First, untreated lawns are beautiful. Different colors, gorgeous blues and yellows, emerge as different "weeds" take root during different times of year. Now, nothing speaks to me more of the blandness of the suburbs than its staid, boring green lawns.
Second, I had NO IDEA that grass reseeded itself if you just let it flower. In fact, I had no idea grass flowered. If parts of your lawn are worn by activity (read children), all you have to do is let it grow and flower and it will "heal" itself.
Yes, I know how ignorant I sound. But that's my point. Homogenous, controlled environments breed ignorance. And in more ways than a child's lack of basic understanding of grass as a plant.
a particularly nice, narrow street in my city: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/2b/ea/06/2bea...
an article on the benefits of narrow streets: http://www.andrewalexanderprice.com/blog20140422.php
I've never been to the US so my mental picture of it (which Google Maps seems to confirm) is 99% extremely wide roads, not European-style walkable at all.
So I think, I could never move there (I can't drive a car) and places where I wouldn't need a car are to expensive to live in (NY, Washington).
Are there many Londons in the US?
EDIT: oh, it's Boston.
The destruction of Boston's old West End neighbourhood is an infamous example: http://www.bostonstreetcars.com/the-west-ends-transformation...
Here's before and after of Hastings Street and the surrounding area n Detroit: https://detroitenvironment.lsa.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/...
The surviving walkable neighbourhoods like Beacon Hill in Boston and Greenwich Village in New York (which was almost destroyed to build a highway) are now some of the most desired in the country. You would think people would want to build more neighbourhoods like these, but it is actually illegal due to car-friendly zoning codes, and politically impossible, and quite unpopular - car dependence is all many people have ever known, and a dense neighbourhood without copious free parking and wide roads is seen almost as a personal attack on our way of life.
On the other hand, I only recognized how incredibly dull it must be to live in some places when I visited northern Belgium and for the first time witnessed whole neighborhoods with the "perfectly trimmed" kind of gardening.
I saw a similar story in the UK  (Photo-only link ). There's no way I'd want to be living next door to that.
But then I looked up Alexandria, Ohio.
"Alexandria is a village in Licking County, Ohio, United States. The population was 517 at the 2010 census"
517! Wow! And they don't even live _in_ Alexandria. They live outside it!
So these people did go live in the middle of nowhere, and whatever counts out there as the agency of local dominion has decided that plots of land in the middle of nowhere need to be free of animals. Wooo boy.
But I don't like your attitude towards death. You might not care about snakes and frogs and such. That's fine. But they're neat animals, and it's not childish at all to not want to harm them.
And she has an entire acre, at least 4x larger than the typical lot size. At what size does her property become a "farm"?
I live in Arizona and have a lawn. It's expensive to upkeep and requires a ton of water. Many homes in my neighborhood have "natural" landscaping, basically rocks and cactus. I would too if I didn't have kids and a big dog. Natural is much more environmentally sound, and should be encouraged, not fined.
If the rules imposed by even a mild HOA were put in place by a local government there would be protests 24/7.
HOA's exist because they work out financially better than the alternatives. HOA's may not be for you, but for those that like higher property values, they are an acceptable trade-off.
Id say the evidence is clear: if you want to truly own your home, don't buy in an HOA. If you want others to make decisions for you, dictate how your home will look, and monitor you like a police force, then choose an HOA.
I'm not here to extoll the joys of paying and dealing with an HOA, they can be a hassle - I know it.
However, consider the alternatives: Move out to unincorporated land, build your 5 acre dream home, swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. Watch as a dump and trailer park open next door...consider what your options are.
Plenty of incorporated land in the US without HOAs. While some parts of the country can't seem to exist without them, much of the country (including where you have really nice homes) do not have them. No trailer parks next door - they can't afford the land.
Of course financially they work out better than the alternatives, a bunch of volunteer obsessives straight out of Wikipedia is cheaper than an array of trained bureaucrats following due process.
Some people won't go near Wikipedia and HOAs. It's a quality of life issue as well. It starts with the architectural regulations, which are always 10 years behind the current fashion, and continues with the position of your basketball hoop. You hear the HOA apologists talk as if towns didn't manage to get on top of nuisance properties.
HOA. All the oppression of government, and none of the due process.
You should know: When you say something is self-evident, you will be called out on it.
>HOA's exist because they work out financially better than the alternatives.
Definitely not self-evident. I've talked to real estate agents who do not agree that it affects house values. My neighborhood has no HOA. Lots of non-ideal lawns her. One block south of us they do have an HOA. Very neat lawns, and houses all properly painted. Those houses do not sell for more.
