry residents around wholesome and locally produced food, this has certainly been a big summer for this HOA.  This will be the last blog on the installation phases of the project because as of the end of the week, this year’s enhancements to the community will be complete.  I will submit one more blog in about another month about this year’s project when the harvesting of the community garden’s bounty and subsequent harvest dinner take place.  I will also use that posting to cover any developments, if any, which might have occurred since this post.  You may also expect a report on the state of wellbeing for the xeric landscaping.  If you have any questions about this sustainability project as the Strawberry 1 at HeatherRidge HOA or are interested in learning how your homeowners association may realize similar benefits, please do not hesitate to call me, Alex Bergeron, at 303.832.2971 ext. 102.  Thanks so much for following!