“The pandemic has made the residents of apartment buildings more active: now they are more involved in solving issues and implementing ideas. However, there are also cases when the initiatives of residents are not coordinated by anyone, unauthorized greenery is not appropriate, and the plants themselves are often chosen incorrectly,” says gardener Linda Evelite. In this article, you will learn the most important thing about plantings near the world as well as practical advice on how to make a well-groomed flower bed truly enjoyable with beautiful flowers and ornamental shrubs.

The first and most important question is who is responsible for gardening in the circle of apartment buildings? “A land plot on which a multi-apartment residential building is located, if it does not belong to another person, in accordance with paragraph 3 of part one of Article 4 of the Law on Apartment Ownership, is the joint property of all apartment owners.  Therefore, from a legal point of view, all apartment owners are responsible for the maintenance and improvement of this territory,” explains the representative of SIA “Latvijas namsaimnieks” to the portal “Māja un dārzs”.  Before starting the improvement of the local area, the specialist advises apartment owners to agree with each other not only on its processing, but also on subsequent treatment.   This, according to Bischof, is also set out in Articles 16 and 18 of the Apartment Property Law. “In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of the first part of Article 4, the first part of Article 16 of the Law on Apartment Property and Articles 1067, 1068 of the Civil Law, such adjacent plots may be created if more than half of the owners of the apartments of a residential building gave their consent. However, practice shows that most of all there is no coordination, so there are situations in which house plots are created, but not treated,” says the representative of SIA “Latvijas namsaimnieks”.   Linda Evelite, a gardener at the Civinity group of companies, also says that from experience, most often flowerbeds near houses are created without coordination, which results in further problems, such as untidy plantings, and unsuitable plants, etc.

After most of the owners of an apartment building agreed with the idea, then it is necessary to agree on who exactly will take care of the flower beds:  “Self-created flower beds need to be watered, weeded, and fertilized, otherwise a good idea remain at the level of a sudden spring inspiration, and in the summer the flower bed wilts and overgrows with weeds,” says the gardener. It is also important to understand what efforts the greenery will require.  As an example, the gardener mentions roses. Roses are not quite suitable for a public flower bed, if no one in the future is ready to regularly care for them, to spray, prune and see if they are sick.   On the other hand, if it is expected that the service company will take care of it, then this should be agreed in advance, since if this is not provided for in the contract, then the flower bed will have to be cared for independently.

Before planting, think carefully about everything

Before looking for a shovel and garden gloves, it should be understood that the flower bed you want to create will be looked at by all the residents of the apartment building. “A well-intentioned idea can become a nuisance. If the flower bed has not cared for it became visually unpleasant.  Greenery can also be created in a place where, for example, it will become an obstacle when clearing snow in winter,” says the gardener, and shares tips on what to consider when planning greenery.

First of all, it should be understood that if one wants to plant something near the entrance nodes, then these plantings are likely to be damaged by pets. “In almost every flowerbed located near the entrance nodes, the first pecked plants die exactly because of pets,” Evelite shares her experience.

You should also remember about the safety of others. If there is also a playground next to an apartment building, you should not make a flowerbed with roses or barberry there, since a football can fly on the spikes, for example.

Sometimes an initially well-planned idea can turn into problems in a couple of years. In particular, think very carefully about planting trees and climbing plants near apartment buildings. If you plan to plant a tree next to the house, first agree on this with both the residents and the manager to understand whether the tree will really not interfere with anyone in five years. A very common problem is climbing plants planted without approval:  “There are situations when, according to the project, climbing plants are designed, for example, to hide something from view. For this purpose, they are planted at the fence. Problems sometimes arise because insurers and builders write that climbing plants damage the structure. There are also situations when residents themselves plant climbing plants, and they curl up to the highest floors,” says the gardener of Civinity.

Proper preparation of the place for planting

If all the residents of the house agree to the flower bed, then you need to get down to business. It is important to properly prepare the place for planting plants. “Near one house, residents planted bushes during the litter pick. A hole was dug and a bush was planted on the lawn. But it will grow poorly, because it will be suppressed by weeds,” the gardener shares his experience, adding that if we do something, then we need to do it carefully and correctly.

According to Evelite, most often there is no fertile soil near apartment buildings, but there is construction debris that is not removed but leveled along the perimeter of the house. As a result, if the flower bed was created without taking into account the specifics, the plants and sown grass will grow poorly and eventually die, as a result, as they will be defeated by weeds. Remember that the flower bed should be prepared in such a way that it corresponds to the plants that will be planted in it. Depending on the specific plant, you need to know what is the depth of the fertile soil, its composition, and pH level.  According to the gardener, if you want to plant perennial plants in the flower beds, the soil depth should be at least 20 centimeters, for bushes – about 40  centimeters, and for trees – even up to a meter. It is also necessary to know the pH level required for the selected soil and plants.  “Rhododendrons, for example, need acidic soil, while shrubs (such as barberry or meadowsweet) need neutral soil,” says the gardener, adding that the issue of mulching is also important: if a decision is made to improve the mulch bed, it should be renewed almost every year so that the flower bed has a pleasant and well-groomed appearance.

Of course, plants should also be selected in accordance with the location of the flower bed. Evelite suggests that rhododendrons should not be chosen for flower beds exposed to direct sunlight, otherwise the plant will burn.  Rhododendron is recommended to be planted in places where it will be illuminated by the evening sun. In turn, the gardener recommends planting perennials at the entrance nodes, since they are quite resistant to snow, salt, as well as to the damage caused by pets.  Although annual flowers are more beautiful, it is more profitable to invest in perennial plants, says the gardener.