Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Texas HOAs, Water Crisis in the Lone Star State

Today I was invited to participate in a press release meeting held by David Foster of the “Clean Water Fund” to discuss a recently published report (below) on the need for HOAs to make adjustments to their sod requirements as an act of water conservation. Irony being what it is, the need for water conservation was overshadowed by a rare rain event that resulted in a less than impressive turnout by the press, but the message was not lost. The state of Texas is in a state of crisis with our current water supply and this report covers the incredible statistics of HOAs requirements and addiction to sod.

With our current water supply in jeopardy, it is imperative that we reduce the use of water lost to irrigation. Sod accounts for nearly 60% of our annual drinking water usage and the need for change is more important than ever. I am very proud to have been part of a movement to change the current HOA rules in my neighborhood of Avery Ranch. The board members knew that creating an amendment to our CC&R’s (HOA covenants, conditions and restrictions) would require a majority vote of our nearly 3600 homes, so instead, they created  a “Variance” to allow up to 75% Xeriscape and as little as 25% sod in our front yards, with 100% Xeriscape in the back. This is a HUGE improvement over the 80% sod and 20% landscape that was allowed previously.

HOA boards have to create new rules and variances to allow home owners to make intelligent decisions to conserve our precious resources. By adding rules and regulations to the variance as Bob Beyer, a friend, A/R resident and Master Gardener drafted for us, neighborhoods can still regulate the change by restricting materials to be used, and by requiring approval by the architectural board.

This is not going to happen over night and it is going to take a movement by the people to force HOAs to come into the 21st century. If you are worried about the look of this change or the value of your home, then be an active part in what this looks like for your neighborhood. Xeriscape is beautiful, lush and colorful. Native plants invite native bees, require less water, less maintenance and when you have the right combination of plants, can look very elegant. There is a Xeriscape design for every home, and with a small, intentional lawn space, the lawn becomes more manageable, the over all landscape requires less water, less time for maintenance, no need for chemicals and with the extra time you have, you can sit in your garden and enjoy a lovely glass of water.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design ( “like” me on facebook)

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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  1. Wow! This is fantastic and you are amazing. I love how you are so passionate about what you do and what you stand for. It is people like you that really make a difference. Great post Lisa!

  2. Good for you LIsa – thanks for covering this. We are back and would you believe I cracked a rib – very painful. Went directly to ER and spent a day in the hospital upon return.

    Bob Beyer 15420 Whistling Straits Dr. Austin, TX 78717 (512)-238-6732

    • Oh no!~ That’s no fun, sorry to hear that , I hope the rest of the trip was nice at least 😉

  3. Scovill Allan

    I get so aggravated driving on Avery Ranch/O’Connor and seeing the sprinklers running in the hot sun while the water runs down the gutters into the storm drain. Do the people who operate them get a big discount on their water bills or do they just pass it on to the home owners?

    • Well there are a number of reasons why the irrigation runs at crazy times and I am afraid you will not like the answers. One is that they are watering the four corners at inappropriate times because they use reclaimed water and believe it can be used more indiscreetly. This is one place where I disagree with their policies entirely. Just because it is reclaimed does not mean you should waste it and water irresponsibly. You should never water at 3 in the afternoon, PERIOD! However, the street watering at random times is typically due to broken controllers that go off at the wrong time. Residents MUST call and report watering during the day and watering into the streets to the management company so they can correct the problem, This property is huge and it would be impossible to correct these mistakes without the help of residents. Always be sure to report broken heads, leaks and improper watering to the board and to the management company.

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