QUESTION: We’re interested in converting portions of our front and back yards into xeriscaping and other drought-resistant landscaping.  We read in a SAWS Garden Style Newsletter that HOA’s cannot prohibit such landscaping.   Is that true?

ANSWER: Yes, with a caveat.   While Texas Property Code 202.007, prevents HOA’s from prohibiting the installation of “drought-resistant landscaping or water-conserving turf,” the Texas Legislature also allowed the continued use of the HOA Architecture Review Authority (ARC) to review significant changes to existing landscaping, including drought-resistant landscaping.  The ARC review is intended for homeowners to “obtain pre-approval of such landscaping or turf to ensure, to the extent practicable, maximum aesthetic compatibility of such landscaping or turf with other landscaping in the subdivision, but an HOA’s approval may not be unreasonably denied or withheld.”  Our Consolidated CCR’s were annotated to reflect Section 202.007 and other related State codes, as reflected in Article XIII, Landscaping:




In connection with the initial construction of a residence, or significant landscape changes/improvements made thereafter, each Owner will furnish the ARC a detailed landscaping plan prepared by a professional landscape firm/designer. The elements proposed in the plan must be of a scope and quality consistent with the neighborhood. Any proposed departures from typical landscape schemes (i.e., xeriscapes, rock ground cover, etc.) must be approved by the ARC prior to design and installation. The ARC shall be the sole judge as to the adequacy and appropriateness of the landscape plan.

. . .Upon approval by the ARC, owners may implement measures promoting solid-waste composting of vegetation, including grass clippings, leaves, or brush (compost bins), or leaving grass clippings uncollected on grass, and may use drought-resistant landscaping or water-conserving natural turf.

[Note: italicized text and deleted text reflect annotations to our Consolidated CCRs generated by changes to the Texas Property Code by the Texas Legislature]

Texas Property Code 202.007, addressing HOA covenant restrictions, also includes the following, relevant to landscaping improvements in an HOA:

Section 202.007(d) “does not 

     (3)  prohibit a property owners' association from regulating the installation of efficient irrigation systems, including establishing visibility limitations for aesthetic purposes;

     (4)  prohibit a property owners' association from regulating the installation or use of gravel, rocks, or cacti;

     (5)  restrict a property owners' association from regulating yard and landscape maintenance if the restrictions or requirements do not restrict or prohibit turf or landscaping design that promotes water conservation...”

These periodic CCR discussion topics intend to remind residents of The Springs of the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCR’s) that apply to all Springs residents solely by our election to live in this community. The purpose of the CCR’s is to maintain specific standards for the good of us all, as articulated in their definition:

“THE SPRINGS AT STONE OAK is encumbered by these Restrictive Covenants for the following reasons: to seek to achieve the best and highest use and most appropriate development of the property; to protect lot owners against improper use of surrounding lots; to preserve so far as practical the natural beauty of the property; to guard against the erection of poorly designed or proportioned structures of improper or unsuitable materials; to encourage and secure the erection of attractive improvements on each lot with appropriate locations; and to secure and maintain proper setbacks from streets and adequate free space.”
If you are a Springs resident who has misplaced your copy of the CCR’s or Bylaws, or are a new resident who wasn’t provided a copy by the previous owners or your realtor, you can view (and download in Adobe Reader [.pdf] format) the complete Springs CCR’s and By-Laws at the Consolidated Bylaws and CCRs section of this website, located in the Pages & Links tab.