In general, HOAs (Homeowners Associations) have control over anything that can be seen, heard, smelled, or perceived from your home. HOAs vary in how restrictive they may be, so it is essential before purchasing a home governed by an HOA that you read and understand the regulations they impose upon homeowners. We will discuss some typical HOA restrictions and attempt to provide some backyard ideas for Wisconsin homeowners who have persnickety HOAs.
What is the Purpose of an HOA?
The main purpose of an HOA is to preserve a stated standard of aesthetics, to protect the value of the property of the association and the homeowners, and to be sure that all homeowners enjoy the same visual uniformity based on the imposed standards. Can an HOA restrict the backyard ideas of Wisconsin homeowners? Yes, indeed they can.
Wisconsin Homeowners with Persnickety HOAs
Some typical HOA restrictions include not allowing owners to build storage sheds on their property, not parking an RV in their driveway, not putting up a fence, banning basketball hoops, excluding hot tubs, etc. Some very restrictive covenants disallow bird feeders, clotheslines, barbecue grills, and other common backyard accouterments that many of us take for granted. We heard of one family that was told that the red cushions on their new patio furniture did not conform to the neighborhood aesthetics and must be removed. If you have an HOA and have backyard ideas for your Wisconsin home, we highly recommend that you seek prior approval for anything you have in mind.
Backyard Ideas for Wisconsin Homeowners with More Liberal HOAs
It is important to read the HOA agreement you signed when purchasing your home. Many restrictions will be noted there. Expect to see noise restrictions, bans on erecting structures, types of pets (if any) that are allowed, and various parking regulations. It may be a shock to see just how involved an HOA can get in your personal choices to decorate your backyard. More liberal HOAs give homeowners more leeway with their backyard ideas, particularly if the backyard is enclosed. Always, always, check with your HOA rules before enacting any of your backyard ideas. Getting written permission from the HOA is a good idea as well.
Many HOAs are not as restrictive to backyard ideas that are in the rear of the residence and cannot be seen from the street. Here are a few backyard ideas for Wisconsin homeowners that may be allowed in a more liberal HOA:
- Backyard grills. If situated far enough away from any structure and positioned on a patio (not a wooden deck) a backyard grill may be permitted.
- Fire table or fire pit. A propane-powered fire table or fire pit may be allowed by the HOA if it is a certain required distance from any structure.
- Patio heaters. If not visible from a neighbor’s yard, a patio heater may be allowed if placed far enough away from existing structures.
- Patio furniture. Normally, patio furniture such as chairs, sofas, end tables, etc. would be permitted under most HOA rules. If the patio is open, overseeing a golf course, etc., there may be color restrictions to adhere to.
- Water features. If the water feature (such as a small fountain) is quiet and not visible to neighbors it is possible that it could be permitted by the HOA.
In conclusion, it is crucial that every homeowner familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations of their HOA, preferably before purchasing their property. HOAs vary in the stringency of their restrictions, and it may be possible to achieve your backyard ideas with permission and advance planning. We hope these guidelines give some backyard ideas for Wisconsin homeowners who have persnickety HOAs. When you are ready to move forward with your backyard ideas, The Pool People is your number one outdoor living resource for patio furniture, grills, and other decorative features to make your backyard the paradise you envision.