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Community Landscape and Design Guidelines


To provide information and guidance related to the Association's Landscaping and Grounds programs.


The Landscape and Grounds program involves both common area and resident maintenance and repair for: 1) lawns, 2) shrubbery, small trees (<4” diameter) and plantings, 3) sprinkler watering, 4) large trees (>4” diameter), and community entrances.

Policy Statement

As required by the By Laws, the Forest Hills Community Association will provide landscaping and grounds maintenance services to the Common Areas, and contingent on resident’s agreement, private areas.  It is the intent of the association that those services will be provided to ensure, in priority:  1) safety, 2) compliance with law and regulation, 3) plant health, and 4) community appearance..


The scope of the Association's responsibility for Landscaping and Grounds has expanded over the years to service for both common area and individual properties. At the same time homeowners have been encouraged to take the initiative to beautify and maintain their own property and, with the approval of the Association, expand their efforts into the common areas. In order to determine precisely the delineation between common and private properties, it is necessary to refer to the individual property plat, or House Location Survey. This survey is a part of the property documents which accompany a sale or refinance transaction. Private property boundaries are clearly defined on the individual plat: all other property indicated on the plat and within the Forest Hills property boundaries is Common Area. Arlington County has an easement for streets and sidewalks and is responsible for their maintenance and repair. If a Homeowner has questions about whether or not a given tree or plot of ground is on common or private property, the Homeowner should provide a copy of the Plat to the ACC, so that the question may be clarified.


The Landscape and Grounds programs serve to accomplish the following: community aesthetics, and maintenance of property values.  Landscape and Grounds programs are continuous, not one-time activities. The Committee Chairs of Landscaping and Grounds, Tree Maintenance, and Sprinkler System develop contract specifications for contracts supporting their responsibilities.  These documents define the requirements from which the near-term and mid-term planning is developed in support of annual budgets.

Homeowners may, and are encouraged to:

  • Suggest, nominate and report on tree problems and pruning needs for trees and planting in both Common Areas and private property.
  • Annually provide instructions for the landscape maintenance (or opt-out) to include pruning of shrubbery on their private grounds.
  • Prune, trim or remove trees on their private property, at their own expense. Those trees planted within the property lines of the individual lots in Forest Hills are the property of the homeowners, but the Association will maintain those shrubs and trees, if the homeowner desires. However, it remains the homeowners' responsibility to remove dead or dying trees within their property lines. Coordination with the Architectural Control Committee is required for the removal of trees with a diameter, at ground level, of more than four inches.

The scope, rights, and responsibilities of each program (Landscaping and Grounds, Tree Maintenance, and Sprinkler System) are as follows:

The Landscape program has been in operating since the Association was established and utilizes a professional grounds maintenance contractor to provide the services required by the Association. At a minimum, and in accordance with the currently approved specifications, the Landscape Program will provide:

  • Care for all lawn areas in private and common properties, to include fertilizing, mowing, weed and pest control.
  • Leaf removal three times a year.
  • Pruning of foundation plants and shrubs, to Association standards, unless a specific request for a different care standard is made by the homeowner.
  • Turf and shrubbery replacements in the common area only.
  • Removal of storm debris from private and common properties. The Association will not be responsible for replacement of damaged or downed trees in the private properties.

The Tree Maintenance program was initiated in 1997 and utilizes a professional tree maintenance contractor with its certified arborist to provide the services required by the Association. There are approximately 550 trees that are managed as part of this program.  In company with the tree service contractor the Committee conducts a quarterly inspection of trees in both common and personal properties using a detailed tree inventory.  The inspections result in a task listing, by tree, for the quarterly maintenance.  Trees in individual properties are incorporated in the work list, unless the homeowner opts-out of the program.  Within budgetary limitations, the program will provide:

  • Tree maintenance (fertilizing, pest control, pruning, bracing, and cabling) of trees in both the common and private areas.
  • Removal of storm debris from common and private areas.
  • Removal and replacement of trees in the common areas only.
  • Removal and replacement of trees in the private areas is a homeowner responsibility with approval of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC).

The Sprinkler System program utilizes a professional irrigation maintenance contractor to provide the services required by the Association.  The program provides for maintenance, repair, and replacement, when necessary, of the sprinkler system in common areas only.