The Town of Castle Rock is creating regulations, education and programs to transform the front and rear landscapes of homes in order to make significant strides toward reducing water usage throughout the Town. The goal is to reduce daily water consumption while using landscaping that will enhance the streetscapes and provide unique character to each home. This document is a reference for conceptual designs. Commercial installation should refer to the Town of Castle Rock Landscape and Irrigation Criteria Manual for specific design criteria and submittal requirements.
State law requires HOAs to allow xeriscape
The recently passed Senate Bill 23-1278 requires HOAs to allow homeowners to install low-water landscapes.
The updated law provides stipulations for both the HOA and the homeowner. For instance:
- The HOA can enforce design guidelines including requiring 20% of the plantings to be high-water plants (e.g., turf grass).
- The HOA must allow at least 80% of the plantings in the xeriscape design to be drought tolerant if the resident requests.
- The law states that HOAs can prescribe the number of plants and coverage but does not provide specifics.
- The HOA can restrict artificial turf in the front yard, but not the back.
- The HOA cannot require hardscape such as rock, paths or patios to cover more than 20% of the yard.
The bill also requires an association to permit the installation of at least three garden designs that are preapproved by the association for installation in front yards. Castle Rock Water has some designs that the HOA can use.
Plant coverage requirements
Castle Rock Water does not prescribe any type, style, coverage or other component of landscape for the individual homeowner. Regulations for residents only cover irrigation and water waste.
However, there are Landscape Criteria (PDF) for developers installing landscapes in new homes or properties and for non-residential properties (like HOAs) who are remodeling landscapes.
When landscape designers create a plan, and when looking at plant specifications, the descriptions indicate the size of plant at maturity. If a homeowner wants 75% plant coverage, this means that in 3 to 5 years, the area should have that amount of coverage.
When designing landscapes, remember the perennial planting mantra:
- The first year, they sleep.
- The second year, they creep.
- The third year, they leap.
Castle Rock Water has rebates for HOAs and other non-residential customers to utilize to help reduce water usage.