Exploring Atlanta’s “Self-Sufficient” Communities
By H.M. Cauley
Settling into a new home can be an exhausting experience. By the timethe appliances are hooked up, the dishes put away and all the clothes unpacked, the last thing anyone wants to tackle is mowing the lawn. And that’s just the first in a long list of outdoor maintenance projects that can come with owning a home. Trimming bushes, weeding, edging sidewalks, raking leaves, even cleaning gutters and painting exteriors—all of these activities can eat into time and money that could be better spent exploring your new city.
But for some newcomers, moving doesn’t come with an automatic outside to-do list. That’s because many metro Atlanta communities offer “low-maintenance” living, with lawn and yard upkeep and other time-consuming tasks tended to by someone else, so that residents can spend their leisure time as they see fit.
“Lock and Leave” Lifestyle
This “lock and leave” lifestyle, which frees residents to only have to worry about caring for their homes’ interiors, is a standard feature in condominium communities and upscale home developments. The Providence Group, a developer with several properties across the city’s northern arc, features a number of townhome communities, with small, attractive yards and gardens that are looked after by a grounds crew that adds seasonal color, keeps shrubbery trimmed and tends to the lush lawns.
One of the company’s newest enclaves to offer a low-maintenance lifestyle is Nesbit Reserve in Roswell, with luxury units priced from the $400s, and floor plans ranging from 2,500 to 3,800 square feet. The plans offer three or four bedrooms (including masters on the main level), dramatic two-story family rooms, two-car garages, and some finished basements. Best of all, the homeowners association is responsible for all lawn maintenance.
The company’s master-planned Highlands of Sandy Springs community offers a mix of single-family homes, mid-rise condominiums and three-story townhouses. The property includes a number of amenities, such as a pool, clubhouse, fitness center and easy access to nearby walking and biking trails. Throughout the neighborhood, lawn care is provided; in the condominiums, exterior maintenance is also included.
In the heart of historic Alpharetta, buyers will find carefree living at the Georgian, a community of three-story townhouses selling from the $300,000s. Exteriors are designed with four sides of brick or stone with cedar shake or Hardiplank accents that don’t require constant upkeep. In addition, landscaping around the 54 units is handled by a crew of caretakers.
While “self-sufficient homes,” as they’re also sometimes called, are often found in luxury developments, that doesn’t mean that low-maintenance amenities and affordable homes are mutually exclusive.
Lennar Homes, a nationally recognized builder, offers a mix of townhouses and single-family homes starting in the low $200s at its Shiloh Woods development in Cumming, where lawns are maintained by professional landscapers. The same perk comes with owning a home in Lennar’s new Wildebrook, a 200-home community in Forsyth County, as well as the company’s townhouses at Lakepoint at Johns Creek and Vintage Square in Smyrna. In addition, most properties are four-sided brick, with vinyl windows and fiberglass doors for easy care. And in multifamily units, homeowners association fees also cover gutter cleaning, roof repairs and exterior painting as needed.
“We find that having the landscaping cared for is becoming more and more popular,” says Lennar’s Ginny Bryant, director of sales and marketing. “It’s a really nice asset to have for the residents.”
The Providence Group’s Jamestown community in Alpharetta features townhomes and single-family units starting from $225,900. All homes come with professional landscape maintenance, and the townhomes feature included exterior maintenance, as well. Other lock-and-leave communities include Major’s Mill Crossing, a cluster community in Forsyth County designed by Homes by Brumby, with lawn care and low-maintenance exteriors (stone, cedar shake, Hardiplank and brick), in addition to a clubhouse and pool, with homes priced from the $200s into the $300s; and Cornerstone Park near Woodstock, which offers lawn maintenance for its three- and four-bedroom homes priced from the low $200s.
While freedom from outside chores like lawn care and exterior painting is considered an amenity for younger homeowners, it’s essential for older residents. Retirees and senior citizens often aren’t able to tackle physical projects, and on a fixed income, many of them simply can’t afford to pay for regular lawn maintenance and other upkeep.
Active-adult communities take those concerns away to allow residents to focus on quality of life. Windsong Properties has four such communities in the metro area, designed to provide seniors with a home that doesn’t require their constant attention.
In addition to a lack of yard work, Windsong at Seven Hills and Windsong Manor, both in Paulding County, share such amenities as a clubhouse and access to Seven Hills Park, with tennis courts, a swimming pool, walking paths and a water park.
Bel-Aire in Powder Springs incorporates nature trails, a park and gazebo, outdoor grills, community gardens, a dog park and a clubhouse with a fitness room, game room and bocce ball court, while the homes at Heron Pond in Woodstock are part of an exclusive gated community. And all of Windsong’s residences, priced from the $200s, come complete with accessibility features designed for an aging-in-place lifestyle: wider doors and hallways, no-step entries, storm drain cleaning and pest control.
Whether you’re a young professional who’d rather devote your time to family or exploring your new home, or an empty-nester looking to enjoy your retirement in comfort, Atlanta boasts many low-maintenance communities that have just what you’re looking for.
For More Information
The Providence Group
Homes by Brumby