New England Condominium April 2021
P. 1

Outdoor Spaces 
An Always-Popular Amenity 
Becomes a Must-Have 
April 2021 
205 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016 • CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED 
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Plants, Money, &  
The ‘3 Greens’ of 
Smart Multifamily  
The Key is in the Planning 
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Outdoor space, whether communal or private to individual units, has always been at the top  
of the most-desired amenities list for condominium and co-op purchasers.  A small terrace or  
balcony can add hours of quiet enjoyment to apartment living — not to mention thousands of  
dollars to the value of a given unit. Recent sales data suggests that apartments with private ex- 
terior space, and buildings with common areas enabling residents to enjoy safe outdoor access  
during the COVID-19 pandemic, are selling more quickly and at higher prices than compa- 
rable units without those features. In many markets, single-family homes are selling at record  
speed — and for record prices. Even homes with in-ground pools — oft en considered ‘white  
elephants’ in the Before Times, thanks to the maintenance and upkeep they require — are sell- 
ing at a huge premium. 
New England Condominium 
 spoke to one suburban Stamford, Connecticut couple who pre- 
fer to remain anonymous about their selling experience. Th  ey report that only two years ago,  
their four-bedroom mid-1970s home with an in-ground pool and jacuzzi was ‘unsellable’ at a  
In multifamily properties where diff erent  
households share in  the  use, visual  enjoy- 
ment, and property value of landscaped out- 
door elements, a lot of factors go into decid- 
ing what and where to plant, how to maintain  
it, and how much to spend. Th  ese consider- 
ations can be summed up as the ‘3 Greens:’  
the  vitality  and  vibrancy  of  plantings  and  
lawns; the ecological factors that determine  
the best methods, placements, and products  
that use the least resources and have the least  
impact on the environment, and the dollars  
that associations and co-op corporations  
need to allocate in their budgets to design,  
install, and maintain these areas. 
To optimize each, the 3 Greens must be  
considered simultaneously. For example, an  
association with a limited landscaping bud- 
get might think that skimping on mulch  
will save them money—but according to  
the pros, the right type of mulch in the right  
amounts is important for soil health, water  
conservation, and weed mitigation — all of  
which saves money in the long run. Similar- 
ly, a community with ample grounds might  
think that laying a bunch of sod for sprawling  
lawns might be the right way to ‘green’ things  
quickly, instead of going through the relative  
hassle of seeding grass from scratch—but a  
sod workaround might actually be the least  
cost eff ective to maintain and least ecologi- 
cally effi  cient or benefi cial. 
When the sun seems to shine a bit bright- 
er, warmer, and longer, and the fi rst buds  
of spring start to appear on trees and bush- 
es, many multifamily property managers,  
boards, and residents start to think about the  
landscaping at their building or HOA. Aft er  
months of being cooped up indoors and un- 
able to make full use of their outdoor spaces,  
the arrival of spring reminds them that these  
areas are  there—and  that they  need  some  
serious TLC — or maybe even overhaul —  
aft er a long, cold winter. 
But where should multifamily decision- 
makers even begin when making land- 
scaping choices? How does the process for  
reseeding a vegetable garden diff er from  
redesigning a courtyard? It turns out that a  
proper plan — and adequate time to fi nalize,  
procure, and implement it — is crucial to get  
the most out of a property’s outdoor space on  
any budget. We spoke to several landscap- 
ing professionals and organizations to fi nd  
out what boards, managers, and gardening  
committees should keep in mind when de- 
veloping a landscaping plan for their com- 
munities. Diff erent pros had their own rec- 
ommendations, but all agreed that the time  
to start thinking about them is now. 
How Will the Space Be Used? 
As opposed to individual homeowners  
who have only their own households to con- 
sider when making landscaping decisions,  
multifamily buildings and associations have  
to consider multiple, diverse households;  
what might be an appealing use of space  
to one segment of the community might  
be completely unsuitable to another. Com- 
munity leaders may have a lot of diff erent  
backgrounds, ages, interests, and abilities to  
consider when weighing how their shared  
outdoor spaces will be used, what they will  
look like, and how they’ll be designed. 
price acceptable to them. Fast-forward to this past November, when it  
sold — for more than their asking price and with multiple bids — in  
one weekend. 
Becoming Competitive 
Condominium and cooperative communities have a lot to consid- 
er when it comes to translating exterior amenities into a competitive  
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