Perhaps it does impact the price of the house, but I'd wager it is a miniscule effect compared to all other factors (size, neighborhood amenities, schools, etc).
I find that most people who make the claim about property values use it as a post-hoc justification to wanting to enforce a certain aesthetic on others.
Point being, the impact on a $200K house may be negligible if its HOA or not - however once you move into >$1M home values they would be almost exclusively HOA. This is the self-evident part of the argument.
What percentage of HOA's are for >$1M houses? A small minority.
In my town, all the >$1M houses on sale right now have no HOA, BTW.
It wouldn't surprise me if nationally, HOAs are more correlated at the middle price range. Around 1 M most people don't like being told what to do. At the next level, sure, they probably exist just to pay for fancy country clubs or something.
Ours only exists to pool funds to split snowplowing in the winter and eventually resurface our private drive. Everything is run as a direct/pure democracy in the annual meeting, which is easy when there are 15 of us and nothing to talk about except snowplowing, resurfacing, whether we want to change the dues, who has new kids/grandkids/pets/jobs/lawn tractors, and who brought the best cookies this year.
There are no HOA rules above those already in place by the township, state, and federal governments. I can safely say that this status is unlikely to result in 24/7 protests.
Really? Are you being honest?? You really don't understand???
It's so you can tell your neighbors what they can and can't do with their own property. You give up your own freedom too, of course, but no one joins an HOA because they're worried how their own lawn might now.
While we both agree with the problem this person is having, I'm the opposite of you with regards to your statement. HOAs can have a lot more power with a lot less oversight. If one is going to have these kinds of rules, they should be in the city/state rules or not at all.
The "agree to when buying their homes" is a faulty way of looking at it. You also agree to laws of the city/state you live in. No one is preventing you from leaving if you don't like it.
Even under the loosest definitions of the word "farm", she would need a few multiples of her current acreage to qualify. An acre means you can have a large garden.
When it is zoned for agriculture.
Size doesn't have much to do with it, and neither does a barn in any way: It more matters on zoning and location.
Had a friend looking for a place with space for horses: Even a horse barn didn't mean she could keep them there. Same for my parents when they bought a hobby farm. One seemed perfect - 10+ acres, but the HOA where the house and barn sat didn't allow for the farm animals.
An example in North America - "With only 1½ acres cultivated in permanent beds, the farm grosses more than 100 000$ per acre with operating margins of about 60 per cent, enough to financially sustain his family." http://www.themarketgardener.com/
"an internationally recognized 10-acre micro-farm"
Even 10 acres is considered "micro". Also, that's 1.5 acres of cultivated permanent beds on 10 acres.
For a 1 acre farm, where are the homestead, barns, equipment(tractors, tillers, etc), animals, etc located? All of that takes up space, which can't be used for growing. You need more than a single acre to actually have an acre of growing area.
What we find many a time, is that townships and cities have an extraordinary amount of power to cause problems for landowners. We all think only HoA's can do this... and that's blatantly not true.
What exactly is a nuisance? Right now in this case is an untended yard. It's also been "improper house paint color". Or too many vehicles. Or too much traffic. Or harkening to older worse times, "wrong skin color" (just noticed the photo... possible sigh).
But how much control should government have over private property? As long as I'm not doing anything illegal, they shouldn't have any holding on my affairs... But then that's the root of the issue, is with an Ohio law allowing control to townships with an undefined term "nuisance".
The article mentions that non-native species are removed. In other words, the yard is tended to. It simply is not tended to in a way approved by the township.
Ohio, rural, ~400 people in county. Yeah, I'd be willing to bet money on "Living while black". It's not common, especially in areas like SV and high-tech areas. But the Appalachians and foothills are their own.. uniqueness. And Other-ism is definitely a concern and issue.
Don’t Bag Your Leaves: An Analysis of Nutrient Loss and Soil Depletion for Leaf Removal https://druidgarden.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/dont-bag-your-l...
I mean, some yards are for kids to play in, but most lawns are for nobody 99% of the time. I can look out the various windows of my home and spot about 50 yards and there's nobody in any of them. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon. When I do see people, they're doing yard work. We're so weird.
When my friend found a baby bunny and decided to keep him, we found out it's illegal to do so. Which was shocking. But looking further into it, it made sense. These kind rabbits are nothing like the domesticated ones and almost always dies in captivity. An article I read said it happened 4-6 weeks after captivity and this one died in 7.
It's unfortunate the article doesn't explain what the 'nuisance' is in this case. But what was the reason to have such strict laws in the first place? I ask not because I don't like nature but one sided stories often appear shocking but aren't that extreme when both sides are figured out.
