HOA Landscape Retrofit – Spacing for Planting

Tight landscape beds require careful plant selection.

I am in the process of retrofitting the foundation plantings for the Spring Creek Townhome Association in Colorado Springs.  The original landscape designer or landscape architect had specified plant material that did not fit the space it was given.  This is a common mistake with new neighborhoods and homeowner associations (HOA’s) where the home builder requires an instant landscape in order to make the homes seem more attractive.  Generally, the catalogs provided by the local nurseries provide a maximum size for plantings.  However, there are instances where there is such a range that the nurseries narrow it down in there catalogs on a “typical” basis.  One such instance, also a plant that was an issue in this particular Spring Creek Homeowner Association (HOA), is the Blue Mist Spirea, (or Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blue Mist’). According to Little Valley’s Wholesale Nursery Catalog – 2011, this plant is to only grow to be 2-ft to 3-ft in spread.  A Blue Mist Spirea can grow to be much larger than this.  I have seen Blue Mist Spireas in excess of 8-ft in height and spread in Colorado.  When you have an area for planting that is in some instances only 18″ in depth, plant selection is crucial.

Spring Creek is a neo-traditional neighborhood where setbacks are minimum and front porches range from 18-in to 8-ft away from the sidewalk.  This planting space is important and additional consideration should be given.  Even with a generous 6-ft sidewalk, a plant could easily overpower the entire sidewalk in one growing season if it is allowed to.


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