The Beautification of Hearst Castle Way (a long and winding road)
When people drive into the Estates of Forest Creek, they typically use Hearst Castle Way (HCW). The Estates of Forest Creek HOA is aware that the appearance of HCW is very important. Several homeowners have questioned the status of HCW landscaping, particularly given the current drought conditions. It is worth taking a moment to reflect on the historical timeline of our landscaping landmarks:
- 1990s – The current irrigation system is installed. It uses solar power to activate the water supply valves (solenoids). The system is efficient at first, but wears out over time and replacement parts are not readily available.
- Mid-2000s – The EFCHOA receives landscaping donations and creates landscaping treatments in front of 3704 and 3720 HCW.
- 2012 – A stone entrance is created for Hogan Manor.
- Summer 2013 – EFCHOA works with Oncor to install several power pedestals in the HCW median. (square columns about 3’ high) The electricity will run the new Rainbird controllers for the existing sprinkler system. However, no electric meters were installed to complete the job, so there was/is no power for the controllers.
- Summer 2014 – An outside company repairs the HCW and Coit solenoids, which control the flow of water to the sprinklers. The current Board then tested the individual sprinklers and replaced or repaired approximately 100 of the 200+ heads (the things that pop out of the ground). This process took about 20 hours and 40 fire ant bites.
- Summer and Fall 2014 – The sprinklers are run every two weeks to keep the trees and grass alive. Because the solar controllers are worn out and there is no power for the Rainbird controllers, the many solenoids must be turned on and off by hand (it takes about 2 hours to cycle them every other Thursday).
- Early Fall 2014 – EFCHOA meets with COP to discuss landscaping. COP will replace our ageing trees, but wants to wait until the water emergency is over. In later discussions, they will supply the trees if we plant them at least 50 feet apart (or EFCHOA can buy them and plant closer together). Given the current water restrictions, EFCHOA will have to provide supplemental watering by hand for any new trees until their root system is established.
- Late Fall 2014 – As requested by EFCHOA, Plano cuts down the dying trees in front of 3612 HCW. We are working with Keane Landscaping to design mixed plantings around the replacement trees.
- Current – Your EFC HOA continues to turn the solenoids on and off by hand (luckily, we’re had enough rain lately). COP continues to work with Oncor to get electric meters in all the power pedestals. When the electric meters are all installed, EFCHOA can use the Rainbird controllers to run the sprinklers.
- Winter 2014 – Pansies planted at the HCW entrance.
Future beautification plans include:
- We are working with Keane Landscaping on an overall landscaping plan, which should unify the HCW medians, and incorporate drought-resistant plants. We currently have many different types of trees, landscaping and ground cover.
- Get the sprinklers in the medians working on their own.
- Plant trees and landscaping in front of 3612 HCW. If this works well, we can expand the program.
- Plant more flowers in the spring in the front entrance and in HCW median ends, in accordance with the overall landscaping plan.
- Keep EFCHOA members informed of our progress.
We welcome the involvement of EFC HOA members with landscaping experience. If interested, please contact John Caldwell via email at [email protected]
EFC HOA Beautification Director