Building longstanding relationships with our clients is a crucial part of what we do at RGA. One client, Ironwood Country Club, came to us in 2008 with purely practical needs. Having extensive experience in both water savings and working with Homeowners Associations we were ideally suited to help meet their needs. Working with the master association and enhancement committee we established a plan which helped the community initiate a multi-year street replacement plan. This involved removal of all the streets, including the base layer and installation of new asphalt. They recognized that the existing spray irrigation and resulting runoff had caused much of the degradation of the asphalt and wanted to eliminate this problem with the new streets. To begin the process, we addressed the median islands inside the property which were primarily annuals and palms and worked in parallel with the street replacement program to implement the new designs. The master association established the priorities of which streets would be replaced streets A, B, and C – A and B would be done during year one with their medians, C streets the following year, and so on. The plan was formulated based on which streets were the most degraded and what the budget allowed.
Over the years, the scope has grown to include a re-visioning of all of the common areas and entries to reflect a new desert aesthetic, including new gate houses which were designed by Prest Vuksic Architects of Palm Desert. The community is fortunate to have had many forward thinking board members (as well as master association enhancement committee members) who spearheaded the process and saw the value in improvements. They did the necessary politicking to get all of the varied sub associations and homeowners to buy in. It was not an easy task as many homeowners, at the time, were still enamored with the annuals and turf and could not yet visualize how this new project would add much value to the community. A great advantage in the gradual re-landscape process that the board followed was that it provided homeowners time to become comfortable with the new look and it has now been widely accepted. In fact, it initiated some associations and homeowners to undertake their own improvements and upgrades to remove their old plantings in favor of a desert aesthetic!
With many revisions along the way, including changes to the plant palette based on homeowner’s comments as well as maintenance concerns, this gradual process has allowed us to let the landscape evolve in a manner that is consistent with the community’s desired aesthetic. We have learned and understand the Ironwood community and its needs and are here to facilitate their goals and design. It is our job to direct the design process and provide the initial conceptual ideas. This allows the Master Plan to be easier to understand and assures a cohesive look throughout the community. The Master Plan is intended to be a fluid document that provides a framework for successive boards to use as their blueprint for implementation. They have the ability to alter priorities and make design adjustments to suite their priorities and budgets. The collaborative process has enabled us to anticipate future needs and advise them accordingly.
Since we started this collaboration, implementation has been ongoing on a yearly basis. The board directs which projects will be done the following year and we prepare plans for those areas in advance for approval by the city, water district and bidding. With pre-approved shovel ready plans in hand, the work can then take place during the summer months when most residents are away. With ongoing projects every year since we started our collaboration, we are on call whenever they have a question. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship and working with Ironwood to improve their community.