By Bob Gourley
Common interest communities spend a sizeable amount of money year after year on common elements that fall under the classification of Beautification. Everything from grass cutting to flower selection to addition or removal of trees needs to be planned for. Some communities have entire committees dedicated to keeping the grounds of the common area beautiful. Benefits of beautification efforts include enhanced everyday enjoyment and increased curb appeal to potential buyers. There is little doubt that a community that invests in beautification reaps rewards in many ways.
How do you tell your residents about your community’s beautification efforts? How can you get them involved in being a part of the ongoing job of keeping the community looking its best? I suggest that you use your condominium newsletter, HOA newsletter, bulletin board, and/or website to tell the story of the importance of beautification. It is a wonderful opportunity to encourage involvement and build civic pride.
In my community, we hold a Spring Planting Day and also host a small community vegetable garden. Here is a quote I use in the informational flyer every year to help promote involvement:
“Gardens, scholars say, are the first sign of commitment to a community…
And by their connection to the land, they are connected to one another.”
– Anne Raver, NY Times Gardening columnist
Not all communities allow residents to get involved in planting. Even in communities that encourage involvement, there will be residents who cannot or will not participate in the beautification efforts. I have found that even those that haven’t directly participated have been affected by seeing their neighbors exhibit a certain level of civic pride and involvement in their living space. Maybe they will pick up the stray piece of litter on the property or maybe they will turn the hose on a flower bed that needs a little extra water. The bottom line is that they have become connected to their neighbors by being connected to the land. And as the scholars say, they are showing signs of being committed to their community. Beautification certainly has tangible benefits. As community leaders, we would be foolish to overlook this simple opportunity to make our communities more cohesive. We aren’t just planting gardens; we’re growing communities and cultivating good neighbors.