The Admiralty Case Study

The Admiralty HOA partners with Devon Creek to provide comprehensive landscaping and Lawn Care services for their one-of-a-kind community.

The first thing you’ll notice as you are welcomed beyond the gates of The Admiralty, a premier estate community located on the south shore of Suffolk County, is the sheer enormity and charm of its grounds. This unique haven boasts a spectacular setting as well as a storied history.

The Admiralty’s 160 one and two-level townhomes of varying size and styles, home to several hundred residents, are situated among 300 acres of sprawling greens, picturesque pathways, and glorious ocean vistas. It lies in the heart of a huge nature sanctuary, and offers direct access to the beautiful waters of the Great South Bay.

Such a grand setting requires expert care. That’s why the homeowners’ association (HOA) of The Admiralty engaged Devon Creek to provide comprehensive landscape and lawn care solutions. This case study presents an overview of the work Devon Creek performs as The Admiralty’s commercial landscaping partner.


The Admiralty in Bay Shore is located on the grounds of the former grand estate “Thorneham,” built by Landon K. and Julia Thorne in 1928. The property has an impressive pedigree: the original landscaping design was developed by Ferruccio Vitale, associated with Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. Umberto Innocenti, a leading landscape architect of this era, completed the project in the decade following the Depression. Following the Thornes’ deaths, the property was divided and sold.

Today, The Admiralty still retains much of its original character and charm while also boasting modern updates that are tailored to the needs of its residents. The Admiralty HOA makes sure all residents are able to enjoy the lush grounds and impeccable amenities by partnering with a high-quality commercial landscaping service provider.

HOA-managed properties come with unique challenges when it comes to landscaping. HOA board members must consider the needs of all residents when creating plans for lawn care and landscape maintenance services, often on tight budgets. This can make finding a reliable and cost-effective landscape company difficult. But when the arrangement works, it is visible throughout the community – and that’s something else you’ll notice at The Admiralty.

Building a relationship

This type of partnership is not entered into lightly. Devon Creek, headquartered in nearby Bohemia, Long Island, is one of the area’s fastest growing full-service landscaping and design companies. They are uniquely suited to manage an account with the size and prestige of The Admiralty. The team at Devon Creek, with its deep-bench knowledge and expertise, can ensure The Admiralty’s grounds remain worthy of their amazing surroundings.

The HOA chose Devon Creek because its local team is able to provide comprehensive, on-demand commercial landscaping and maintenance solutions. The range of services Devon Creek offers includes landscape maintenance, landscape design and installation, and lawn care services – all tailored specifically to meet the HOA’s needs, aesthetic requirements, and budget.

From the beginning of their negotiations with The Admiralty’s board, it was clear a change was needed. The Devon Creek team understood the HOA’s frustration and sensed that the current landscapers had grown a bit complacent and were not as responsive to the community’s needs as was expected by the HOA. Among their issues were poor communication and work conducted with a lack of proper supervision.

The Devon Creek team began making inroads into the community in late summer, 2021. They started by taking on small jobs for homeowners throughout the community. As recognition for their work grew, the Devon Creek leadership team was invited to bid for an expanded role with the HOA. They won the bid through informed negotiation, and by demonstrating a shared vision for the property.

Turning the ship around

The Devon Creek team knows that significant effort is required to manifest change in a huge and complex property, and drastic improvement will not happen overnight. Their comprehensive best practice approach started with a thorough, two-hour walkthrough of the entire property with the new HOA board president, and in-depth interviews with members of the HOA.

They observed that several areas of the property were under-maintained, leaving some prime acreage underutilized. After their extensive overview, the Devon Creek team pinpointed several challenges specific to The Admiralty, including:

  • The community’s diverse landscape with many different types of landscaping and lawn care needs, including a Japanese garden and acres of beachfront;
  • Many specimen trees that overgrew their beds;
  • Over 25 miles of overgrown bedlines;
  • Areas of turf overgrown with invasive bentgrass; and
  • Acres of overgrown woodlines and pathways.

