Design review guidelines rancho gabriela homeowners association

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Adopted: 27 June 2002

(Revised October 2003)



Swing Sets / Play Structures

(Revised October 2006)



River Run Rock

Swing Sets / Play Structures

Turf – Grass

Window Coverings


For convenience sake, defined terms from the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, Reservations and Easements are used herein.
Antennas one meter or less in diameter or diagonal measurement, together with their associated mounting hardware and mast, if applicable (an “Antenna System”), must comply with the following restrictions if they are to be placed, installed or kept on a Lot outside of a Dwelling Unit, unless compliance would impair the installation, maintenance or use of an Antenna System used to (i) receive direct broadcast satellite service or receive or transmit fixed wireless service via satellite; (ii) receive video programming services via multipoint distribution or receive or transmit fixed wireless signals other than via satellite; or (iii) receive television broadcast signals:

(a) An Antenna System must be placed on a Lot in such a manner so as not to be Visible From Neighboring Property.

(b) If an Antenna System, cannot be placed on a Lot in such a manner as to not be visible from any other Lot, the Common Area or streets without impairing the Lot Owner’s installation, maintenance or use of the Antenna System, the Antenna System must be screened by landscaping or by some other means so that it is not visible from any other Lot, the Common Area, or streets, unless the landscaping or screening would impair the installation, maintenance or use of the Antenna System, in which case the Antenna System must be screened to the greatest extent possible without impairing the installation, maintenance or use of the Antenna System.
(c) If no other location is available without impairing the installation, maintenance or use of an Antenna System and the Antenna System must be mounted on a residence or other structure in a manner that will be visible from other Lots, the Common Area or streets, the Antenna System must be painted a color that will blend into the background against which the Antenna System is mounted.



(d) For purposes of these restrictions, the installation, maintenance and use of an Antenna System shall be deemed to be “impaired” only if the restriction causes one of the following to occur:

(i) the restriction unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance or use of the Antenna System;

(ii) the restriction unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance or use of the Antenna System; or

  1. the restriction precludes reception or transmission of an acceptable quality signal.

No dish that exceeds one meter in diameter or diagonal measurement may be placed, installed, constructed or kept on any Lot without the prior written approval of the Design Review Committee (the “Committee”).


Awnings are prohibited except temporary awnings utilized at the model complex during sales/marketing activities


Pursuant to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, Reservations, and Easements, Builders desiring to construct improvements within Rancho Gabriela must have the proposed improvements approved by the Committee or their designee prior to submittal to the City of Surprise and the commencement of construction. The submittal must include, as applicable, the following for the R1-5 PAD and R1-18 PAD and R-2 PAD subdivisions:
 Floor plans for each proposed improvement. Five (5) different floor plans must be offered with each product series.
 Elevations of the Dwelling Unit or proposed addition or alteration. Three (3) elevations must be offered with each floor plan.
 Exterior paint color samples. Five (5) exterior base colors must be offered with each floor plan. Five (5) trim colors must be offered with each floor plan.
 Sample roof tiles with list of manufacturer, style, model number and/or color. A minimum of three (3) tile roof styles with three (3) complementary colors must be used.
 Landscape plans, plant lists and a minimum of five (5) decomposed granite colors and sizes.
No changes from the submittal once approved by the Committee shall be made without prior written approval of the Committee.


All Dwelling Units will be constructed in a southwestern style as approved by the Committee.


Basketball goals are permitted in front yards adjacent to driveways only upon prior written approval from the Committee and if they are pole mounted and permanently installed. Pole mounting fixtures are required to match the exterior house colors. Basketball goals may not be attached directly to any Dwelling Unit.

  • Backboards must be clear Plexiglas or match the color of the body of the exterior of the Dwelling Unit, or as otherwise approved by the Committee.

  • All equipment must be reasonably maintained. Broken backboards, disfigured or bent rims, ripped or torn nets, chipped and/or peeling paint, etc., are expressly prohibited.

  • Only nylon or similar cord nets are acceptable. Metal or chain nets are expressly prohibited.

  • Courts may not be painted or permanently outlined on the driveway or other concrete surfaces Visible From Neighboring Properties.

  • Lighting for night use of the equipment is prohibited.

  • Portable basketball goals are expressly prohibited, except in rear yards with neighbor approval or at the Committee’s discretion.

  • Permanent basketball goals located in the rear yard must comply with all above applicable guidelines.


