Best garden for our SW Florida Home Owners Association

Surprise outcome – residents social friendship soared

A grassy flat area near our Home Owners Association (HOA) pool was a great candidate for a 20 foot diameter oval best garden.

What could we plant there?

Our desire was to have flowery blooms in the winter season, colorful leaved plants, low maintenance, and not too costly. A tall order.

A couple of our residents wanted to work together, create a plan, plant the garden, and keep it looking beautiful. Great, they got the assignment.  The landscape team’s goal was for a Best Garden. They were pleasantly surprised at the real outcome.

But, the team did not know Florida plants and gardens. What did they do?

We were fortunate to have a Florida botanist on the team. She made the suggestion – “Let’s look at Florida Friendly plants. The University of Florida has several publications available with suggestions for Florida Friendly plants and bed designs.” So they did.

What’s in our best garden?

One publication, a guide for plant selection, shows Florida divided into 7 hardiness zones. With plant varieties identified by zone. Our SW Florida HOA is in 10a, a sub-tropical zone.

Our selection from the guide included a couple of small palm trees, a few plants with colorful leaves, shrubs with flowers blooming during the snow-bird season, and a colorful ground cover. It turned out to be a great selection. Yours can have a similar goal. But with a different selection mix.

Why do we call it our “best garden”?

OK, now the garden is blooming. It’s comforting, satisfying. Why is it our best garden?

Well, along came one of our association pool parties. The garden brought out positive, friendly conversation. It made the landscape team proud. But above all, the residents were socializing. They had some commonality to talk about. It was a magic atmosphere. Our resident community family was bonding. Interests shared. A simple act of planting a best garden did that? The garden brought our HOA residents together.

That’s why we call it our best garden. The garden created a pleasant, socializing relationship among our residents. And it’s still there.

No, we didn’t plant shrubs and groundcover that gave off mood changing aromas.

Another event happened – a residence sold for above fair market value

One of our residents recently sold his unit for health reasons. It sold for 14% above fair market value. The couple that bought it had a unit in a neighboring condominium association. They loved our HOA’s well maintained single floor units. And landscaping. But above all, they were intrigued by the cocktail hour laughter coming from the pool deck area. Their desire was to be part of a group socializing regularly and having fun.

They got it. And they thought they bought the unit at a bargain price.

Look what happened

  • A best garden with shrubbery residents are happy about.
  • A garden distilling friendliness and a cooperative spirit among residents.
  • A residence selling significantly above fair market value.

“Florida Friendly Landscaping adds beauty and creates pleasant outdoor living spaces to increase the value of residential property.” Gail Hansen, Assistant Professor, University of Florida.

What will happen to your association if you created a best garden?  

Find out. Get a team together. Access the Florida Friendly publications. Chat about it. Create a garden plan. Do it. Then enjoy the “WOW” factor.

By the way, the popularity of our President suddenly became awesome.