Everyone wants to live in a healthy environment, and landscaping practices affect the health of residents and their pets at home. The health of local ecosystems, streams and drinking water sources and wildlife are all impacted by how these large swaths of landscape are managed. Landscaping practices can be more or less environmentally and economically sustainable.
Planting native trees, shrubs and perennials helps to reduce stormwater runoff and chemical pollution that hurts water quality, human health and the health of other life forms.
HOA Management is the Norm for New Communities
The new residential communities of Loudoun and many other counties in our region are managed by Homeowner’s Associations (HOA). In the PEC region, over 60% of Loudoun residents live in an HOA-controlled community. These communities encompass more than 10% of the total land area in Loudoun County.
Beyond Loudoun, in counties, cities and towns that have experienced the growth of new neighborhoods in the last 30+ years, HOA management is the norm for new communities. Understanding the how and why of how landscaping affects our health is critical to making better choices.
What is Sustainable Landscaping?
Sustainable landscaping is a way to landscape that works with nature; reducing pesticides and fertilizers, and taking advantage of plants that help conserve water. Native plants help to accomplish these goals and they’re good for local birds and pollinators, too. When planted in the right places (right soil, light and water conditions) they will grow and survive better than plants that come from other areas of the world.
While sustainable landscaping is not yet the norm for most neighborhoods, HOAs have an important role to play in creating common spaces that benefit the greater good in local communities.