Building heights are limited to two-story structures with a maximum height of thirty (30) feet above the finished floor.


Exterior colors of all buildings and structures will be southwestern desert hues and must be approved by the Committee. Southwestern accent trim colors are permitted. Bright colors will not be permitted. Any change of exterior color, body or trim, must have prior approval of the Committee.


Once started, construction shall be pursued diligently in order to assure prompt completion thereof. Absent a different deadline for completion of construction (which may be shorter or longer, at the discretion of the Committee), such construction shall be completed within six (6) months from the date of commencement of construction.



The Committee shall have no liability in connection with or related to approved or disapproved plans, specifications, or improvements. The approval of plans does not mean that judgment is passed on the structural soundness of the improvement nor its effect upon existing or future drainage. The review of the plans is for aesthetic purposes only.


The maximum driveway extension or addition cannot exceed 10ft in width. All driveway modifications will require a minimum 1ft setback from property lines. The Committee will review requests based on lot size and placement of gate(s). All approvals are subject to applicable City, County and State permits, codes and regulations.
RV gate access options:

  • Option A – (2) 2ft concrete strips installed with turf or granite between strips.

  • Option B – Granite with shrub border.

Options A and B are for access only. Permanent parking on concrete strips or granite is prohibited.

The Committee will consider surface treatments such as acrylic coatings or stains if samples or color photos are submitted. Colors must be neutral or desert tone to be considered. Painting of concrete surfaces is prohibited.
Driveways must be kept clean of trash, trash containers, debris, oil and rust stains.



Finished building materials must be applied to all exterior sides of buildings and structures (final paint or stucco finish). Acceptable materials include stucco, masonry and brick (approved by the Committee).


Rear yard fencing is required on all lots and shall be maximum height of 6’ as measured from the highest adjacent lot, unless otherwise approved by the Committee. Fencing located between dwelling units and facing the street (commonly known as fence returns) shall be block painted, stained or integral colored (ICI 415 “Brown Tone”) so as to be consistent throughout the subdivision. All fencing between dwelling units, not facing or adjacent to public right-of-way or open space can be painted cinder block or integral color cinder block. Fencing not permitted:
 Chain Link

 Wood Slat

 Wood Picket

 Free Standing on Property Line

Wood slats are permitted as part of a metal frame gate within a masonry block fence.
Garden walls are permitted to a maximum height of 48” and must match the architectural finish, texture, and style of the house, or be specifically approved otherwise as submitted to the Committee.



Fine grading is a critical aspect of landscaping. Each lot shall be graded such that all storm water will drain away from the house. It is extremely important that this drainage pattern be maintained when preparing the landscape design, especially if mounding or berming is proposed. Because of the difficulty and importance of maintaining the individual lot drainage pattern and creating natural appearing mounding, it is recommended that a Registered Landscape Architect or design professional be consulted. Mounding and other proposed grade changes will be closely scrutinized.


The association will allow flagpoles subject to the Committees review and approval of its dimension and location. Flagpoles cannot exceed a maximum height of 15 feet and must have a set back of 7 feet from property line.


All Dwelling Unit construction must have an enclosed garage integrated with the house. Garage doors shall be sectional and windows are encouraged. Garage doors should remain closed when the garage facility is not in use. Open carports or garage conversions are not permitted except in the case of model homes whereby conversions are permitted until the end of the selling period when they must be restored to a full garage.


Gates must have a metal frame and may have wood slats. Gates opening onto Common Areas are prohibited. Double gates may be installed to allow wider access ways to back yards subject to approval from the Committee. Double gates must also have metal frames and may have wood slats. All gates must be natural wood colored or painted to match the color of the adjacent block wall or painted black. The metal frames may be painted black.
Gates shall not be permitted in any perimeter theme wall without prior approval of the Committee.


Headers shall be used to contain and separate rock ground cover from grass and Common Areas. Brick, steel, concrete and 1/4" to 1” pressure treated redwood are permitted. Headers may not exceed 12" in width and shall be flush where they abut other paved areas. Railroad ties, plastic, aluminum, or redwood header smaller than 1/8" x 4" is prohibited.


All landscaped areas must be equipped with an underground irrigation system. A low-pressure drip irrigation system is encouraged for all shrubs and ground cover areas. Daytime watering of shrubs and turf areas should be avoided.


