Apr 282015
✉ by Bob Vaughan, Chair, Landscape Committee


I wanted to share with the Homeowners an overview since December 2014 of the projects and activities of the Landscape Committee. As most of you know, the Landscape Committee of SMVE HOA is responsible for about 100 acres of the SMVE Common Areas. Four full time and two part-time volunteer Homeowners work together as a team of neighbors. This update shares the efforts of this terrific, convivial team who work to beautify and maintain the whole SMVE Community for all of us to enjoy each day, year around.

Let’s begin with the annual pre-emergent herbicide application in all the riprap areas of the Commons. We added the recently (2014) cleaned out ditches (East and West of Frassino) to the area for pre-emergent spraying. These new drainage areas, (13,800 ft2) of riprap, made the total for pre-emergent spraying about 286,800 ft2 at 37 separate sites in the Commons. This year’s herbicide application was completed and inspected in late February 2015.

It should also be noted that 2015 was the year the Board targeted for “major removal and replacement” landscape projects by the Landscape committee in the capital expenditure budget. Such a major construction list had not been done by the HOA in over 25 years. These previously deferred upgrades were now planned, bid, and implemented before 2016 when most capital expenditure dollars will be targeted for our private road “removal and replacement” efforts.

Homeowners have seen the joint project at the South Pool by the Maintenance and Landscape Committees that began in December 2014. As the South Pool was being re-plastered with “Pebble Tec” plaster coating, landscape work proceeded outside the pool area. The latter included a cleanup of both east and west sides of the parking lot, removing trash, non-native grasses, and dead brush. These areas then received a replacement irrigation system for native plantings, plus riprap drainage repair and new replacement Desert Museum Palo Verde trees. To control wind-driven desert dust, the area was dressed with crushed granite to enhance the overall beauty and street appeal to make the whole area “pop”.

An additional South Pool bid addressed the remediation of the drainage slope between the north side of the South Pool and the tennis court. River rock slope repair was constructed to curtail water flooding into the South Pool during the heavy summer storms. The follow-up landscape phase included the planting of additional cacti all around the South Pool hopefully to curtail vandalism and unlawful persons entering the pool area by climbing over the wrought iron fences. The initial cacti planting phase is complete but landscaping work will continue into the summer as common area cacti are trimmed and replanted at the South Pool periphery. With spring and summer growth, the new functional “cactus garden” should become more dense to function as a further deterrent to vandalism. Gravity drainage of the Kooldeck around the pool was completely reconditioned with grading construction and riprap application in the drainage areas.

The next phase of the South Pool projects concentrated on a bid to remove non-native grasses at the Territory entrance especially on the west side. In addition, as the South Pool maintenance was completed, a bid for cleanup and new drip irrigation lines was secured for inside the South Pool entrance gate. That complete project removed old and dead plantings then replaced them with new xeriscaping, low water use plants.

Next, the extensive cleanup along Territory Drive from via Gelsomino west to via Velazquez moved into Phase II by lifting and trimming about 24 native trees up to five feet to remove accumulated dead tree limbs. That major project focused especially on proactive fire abatement. This whole project stretched over 3 months as the southern extent of the HOA’s property was beautified along Territory. Such a project certainly was needed to clean up our community environment. This major landscape functionality also contributes immediately to enhanced property values for all homeowners. You will note this carefully planned and executed project begins at the refurbished Gelsomino cul-de-sac and progresses east toward the Gelsomino entrance at Territory Drive.

The whole “Territory Drive” area had been targeted for ongoing Roundup spraying of emerging green tufts of non-native grasses with subsequent removal over the next three to five months. SMVE HOA’s north side of Territory should begin to re-vegetate with the normal Sonoran desert landscaping over the next couple of years. I’ll keep you informed as the Landscape Committee efforts continue for 2015 beyond the spring and early summer projects.

Finally, I would like to add special thanks to Mike Jump who deserves accolades and kudos for his diligent hard work on the Landscape Committee. These really big projects require the expertise of the Landscape plus Maintenance Committees working effortlessly together. Additionally, I am especially grateful to our HOA Treasurer, John Marus, for working closely with me to track the numerous invoices that pay our contractors in an efficient and timely fashion.

Thank you gentlemen!