A third consideration is the time period that the original landscaper maintains the landscaping until it is inspected and turned over to the homeowner’s association (HOA). If the builder makes this date 30 days after planting, for example, the builder economizes on the landscaping installation contract because the landscaping is covered by the HOA common area financial dues earlier.
If the original landscaper must maintain the newly planted landscaping for 90 days…this defers the point in time at which the expense of maintaining the landscaping is passed to the HOA…therefore remaining as a construction cost to the builder.
Issues other than costs to the builder affect this decision. If the builder simply wants to save money by getting the landscaping maintenance tab picked up by the HOA as soon as possible…few people will be sophisticated to recognize this…or have the opportunity to do anything about it. After all, the landscape installation contract is part of the construction purchasing phase, so the contract and its scope of work are negotiated long before any homebuyers or an HOA management company exist for the project.
On the other hand…the builder must sometimes play the role of an arbitrator between the landscape installer, the landscape maintenance company, the homebuyers, and the HOA management company.
This situation can occur when the landscape inspection walkthrough and acceptance transition is too close in time to the original planting date…especially when the landscape installation and the landscape maintenance are to be performed by two different companies.
At this early date…ground cover has not had enough time to fill-in…it is too early to tell whether some trees or plants will die…and the original installer has no control over the proper care of the landscaping once the project is handed over to the HOA…although a warranty period could still be in effect.
To avoid these issues…the original landscape contractor should maintain the landscaping for at least 60 to 90 days past the planting date. The original contractor can then control the survival of the plants and trees…and this length of time allows the planting to fill-in so that a clean transition can occur should another landscaping company be selected by the HOA for landscape maintenance.