In order to develop landscaping consistency throughout the neighborhood, a minimum of one (1) 24” box tree, one (1) 15-gallon tree and six (6) 5-gallon plants are required in the front yard of each unit. A plant list is provided in Exhibit “A”. Plants listed as “for rear yards only” should not be used in front yards. Covered open porches, courtyards, low walls, fountains or other features, may be used to supplement and create imaginative landscape designs subject to approval of the Committee.
To the extent landscaping conforms to the requirements set forth herein no application to the Committee shall be necessary. Non-conforming landscaping is subject to removal or conformance if not otherwise approved by the Committee.
Each individual Dwelling Unit site will be required to complete front yard landscaping within ninety (90) days from the close of escrow. It is recommended that backyard landscaping be installed at this time too, since construction access to the backyard is often through the front yard.
The front yard landscaping in the R-2 PAD subdivisions is to be professionally maintained by the Homeowners Association.


The use of outside lighting is allowed with the following restrictions:
 Coach lights, porch and patio lights shall be per Builder installation. Any changes to Builder’s installed fixtures will require Committee approval.

  • Exterior lighting must be soft and indirect with no light sources directly visible to neighboring properties or creating any nuisance.

 No colored light bulbs, lenses, or reflections are permitted in the front yard.

 No outdoor flood lights where light spills over onto a neighbor’s property except in the case of model home(s).

 Low-pressure sodium bulbs are discouraged.

 All outside lights shall be screened wherever possible with walls, plant materials or internal shielding.

 Malibu type lights are permitted.

 Low voltage lighting is acceptable.


No figurines, shrines or other artwork are permitted in front yards unless screened from view of the street. All functional and/or decorative items must be approved before being placed in the front yard or any portion of the rear yard that is Visible From Neighboring Property. (i.e.: swings, benches, stools, etc.)
Swings and benches are to be placed on hardscaped surfaces only (concrete at front entrance of home or similar front courtyard area.) Placement in turf or granite is not permitted and canopy covers on swings or benches are not permitted.


Patio covers must be painted to match the color of the body or trim of the existing Dwelling Unit and all must have a permit issued by the City of Surprise. Replacement roofing materials shall match that which was installed by the builder on the original roof of the Dwelling Unit or that which were offered as an option by the builder for a patio cover. Asphalt shingles (including rolled shingles) are expressly prohibited. The patio roof shall be flat or match the pitch of the Dwelling Unit. All patio covers, not installed by the builder, will need to be reviewed and approved by the Committee on an individual basis prior to installation.


Plans for back yard pools and spas need not be submitted for Committee approval.
The location, appearance and height of pool slides are subject to approval of the Committee if they are Visible From Neighboring Property.
Perimeter walls on lots bordering common landscaped areas may not be torn down. Access must be gained by tearing down a front wall of the lot, leaving the perimeter wall intact, thereby assuring the texture and color consistency throughout the community.
All pool and spa equipment must be screened from view of neighboring property.
Pool Fencing:

The specifications for rear yard wrought iron pool fencing installation on a Lot with view fencing shall be a neutral earth tone color to match or blend with the exterior color of the Dwelling Unit and meet all City, County, State and Federal requirements.


Ramadas and gazebos may be erected in rear yards only subject to prior review and approval by the Committee, subject to the following guidelines:

  • Maximum square footage (under roof area) is 120 square feet.

  • Maximum roof height is 10 feet at the highest point.

  • The setback for the structure from the perimeter wall must meet the setback requirements for the zoning district. Refer to the recorded final plats for setback information.

  • The structure must be painted to match house color and maintained in good condition.

  • Any roof tile must also match the tile of the house.

  • Lighting of the structure must be approved by the Committee prior to installation.


Decomposed Granite


River Run Rock

Rock ground cover may be decomposed granite or other natural rock material approved by the Committee. All bare earth must be covered.
Decomposed granite in the front yard or areas visible from the street must be earth-toned in color. Acceptable colors include:

  • Gold

  • Beige

  • Blonde

  • Coral

  • Mauve

Artificially colored rocks (blue, green, white or other non-earth tones) are not permitted. Only ¾” minus, ½” minus, ¾” screened or ½” screened are acceptable. All decomposed granite shall be spread a minimum of 2” deep, and shall be treated with pre-emergent weed control at regular intervals to retard weed growth.

