From Neighborhood Mitigation to Native Community Garden

A Homeowners Association realizes the full benefits of shared open space with thoughtful design and stewardship.

The Grand Prairie Crossing neighborhood Homeowners Association was tasked with managing a large amount of communally owned land throughout their community – a major attraction for homeowners there. The challenges were many: meet management goals mandated by the City, preserve natural habitat, mitigate the environmental impact of residential development, provide long-term invasive weed control, keep maintenance costs down over time, all while ensuring the beauty and usability of the neighborhood’s public green space and the considerable amount of landscaping adorning its streets. The HOA set out to find a contractor who specialized in habitat restoration and native planting, who would care as deeply as they did about the aesthetic of Grand Prairie Crossing and would be committed to careful coordination and budgeting over the multi-year lifespan of the project.

Phoenix Habitats is uniquely positioned to address the environmental and landscaping issues involved in large community development projects. Right down to our store of solar-powered, professional-grade electric tools, including chainsaws and mowers, our team of expert habitat restorationists is committed to bringing natural beauty into the lives of our clients using clean, carbon-negative practices. And, during a time of lockdowns and social distancing, we understand the importance of green space as a source of peace and joy. We presented a thorough plan, complete with renderings, design drawings and multiple native plant palettes, to the HOA board for each project area: multiple stormwater retention ponds, bioswales, and two large flat fields, each with a three-year budget projection with annual financial breakdowns. Finally, we proposed two unique, educational garden features designed to attract birds and pollinators and to be a source of safe exploration and inspiration, particularly for the community’s children. These plans were met with enthusiastic approval.

The project has benefited from working with a smaller, responsive design and restoration firm that has taken all of their concerns into account and addressed them with ongoing communication for all issues that come up.  We’ve taken a lead advisory position, helping to save the neighborhood several thousand dollars by recommending more ecological and less intensive strategies for achieving work goals performed by arborists and other contractors.  Our designs were drawn and provided in an enjoyable format.  They were asked to be posted in the community website and facebook groups for everyone to get excited about.  It’s gaining momentum in the community.  They’re thinking about establishing future community events around the gardens to bring people together and increase future involvement and stewardship.  To start, these might be events to help layout wood chip mulch for walking paths, and a community event to make hand written labels for each plant, so people know what the plants are and a little about their value for wildlife.  While they’re walking around the gardens, they’ll be able to see each other’s hand writing and feel more connected to the landscape and the plants as they grow over time.  The neighborhood has looked great, with repeated entries that are affordable with our smaller, more flexible company size.  This will have long term benefits with continuingly decreasing maintenance requirements over time.