The Devon Creek team worked closely with HOA board members to create a comprehensive plan of action that catered to the unique needs of HOA-managed properties and was within their budget. This time spent planning is critical to the process, and allows HOA members to communicate their needs and preferences.

Short-term wins or “low-hanging fruit”

The first step the Devon Creek team took was looking for short-term wins – areas that would respond quickly to improvement efforts. They began implementing several strategies to improve the overall look and feel of the community’s common areas. Soon into the partnership, a Devon Creek team was on site five days a week to ensure all projects progressed as planned.

The specimen trees were pruned back to allow the beds to flourish, and the miles of bedlines were redefined. The landscaping team then took on the task of taming the overgrown and encroaching specimens, some of which were invasive plant species, along the paths throughout the community, and especially along the canals. They cleared and beautified the overgrown and underutilized beachfront area, revealing a hidden gem for the community’s use.

Devon Creek is able to design and maintain the landscape of this large, high-end property while keeping costs under control by utilizing creative solutions and cost-saving strategies. For example, they worked closely with the on-site management team to implement efficient irrigation policies. Their commitment to ongoing maintenance allowed them to build the HOA’s trust and confidence through results.

Longer-term planning

The lawn remediation project at The Admiralty is an example of the Devon Creek team’s ability to creatively combat landscaping challenges. Overhead drone photos revealed large areas of bentgrass, an invasive species that can quickly take over a property, leaving it overrun with turf irregularities. Remediating bentgrass can be a daunting task but is necessary for the land to reach its highest potential. The remediation process is complex, time-consuming, and not usually considered part of standard lawn care.

When an invasive species such as bentgrass takes over a property, it can wreak havoc on the landscape and cause significant damage. Remediating this type of situation requires special attention to detail and an understanding of how best to remove the bentgrass without damaging other plants in the area.

Devon Creek developed a comprehensive approach to lawn remediation at The Admiralty which involved removing the existing bentgrass and replacing it with native plantings that are better suited for the environment. This process also includes restoring soil health by introducing beneficial bacteria and fungi as well as aerating compacted soils. By using this holistic approach, Devon Creek was able to replace the bentgrass with turf.

Almost two years into the partnership, the HOA has expressed their satisfaction with Devon Creek’ commitment to superior customer service. Devon Creek proved to be a reliable partner when the HOA encountered unexpected challenges such as storms or unplanned maintenance needs.

The lasting benefits of “fanatical communication”

The key to this successful partnership is what Steven Alessandro, CEO of Devon Creek describes as a commitment to “fanatical communication.” The Devon Creek team communicates in numerous ways:

  • By having team members on site five days a week;
  • Through frequent communications with the HOA board members;
  • With letters to the community announcing project updates;
  • Through the use of lawn signs to announce work in progress, such as the lawn remediation project; and
  • By team attendance at board meetings, giving updates and delivering presentations.

Devon Creek appreciates the commitment The Admiralty’s HOA has shown by advocating for the betterment of community life for its members. In turn, the Devon Creek team is committed to meeting the highest expectations of the HOA members. A key to their success is never allowing complacency, and always looking for the next opportunity to improve the property.

Devon Creek continues to provide HOA members of The Admiralty with a wide range of landscaping services, all year round. With Devon Creek’ commitment to 24/7 customer service, emphasis on “fanatical” communication, and price-promise guarantee, HOA board members can rest assured that their spectacular community is in the right hands.

Devon Creek is committed to helping HOA-managed properties succeed through comprehensive and reliable landscaping services including lawn care, landscape design and installation, and snow clearing services. Their team of professionals works closely with HOA boards to create customized plans that fit within budgets while still delivering high-quality results. The Admiralty HOA serves as an example of Devon Creek’ commitment to HOA-managed properties and their ability to exceed expectations.

The success of the Devon Creek partnership with The Admiralty has put the community in the running for a coveted National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) Award of Excellence. Winning properties of past NALP awards have benefitted from the positive press coverage and rising home values associated with this honor.

For HOA-managed properties needing reliable, cost-effective, and high quality landscaping services, Devon Creek offers the perfect solution. Contact us today to learn more about how they can help HOA board members reimagine their HOA-managed property.