Only granite boulders of a color similar to the indigenous rock of the area are allowed. They must be buried with 1/3 the diameter below grade.
River run rock shall be 3” to 8” in diameter. Not more than 10% of the front yard landscape area may be river run rock. All river runs must be installed to direct flow of water to run over the top of the sidewalk and / or driveway so that drainage of lot is not altered.



In general, roof mounted mechanical equipment is prohibited. Solar panels may be permitted in accordance with provisions set forth below. Screening must be compatible with the building design and the Committee must approve all roof mounted mechanical equipment.


Roof covering materials shall be concrete tile. No composite shingle roofing or shake will be allowed.
All vent pipes extending through a roof must be painted to match the roof tile. All flashing must also be painted to match the roof tile.
Overhead screens, shade covers, and other similar structures must be integrated into the design of the Dwelling Unit and constructed of materials and color to match or complement the structure. All such roofs must be submitted to the Committee for approval prior to installation.


Security doors, security gates and screen doors must be metal and painted to match the exterior color or trim of the house. Any designs on the doors must be southwestern in nature and not cover more than 20% of the door. Any security doors, security gates and screen doors that do not meet the above criteria must be submitted to the Committee for approval prior to installation.


Security signs must be located a maximum distance of two (2) feet from the front of the Dwelling Unit. Security signs must not exceed twelve (12) inches by twelve (12) inches and must be maintained in good condition at all times.


No two (2) front elevations that are identical are permitted to be built adjacent to or opposite from one another. This will ensure visual relief and varying aesthetic streetscapes throughout the project.


Solar panels must be approved by the Committee before installation. Any approved solar panel must blend with the existing roof and be screened from view. Roof mounted panels can have a surface area of eight (8) feet by six (6) feet and must be an integrated part of the roof design and mounted directly to the roof plane. Solar units must not break the roof ridgeline and must not be visible from public view. Any solar panels and/or equipment exceeding a surface area of eight (8) feet by six (6) feet must be ground mounted and shall not be Visible From Neighboring Property, Common Areas, streets or public right-of-ways.


Storage sheds will need to be submitted to the Committee for approval. They must not exceed the maximum height of the immediately surrounding wall(s) or fence(s) and must be screened from view of all Common Areas. Approval in writing must be obtained from neighboring lots and include the owner’s name, lot number and street address if the shed height will exceed surrounding walls or fences. The setback for the storage shed from the perimeter wall must meet the setback requirements for the zoning district. Refer to the recorded final plats for setback information.


The location of swing sets, play structure and the like are subject to approval of the Committee if they are Visible From Neighboring Property. The Committee will consider a request for locating swing sets, play structures and the like if the properly filled out form (Exhibit “B”) is attached to the request together with a detailed drawing or photograph. A swing set, play structure request must meet the following requirements:

  • Maximum height cannot exceed 10 feet at ANY point

  • Minimum setback from property line must be 10 feet

  • Maximum height of any platform cannot exceed 4 feet

  • Canopies must be solid in color

Consideration may be given to height requirements up to 12 feet with a minimum setback of 15 feet from property lines.


Front yard turf areas are required to be contained by continuous walkways, driveways, headers, decorative walls, or topographical features such as mounding or boulders. Artificial turf is prohibited in front or side yards where visible from neighboring property.


In the event a variance is requested, the following items must be submitted to the Committee.
 A typed letter referencing the address of the Dwelling Unit involved, the name of the subdivision, a request that a variance be granted, a description of the variance(s) requested, and the reason for needing the variance(s).
 Any plans, photographs or other visual aids that will help to explain the variance(s) request should be included.
 If a landscape variance is requested, a landscape plan must be prepared and submitted which shows the footprint of the house and indicates plant varieties and locations.
The Committee will respond in writing to a request for variance(s) within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt or if no response is given the request is deemed denied.


Water features are permitted within rear yard areas. Any such items installed in the rear yard must not exceed the fence line height. Water features will be permitted in the front yard only if the feature is located near the entry to the house.


Permanent draperies or suitable window treatments must be installed on all windows within sixty (60) days of occupancy. All first floor windows visible from the street must have customary window treatments. Newspaper, sheets or reflective materials, including but not limited to, aluminum foil, reflective screens or glass, mirrors or similar type material, shall not be installed or placed upon the outside or inside of any windows. Bright colors are not permitted.
Screens, shades and rolladen type storm and security roll shutters must be submitted for review. Bronze or charcoal sunscreen material may be installed. The frame or window/sun screens must match the screen material or the existing window frames.

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