SCSH Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC)
Update on Landscape Activities for the Fall Season
As many of you have noticed, there are ongoing changes to our Common Area landscaping. The objectives are to evolve the landscape theme to address the need to refurbish the landscaping that consists of shrubs and trees that were planted starting in 2003 in Phase 1 and completed in Phase 3 in 2016.
What we face: In order to make the community landscaping look well-established, the developer significantly over-planted each Phase. Shrubs were planted too close together to allow them to grow to their normal size, thereby necessitating frequent pruning to keep them from encroaching on walkways, streets, and buildings. The frequent pruning stresses the plants and results in woody stems and reduced foliage.
Trees were planted that were not appropriate for the limited space where they were planted (e.g. next to buildings and walls, in roadway medians, between curbs and sidewalks, and too close together). Consequently, the trees that encroach on the roadways, walkways and buildings have had to be severely and frequently pruned which stresses the trees and makes them susceptible to attacks by wood boring beetles and diseases. Further, our experience has shown that certain species that were planted do not tolerate the prolonged high temperatures we experience each summer.
Maintenance of the landscaping in the last five years has included significant efforts in removing shrubs to reduce planting density and introducing alternative species which are better suited to the desert environment.
As a guide to making decisions on replacement plant and tree species, the LAC has focused on three objectives:
- Enhance the appearance of our common area landscaping.
- Reduce maintenance costs.
- Conserve the use of water, particularly in the areas irrigated with domestic water supply.
To help guide the evolution of our landscape design, the Board of Directors approved the addition of a Landscape Coordinator (Ruben Servin) to the DRM Facilities Maintenance Staff and a Landscape Architect as a Consultant (Chris Hermann, Hermann Design Group, Inc.), who are experienced in dealing with the landscape challenges of the Coachella Valley climate. This team, along with our very experienced and knowledgeable landscape maintenance contractor, Vintage Landscape are working to achieve our objectives.
After discussions with Chris Hermann about the state of our landscaping, the challenges, and the desire to evolve to a more maintainable and suitable landscape for our location, he provided a design concept which is focused on integration of annual flowers, colorful flowering shrubs and drought tolerant species of trees, with desert plants and hardscape. Vintage Landscape also worked with the LAC to define a Plant Palette for our community which is based on species which are adapted to the climate. The photos below show the theme as designed by Hermann Design Group.
Demonstration planting on the north side of the Montecito Clubhouse.
Before Landscape Renovation
After Landscape Renovation
Applied landscape theme to Montecito Tennis Courts Entrance
Landscape activities this summer have included changes to the Phase 3 Main Gate the Jefferson Street Gate and landscaping on the north side of Sun City Blvd. in front of the Montecito Clubhouse and Fitness Center, the Montecito Clubhouse swimming pool and preparation for planting the fall color flowers.
The changes to the landscaping at the Phase 3 Main Gate were: (1) remove the plants and palms that had grown too large for the area; (2) lower the chlorine concentration in the water in the fountain so that over-spray of the plants did not kill them due to higher levels of chlorine; (3) add flowering shrubs (Xoria, Bougainvillea and Russelia) and decorative groundcover rock to the area around the fountain; (4) plant fall color flowers in the pots on the fountain; and (5) expand the color planting areas in front of the monument sign and along each side of North Sun City Boulevard at the entrance. The flowers are scheduled to be planted on October 18.
The changes to the Jefferson Street Gate include: (1) remove of the hedge blocking the view of the fountain; (2) prepare the planter in front of the fountain for fall color flowers; (3) add flowering shrubs (Xoria, Bougainvillea and Russelia) and add decorative groundcover rock; and (4) expand the planter bed in front of the monument sign and plant fall color flowers.
The changes on Sun City Blvd. in front of the Montecito area include: (1) remove dying Sumac trees and over-grown shrubs, (2) plant Golden Barrels, Bougainvillea and Russelia; and (3) add groundcover rock accents and species of trees yet to be selected.
The photos below are examples of the areas to receive flowering shrubs.
Note: All of these projects are in process and will be completed by early November. The hot summer months are not suitable for planting new plants and flowers, consequently we are waiting for the cooler weather to plant the plants and finish these projects. Planting of the flowers includes removal of the spring flowers that died in the summer heat, aerating the soil and adding fertilizer prior to planting. These are the flowers that the committee selected that will appear in the pots in front of the Montecito Clubhouse, the Montecito Fitness Center, the HOA office, and the SCSH entrance gates beginning October 18.
- Planter areas - Geraniums – a combination mixture of orange, hot pink, and violet
- Pots – Petunias - Shockwave Rose, Denim, and Violet
Enjoy the fall season!