First impressions are very important when someone visits Sun City Shadow Hills. The drive into and throughout our community should be highlighted by clean and well-landscaped grounds. We all want our guests to think, “I wish I lived here.” And it’s vitally important to have prospective new homeowners feel Sun City is THE PLACE they want to live.
That’s where our Landscape Advisory Committee comes in, acting as the residents’ advocate, our watchdog to ensure Sun City Shadow Hills has lush foliage, gorgeous fountains, elegant lighting, and well groomed landscaping. Our community’s common areas include open space, parks, ponds, and fountains in all three phases; two clubhouses; the golf Pro Shop; The Shadows restaurant; and the walkways around the outside of the walls and around the gates.
When I attended a Landscape Advisory Committee meeting recently, I discovered how hard our Landscape Advisory Committee, composed of fellow residents, works in liaison with the HOA staff and our outside landscape contractor to preserve our common grounds as well as plan for future development.
The Landscape Advisory Committee is a very new group, established only about a year ago with the support of our HOA President, Stu Stryker. The Committee’s purpose is to maintain and improve the visual attractiveness of the common areas in our community, establishing a landscape that increases our property values. Committee members work closely with and advise the HOA staff and our landscape contractor about areas needing attention. In this way the Committee’s inspectors offer an additional set of eyes to target problem areas, and their enthusiasm and creative imaginations champion change.
Our landscape environment encompasses not only plants, trees, bushes, and grassy areas but also lighting, trash and blown sand clean-up, fence repairs, gravel maintenance, and pest control. Dead plants and downed trees need to be removed and replanted, and broken or clogged sprinkler heads have to be replaced. And these are just a few of the everyday maintenance tasks.
The Landscape Advisory Committee’s teams of two inspect designated areas on a monthly basis. These are Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III plus a separate component called Special Areas, which are around the clubhouses, pools, golf Pro Shop, and restaurant. Most inspectors spend several hours a day for two to three days prior to the monthly meeting canvassing their assigned areas. Having met the inspectors, I’m sure they keep a close eye open throughout the month as well. (I caught Shari Woodbridge weeding her cactus garden near Sun City Boulevard and Camino San Mateo.) Please note: the golf courses are handled entirely by an independent landscape group.
As you might expect, many of the Committee members have extensive knowledge of landscape management, design, development, and maintenance while others come from completely different career backgrounds. What they all have in common is a deep interest in maintaining and improving the landscape throughout our community. While the Committee members are knowledgeable about present plantings, they are becoming well versed in the latest plants, flowers, trees, and vegetation that thrive here in our desert climate as well. As the Coachella Valley moves toward water conservation and an emphasis on a sustainable desert environment, the Committee, HOA staff, and community landscape contractor replace dead or damaged plants and trees with native and climate-tolerant landscaping.
Thinning out overplanted shrubs and trees isanother area for improvement. The Committee is dedicated to opening up areas around trees and shrubs throughout the community to allow for more natural, attractive pruning.
At monthly meetings each inspector presents a detailed written report, often with pictures for visual impact, pointing out problem areas. The HOA staff and the outside landscape contractor’s representative attend these monthly meetings taking copies of the reports to review and act upon. Individual residents can also bring issues to the attention of the HOA by filling out an HOA Concern Form. The General Manager then brings these resident issues to the attention of the Committee.
Maintaining the community common grounds is a big job and takes extensive monitoring. In addition to the monthly inspections and reports, Committee members, HOA staff, and the outside landscape contractor also do a four- to five-hour quarterly walkthrough inspection for their sections on a rotating basis.
Long-term and more extensive landscape projects are discussed, planned out, and budgeted for while smaller immediate concerns are handled more timely on a case-by-case basis. At the monthly meetings, a list of Committee recommendations for improvements is provided to our HOA General Manager, Judie Zoerhof, who then presents them to the Board. When approved, implementation starts.
Sun City residents can be sure the Landscape Advisory Committee is planning and planting for the future.
Author and Photographer, Beth Bolduc
From the VIEW