Approximately nine and half years ago my wife and I bought a townhouse and moved into it. The townhouse is located in a gated community. Between each building is somewhere between 15’-20’ including a sidewalk, leading to the house entrances, and landscape. I do not know who design the landscape, but I suspect it consisted of couple of typical layouts and then rubber stamped throughout the complex. Somewhere along the way someone decided it would be a good idea to plant oak trees in 5’-10’ planter strips next to the buildings. Early on this may have appeared to be a good idea; oak trees tend to be small when planted as a 24” box tree and are rather slow growing.
Right away, when I moved in, I could tell that this was not the best design; planting oak trees within a few feet of the buildings could only lead to their demise. I knew that someday those trees would grow to be too large for the space they were planted in. Well that day has finally come, this last week a band of landscape maintenance workers and the giant shredding machine came through our neighborhood and cut down each and every one of those oak trees.
There were a couple of reasons why this bothered me. The first was I felt this was a waste of beautiful healthy trees which could have been avoided if some forethought was put into the original landscape design and the trees were planted in an area where they wouldn’t get too large causing a maintenance issue leading to their ultimate demise. The second thing that bothers me is my house is on a corner and there is a rather large pie shaped piece of landscape in between my building and our neighbors. Because there was a cookie cutter landscape design for each building, there is nothing but rock in the large pie shaped area between the sidewalks and a bunch of shrubs (and now a tree stump) crammed in the narrow landscape strip next to the building. There was plenty of room in the large landscape area to plant the two oak trees between our buildings and then some. As it stands this is just a large area of rock where my kids love to go and clear out pathways.
I am waiting for the day when they decide the 6’ cassias that are planted next to the sidewalk are becoming too much of maintenance issue and decide to pull out all of the shrubs.