After that we're quite dilligent at having the grass mowed every two weeks.
Is there a consensus on attracting wildlife to places where humans live? Having grown up in a place where every year at least one person in the village died from snake bites, I do not think I personally want to go back to those conditions.
(I don't think that's how it actually works, but it's the sort of counter-claim you hear advanced. Don't ask me to defend it; I can play devil's advocate pretty well, but to do so I need to be able to see the devil's point of view, and in this case I can't - where I live, the claim's often made about rats, but my observation has been that Baltimore rats don't give a good goddamn whether a yard is mowed or not.)
If I want to sell my house, the value is somewhat diminished by your presence. Ergo, peer pressure and government ordinance arise to settle the dispute.
Otoh, if you want to live somewhere without those things, get a home in the country where you can get more acres for your buck.
Normally, I would agree that individuals should be able to do as they please with their property; I'm typically a libertarian fellow. In this case, though, it's fairly obvious that "proper maintenance" is established to prevent harm to others, and that harm can be objectively measured.
With all of that said, I definitely wouldn't live anywhere with a housing association; there are limits to the above argument that I find they frequently cross.
> In this case
S/he is living in the country.
Sure, but that's the easy road to never settling the burnt feelings and the idea that your neighbor is "getting away with lawn murder".
Basing the standard in eco-science may mean a standard that everyone hates, but it's firmer ground that can be argued rationally.
My neighbour has a small area behind their garage that has long weeds and grass. It's about 5 meters square but it's got loads of mice in it.
Even all the neighbourhood cats combined can't catch all the mice since the mice breed so fast. The mice have started to invade other barns and homes of neighbours but at this point the amount is controllable.
It's an older couple who own the property so people are not going to say anything. And it's out of sight but it's amazing how a little thing, grass area I mean, can blow up into a problem with so many mice.
The previous owners were junk collectors and lived in the driveway in an RV and only worked outside at night ever see The Burbs movie? Some people really want or need or should be in a home in the country but they can't afford to move.
On an emotional level, I am repulsed by bleeding hearts who start an article with pathos for sliced sneks and grasshoppers.
To avoid situations like this either go to the city first and ask for an exemption. This shows them that you aren't some slacker, you're intentionally doing this. Offer to play wildflower seeds and such -- will sound nice. And get to know your neighbors. Send them a basket of cookies on Christmas... Tiff's Treats... they aren't very expensive.
It's over grown with wild flowers and the like. I always wondered what it would take to have my backyard designated that way.
Second, municipal governments make it illegal to actually do anything with that land other than wasting it as a lawn. Can't have chickens, can't plant it, etc.
In the winter and spring it's full and green with beautiful white and yellow wildflowers, and in the summer and fall it's a nice desertscape with a few small shrubs.
With all the rains this year the green is lasting a lot longer than usual.
This couple wants an exemption from the law, and it may be reasonable in their case. But that doesn't mean the law isn't for the greater good. Just that the law isn't highly nuanced.
Anyway, "ditch" as in lose or remove, it's American slang.
Those thing will eat you alive in tall grass. I have 18 acres I don't mow, and don't live on. Though the house I do live in, in suburbia, I keep that lawn mowed to keep the chiggers at bay.
Dandelions are some of the first food available to bees in the spring after a long hard winter of shivering. Please help them thrive!
If this woman weren't trying so hard to make a point, she would get the same natural grass that is grown on the side of highways and then mow it high every month or two. Highway departments don't spend a ton on maintenance, the grass isn't irrigated, and it hosts a variety of wildflowers, birds, rodents, etc. The grass on the side of the highway is planted like any other grass. They typically select grasses native to the area because they require little maintenance, so they will hold the soil down and prevent erosion.
By the definition there, much of the mid-atlantic states are not in the grass transition zone though.
We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13908239 and marked it off-topic.
I don't think insulting people who mow their lawns helps get her point across. I mow my lawn for obvious reasons: I like the way it looks, I like my neighbors, I don't like rats or hornet nests, etc. She'd be better served by trying to persuade me to reexamine the values that lead to not wanting big honking rats in my yard but she lost that chance when she implied I'm a zapped cow.
Are you arguing that obeying laws is conforming, and conforming is bad? Or that the law is so obviously flawed that nobody should conform to it?
Most people outside of serious lawn perfectionists do nothing other than simply mow their lawn once every week or two. I assume the fashion for perfectly green lawns in California deserts came from an imitation of the environment back east.
I guess Kudzu in Mississippi could be a problem,