You may find yourself looking at several bids on the table, detailing landscape maintenance plans for your Greater Chicago homeowners association (HOA).

As you look at these HOA landscaping bids, you have to compare the similarities and differences and make a final decision. But, unfortunately, no two contracts are worded exactly the same, making this process challenging, adding to your already long list of to-dos.

At the end of the day, you just want to hire a commercial landscape maintenance company that has the same high standards for quality work that you do on other areas of your property. After all, the landscape firm you hire will be a partner – an extension of your property management team.

We understand that the pressure you feel making this decision can build up.

Don’t panic. We’re here to make this process easier for you. Let’s look at some things you should look for in an HOA landscaping contract so you can focus on these necessities when reviewing bids.

HOA Landscaping Guidelines

The HOA landscaping contract agreement is signed by the area’s homeowners association and the landscape maintenance company doing the work. As such, it must be thorough, detailed, and understood by both parties. You have standards, and they should be represented.

Typical HOA contracts in Greater Chicago are approximately eight months in length, running from early spring until late fall each year.

These are some of the biggest areas of concern we see when working on HOA properties. Keep them in mind when reviewing your HOA landscaping contract.

Contract Service & Scope

Mowing, edging, fertilization, pruning, mulch installations, spring and fall cleanups -- your HOA landscaping contract should naturally list the services that your commercial grounds maintenance professional will perform.

landscape maintenance crew member weeding a planting bed near a pond at a Chicago HOA

But how often are these services performed? And what locations are included? Common areas only or sections of individual properties as well?

Your contract should include the basic services, as well as any additional value they include. Edging and pruning, for instance, should be mentioned as included services, so you aren’t nickeled and dimed for these tasks later.

When reviewing your needs with your commercial grounds maintenance professional, outline your expectations for how you like your lawn mowed, as well as any specifics necessary for special areas. For pruning, discuss areas that are important for visibility that you’d like kept clear. Cleanup may involve removing fallen branches, as well as picking up trash in common areas. Think about what areas you’d like freshly mulched each year to keep your property looking sharp.

Frequency is also important to discuss. Mowing may be weekly, but pruning may be something you want done when there is overgrowth.

These are details a landscape professional should be happy to discuss with you so expectations and HOA landscaping contract details are clear.

HOA Landscaping Costs

Not every HOA landscaping bid will be apples to apples when it comes to prices.

There will be some that come in higher and others that come in lower. Figuring out the differences between them can be challenging.


Opting for the lowest bid is not always the right choice. These companies may charge for every extra thing and nickel and dime you later, raising your price for the services you actually want. A quality commercial landscape company in Greater Chicago will provide a full package that includes all the services you need and specifies those costs.

Specific Maintenance Areas

An HOA, as you know, is a unique and complicated commercial property, so you must determine key HOA landscaping guidelines based on areas that your service professional must maintain.

For instance, on some HOA properties, common areas are the focus, and individual yards are left to the care of homeowners. On other HOAs, the maintenance fees include grass trimming of individual front yards, as well as common or shared areas, while back and side yards are left to homeowners to manage themselves.

Your HOA landscaping contract should outline which areas you want maintained and which ones you don’t. A community map can help you easily and clearly mark these areas so there’s no confusion.

Landscape Plans & Rules

An HOA attracts residents and retains them by having a look and feel that is all its own.

As such, an HOA landscaping contract should outline specifics in landscape design and maintenance that are important to the HOA’s brand and reputation.

commercial lawn care technician spraying lawn area of an HOA

For instance, you may want to provide your landscape services professional with a plan that dictates a plant palette that you want them – and the homeowners – to adhere to. This keeps the community looking uniform and consistent. If you don’t have a plan like this, your landscape professional should be able to help you create one for your HOA.

Communication & Partnership

With your HOA, not only is there an HOA board to satisfy, but there are also residents within the HOA who ask questions and nitpick services.

An HOA landscaping contract should outline methods for property owners to talk with the commercial landscape company to correct problems or answer questions. This ensures everyone is happy with the process and knows how to respond or take action when necessary.

Your commercial landscape professional should know how to work with and respond to your HOA board members and homeowners. This helps maintain property and community relationships. This can be a tricky area. You may have one resident who likes to talk to the landscaper every week to protect a tree they don’t want pruned or ask a bunch of questions, while others leave them be.

Your landscape professional should be able to keep the peace, making residents happy, while also getting their jobs done well. When your residents are happy, your HOA board is happy.

commercial landscape planting bed with perennials trees and shrubs

It’s also helpful if the same crew leaders and crews are on your HOA property regularly because they know it best and can build those relationships, remembering key areas of concern around specific residents’ homes.

Get the Best HOA Landscaping Contract For You

You can never ask too many questions when you’re reviewing your HOA landscaping contract. If you’re getting to the point of signing and you are still unsure of some specifics, that’s not a great position to be in. Don’t be afraid to drill down and analyze bids so you feel confident when you make your final decision.

This process should also be about building confidence in the commercial grounds maintenance service partnership you're creating and building.

We understand it can be hard to find the right partner that truly empathizes with the unique challenges of your HOA. But the work must get done, and KD Landscape wants to help you make the most informed and best decision for you.

Want to learn more about our HOA landscape maintenance services in Greater Chicago? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can feel confident and make a great choice.

Guide to Hiring the Right Commercial Landscaping Company

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