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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homeowners Associations powers have to be exercised more realistically

 Starting Sept. 1, Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in Texas can no longer prevent residents from installing native plants or drought-tolerant ones – a recognition of the severe drought that continues, and of common sense. 

Although homeowners may still need to submit design plans for approval, a bill passed by the Texas Legislature specifies that a design cannot be denied simply because it uses native plants, which help conserve water. This would include many varieties of native prairie grass, which are extremely drought-tolerant and don't require cutting. Also, there are hundreds of other native Texas plants and wildflowers which often offended HOAs because they aren't "customary" or "typical'.

"Water resources are going to get more and more stressed. It's good to get used to conserving resources by using native plants well adapted to the climate, says Andrea Delong-Amaya, horticulture director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Most plants, especially lawns, on the market require a lot of water and may be native to places like Japan, Argentina, Italy, England etc.

Estimates suggest about one third of the water used byTexas homeowners goes to landscaping. And much of that just evaporates in our heat or runs off, instead of watering the plant. Nationally, landscape irrigation accounts for more than 7 billion gallons of potable (drinking) water used daily. 


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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