Water-efficient Landscaping

  • All condo and community associations are required to adopt rules supporting water-efficient landscaping, including allowance for low water use on lawns during drought conditions.  See Utah Code §§ 57-8a-218(16) and 57-8-8.1(9).  See the downloads tab in the Downloads and Guides for sample rules (for Prudent-Legal subscribers).
  • An association may not require a lot owner to install or keep in place lawn in an area with a width less than eight feet.  Utah Code § 57-8a-231(3).  Additionally, associations must allow an owner to convert a grass park strip the owner maintains to water-efficient landscaping.  Utah Code §§ 57-8a-218(16) and 57-8-8.1(9).
  • An association may not prohibit an owner of a lot with a detached dwelling (aka single family home) from doing any of the following on the owner's lot:
    1. installation of plant materials suited to the microclimate and soil conditions that can remain healthy with minimal irrigation once established or be maintained without the use of sprinklers,
    2. use of water for outdoor irrigation through proper and efficient irrigation design and water application, or
    3. using other landscape design features that either minimize the need of the landscape for supplemental water from irrigation or reduce the landscape area dedicated to lawn.

However, an association can require a lot owner to comply with a site plan review process, to maintain plants in a healthy condition, and to follow specific water wise landscaping design requirements adopted by the association, and can restrict the use of mulches considered detrimental to the association's operations, impose minimum or maximum vegetative coverage, and restrict the use of specific plant materials.  Utah Code Section 57-8a-231.  

Statutes and Cases:

(For reference: 57-8 is the Condo Act, 57-8a is the Community Association Act, 16-6a is the Nonprofit Act)

57-8-8.1. Equal treatment by rules required -- Limits on rules
57-8a-218. Equal treatment by rules required -- Limits on association rules and design criteria
57-8a-231. Water wise landscaping
New 2022 HOA Laws and What They Mean For Your HOA