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Spring is just around the corner – Is your yard Ready?

Spring is just around the corner – Is your yard Ready?
By Collene Cordova, IHCA Owner Services Coordinator-Compliance

It seems like only yesterday that we were experiencing record high temperatures; lawns were dying and the crane flies were busy destroying the parks and streetscapes. Hopefully this year Mother Nature will be kinder to the Pacific Northwest. Spring has sprung and it’s time to start thinking about yard maintenance and what needs to be done now so that you have a beautiful lawn throughout the summer and avoid those pesky landscape violation notices. Honestly, we do not enjoy sending out violations.


Over fertilized lawn on the left vs. a healthy, light meadow green lawn on the right.

Many of our homes were built years ago. The builders installed plants that have since become overgrown and yards are overcrowded. Often shrubs that were planted in front of the windows have become seriously overgrown and are blocking your view, prohibiting light from coming into your home and also providing a good place for burglars to gain access to your home unnoticed. Per the Community Wide Standards (CWS) Trees and large shrubs should be located to avoid blocking views from interior rooms or adjacent properties. It is not necessary to relocate the tree or shrub, simply trim back the shrub so that your home has a neater appearance. Smaller front yards will appear bigger and more proportionate when the shrubs and trees are trimmed to fit the space. Should you feel that you need to remove plants, please contact Erika North at and see if ARC (Architectural Review Committee) approval is necessary.

Due to heavy rains this winter, many lawns have become overrun with moss. It often grows in bare spots where the grass has been damaged, under overhanging tree branches where the grass receives little sunshine, when the lawn is too acidic, or is overly compacted and has poor drainage. The moss will not disappear on its own. March is a great month to apply an organic moss killer. There are many brands but an effective moss killer contains iron and potassium salt. Follow the directions carefully and aerate your lawn to increase drainage.

Once you have treated the moss, it is now time to reseed your lawn if you have any bare spots. In less than one month your bare patches will have new sprouts and it will be safe to mow. During the month of April you will see a steady increase in the growth of your lawn and you can begin applying fertilizer in May. Use an organic or slow release fertilizer. The goal would be to achieve a lawn that is the color of light meadow green. A deep blue/green lawn is a sign of an over fertilized lawn. It may be necessary to mow more frequently in spring but that will taper off as summer progresses. Hang in there; this growth will make your lawn lush and able to withstand the summer heat (I’m really hoping for sunny summer but a few days of rain would be okay too).

Typically a lawn only needs one inch of water a week to stay green. If you would like a green lawn, put out a few empty tuna cans which are approximately one inch deep, turn on your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill the cans.  This is how long you would need to water each week. It is not a requirement to maintain a green lawn. You may allow your lawn to go dormant in the summer but make sure that it doesn’t die.

Above are just a few tips to help you maintain your lawn and landscaping.  The IHCA will be sponsoring a Landscaping Seminar on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at Blakely Hall. All are welcome to attend and bring landscaping questions.

Landscape SeminarIHCA Lanscape Seminar smiley lawn
Wednesday, March 30th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Blakely Hall

Presented by the IHCA. *Refreshments will be served* *Drawing for a Home Depot Gift Card* Pointers on how to get your yard ready for the summer months and how to avoid those pesky landscape violation notices. Contact with questions.

After a long, cold winter it’s that time of year that many people start thinking about doing some creative improvement projects around their yards. Remember, whether it’s a large or small landscape renovation,  making your deck or patio bigger, changing the color of your home, or just installing a satellite dish, all changes to the exterior of your home or yard need approval from the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) prior to starting the project. The ARC has been working diligently through the years to make the approval process as easy and painless as possible and continue to make improvements to better meet the needs of this vibrant and innovative community.65

As the days get warmer and longer, the ARC gets progressively busier with the number of applications to review. During the busiest times they can review more than 30 a month. To expedite approval on several different types of applications, the process has been simplified so the decision is almost immediate. These projects include installation of satellite dishes, air conditioners, fences and small landscaping projects. If you are painting your house and using the same colors there is no need to submit an application, but any color changes do require approval.

4Landscaping projects are especially popular during the spring and summer months. To help residents with designing small projects, a section of the ARC Guidelines has been created to offer simple plant layouts and plant selections. There are also sections for preapproved fences styles and colors, and trash can enclosures.

The committee also re-evaluated the fee structure for application approvals and two years ago lowered the basic fee from $35 to $20. Projects requiring outside expert consultations may require higher fees.

Please remember, whether it is a simple satellite dish installation or doing a complete landscape renovation, you must get prior approval from the ARC. All applications and guidelines can be found on the website,

7.Issaquah Highlands Use Restrictions & Rules Reminders:

Turf Standards:  Turf should be maintained in a manner generally uniform throughout the community. Turf must be edged when adjacent to any hard surface and regularly maintained. Turf may not grow over sidewalks. May be allowed to go dormant in summer but if patches of grass die, they must be repaired with either sod or seed. Turf may be replaced with alternative landscaping on approval by ARC.The look should be similar to streetscape lawns generally free of bare patches and weeds. Grass clippings are permissible to remain after a mow to encourage green lawn maintenance practices. Turf must be kept at or less than a height of 4” inches. Thank you for doing your part.

ARC tip of the month….
Did you know…If you are having trouble keeping your lawn looking good due to poor sun exposure or any other issue, you may apply to the ARC to remove the lawn and install low maintenance landscaping such as bushes, dry stream bed, drought tolerant plants, etc.  Check out the ARC guidelines for plans and plants suggestions.   Then simply complete and submit the ARC application; there is no fee and approval is almost immediate.


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Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA)