We received a delivery of 18 yards of Cypress chips–the maximum the landscape truck could haul–for the play area at the park. The chips will be spread over the weekend. We will likely need an additional six or more yards to bring the chips up to the recommended depth around the play structure fall areas while providing a good depth for long-term weed control throughout the remaining play area. The second load will be ordered and installed in the coming weeks. The total cost of the chips is estimated at $1,082, but could be higher if more chips are needed to meet the necessary depth.
We will be installing new border timbers around the play area soon. We have decided to go with treated 6×6 timbers in place of the railroad ties. Carolina Backyards, who installed the play structure, will be doing the border timber install. The work will include removal of the existing timbers and staking the new ones. The estimate for this work is $1,200.
The landscaper will be installing fresh pine straw at the front, rear, and park in the coming weeks. He will also be installing summer annuals at the front. Those two items, which are done twice a year, are a big chunk of our landscaping budget annually. This spring work will total $3,184.
For the past few years, we’ve been painting the pine straw and applying fresh straw only in the thinnest areas to reduce cost. This and other cost saving measures helped us absorb the cost of the water line repair and replace the play structure without the need to dip into capital reserves or raise money through a special assessment. However, the straw has gotten thin, so we will need to do two applications of fresh straw this year.
Weekly lawn service starts the first week of April and will continue through September. This service covers mowing, edging, weed removal, as well as trash and debris pick up.
We have quite a bit of annual blue grass and other weeds in the park beds and play area. I spoke with the landscaper about this and he said their last application of herbicide was in January. The early warm temps have helped the weeds take hold more quickly. The lower park bed tends to be the most problematic area due to water run off. The landscaper’s crew will be coming through soon to apply another round of herbicide.
We will be replacing the sprinkler controller at the rear entrance before the summer watering season kicks off. The current timer has been in service since the community was built and has become flakey. The front entrance and park controllers were replaced about four years ago. The landscaper will be performing a spring inspection of the sprinkler heads in the coming weeks. We typically need a handful of rotors replaced each year due to collisions with vehicles and grit wearing out the seals and drive system.
As is typical, we will try to hold off regular watering until the first of May to keep our watering costs down. Water constitutes $7,500-10,000 of our yearly expenses, depending on rainfall and heat extremes. Our average summer monthly run rate is about $1,500. The longer we can delay the start of the heavy watering season, the better.
We will be treating the park for fire ants again this spring. The Spectracide fire ant treatment we put out last year seemed to be very effective at controlling them, so we will use that again this year.