Spring has sprung and there is no better time to add some much needed color, shade, or visual interest to your outdoor common spaces. Flowers, trees and other greenery add a friendly touch and a curated feel to spaces.  They also evoke a sense of pride and thoughtfulness in the neighborhood, making the members of your community feel lucky to live there, and one that others wish to be a part of.  While all this is true, no one wants to spend large amounts of money and time, year after year, to maintain finicky flowers.  So, what is an aesthetic-aware HOA to do?  Here are some prime examples of foliage that top the list of low maintenance, high impact that will help your association stand out and show off.  


Shasta Daisy

These classic flowers are a perennial which means that they will come back every year in the spring or early summer and will continue to bloom through the early fall months.  They are a hearty plant, in that they can withstand particularly cold winters and still bloom again, as the snow melts away.  These beauteous blooms are also great in areas that receive full sun, or light shade.  Be sure that they are planted in soil that has adequate drainage, even in the winter.  Soil that remains too soggy can lead to rot.  To sum up, they are low-maintenance, durable and, of course, beautiful; what’s not to love?


If you have a particularly sunny spot in need of some sprucing up, you should consider the Rudbeckia.  This plant is also commonly referred to as Black-eyed Susan, in reference to the dark brown colored center of their flowers.  These pretty perennials look like something between a daisy and a sunflower, with their cheery yellow petals.  Rudbeckia bloom from June through October, and attract both bees and butterflies, while repelling bunnies and other would-be garden medlers.  


These iconic beauties regularly make an appearance on the lists of most low-maintenance flowers.  Given that this classic flower can be grown in a variety of colors, you can create a vibrate, beautiful space, with this one plant alone.  When purchasing plants, or growing from seed, be sure to choose the perennial version, rather than the annual.  Considering that there are over 300 varieties of geranium, all different colors, heighth, and requiring varying levels of sun and shade, there is sure to be a variety (or seven) that will suit your specific space and needs.  As an added bonus, geraniums are known to attract butterflies, another sweet addition to your quaint aesthetic.  


If flowers aren’t your cup of tea, but you are still looking to add visual interest and dimension to a piece of land, or, perhaps you are looking to add some additional greenery along with your blossoms, then look no further.  


Ferns are some of the oldest types of plants found on the planet, so it stands to reason that they have evolved to thrive in a variety of locations and can survive with the help of, or in spite of, the best intentions of an inexperienced gardener.  Most ferns prefer indirect sunlight, which makes them perfect for planting at the base of trees, or on the shadier side of common buildings.  However, some varieties, such as wood ferns (including the autumn fern and the leatherleaf fern), are tolerant of a wider range of sun conditions, from full shade to full sun.  Like the other plants we have mentioned, ferns are perennials, making them the preferred choice for the gardener who prefers a  more “hands off” approach.  


These perennials have a long life span and are easy to grow and maintain, making them a favorite of both expert and amateur horticulturists alike.  Hostas come in hundreds of varieties, ranging size and leaf color and shape.  In general, Hostas prefer areas with some shade, but there are some varieties that will do well in more sunny spaces.  Be sure to plant in solid that receives good drainage, and provide around one inch of water per week, whether from rainfall or from watering.  


While flowers and ferns are great additions to community spaces, they can be (somewhat) easily changed, moved or removed, if necessary. Think of these as piercings: pretty adornments that can be removed, when needed. Trees, on the other hand, are a bit more of a commitment and should be treated thusly.  Trees are the tattoos of the plant world and, as such, there are many things to consider before committing.  Take your climate into consideration.  Trees like magnolias, with their big, white blossoms make a big impact, but will only really thrive in warmer climates like the southern US, so planting them in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is probably not the best idea.  However, Trees like Maples and Evergreens have a much more widespread area of growability, and are relatively easy to maintain, while still making a big impression.  You’ll also need to think about the space in which you plan to plant.  Your choice of tree will vary greatly if you are looking to plant in a smaller space, lining the street, or a wide, open green space like a park.  The size of the tree, when it reaches full-height, as well as the behavior of the roots will need to be considered in these situations.  

So, get out there, break up the dirt, turn on the sprinklers and awe the residents of your neighborhood with a dazzling display of agricultural awesomeness.