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Experience with 'neighbourhood rules'

Posted by karyanca 6a (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 28, 09 at 9:52

One thing I don't appreciate about living in an urban environment is the lack of freedom when it comes to gardening. Our neighbourhood not only has the official rules to protect property value and the rights of other owners to the enjoyment of their property, but it also has arbitrary, changeable and unwritten "standards" imposed by the local neighbourhood committees.

Not that I would deliberately break the official rules, but sometimes I feel paralysed from doing even the most basic things - even in my back garden. Legally, they have some limited rights to enforce standards. Practically, they mostly just send harassing letters because legal enforcement is quite expensive.

Does anyone have experiencing dealing with this? Do you take the "easier to get forgiveness than permission" approach or the "document everything and get it in writing" approach? Or something in between?

The changes I'm interested in doing are easily undone - although with a financial cost to me. I'm just sick to death of feeling like I have no rights to make changes to my own garden.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Experience with 'neighbourhood rules'

I couldn't live in such a place. I visited a housing development on the northern California coast that only allowed native plants. Each house had a small walled front yard where you could plant what you wanted but the rest of your property could only have specific native plants and trees. A woman had a gigantic Puya chilensis that she was trying to donate to a botanical garden because they were forcing her to rip it out. The view of the ocean was spectacular but I think I would have moved.

You may get away with it for a bit but in the end they will probably just make you tear out your plants when you have grown attached to them or when they are about to bloom.

RE: Experience with 'neighbourhood rules'

Yeah, we had to deal w/ the Yard Nazis here. They made us take out a beautiful (slightly) raised bed DH built for tomatoes b'cuz it was "outside the norm" for the neighborhood. It was the same color as the house, w/ white trim just like the house. I could go on and on but won't. I was angry!

So to get even: we now plant veggies in our whole front foundation bed! As far as anyone can tell from just driving by, everything is just nice and green, so it falls "inside the norm". We use lettuces and spinach for edging in the spring, have tomatoes in large white planters at the sides, and peppers and summer squash in the main part of the foundation bed this year. If the Yard cops say anything I'd tell them these are no different than petunias or any other kind of annual, they will go away in the fall.

And they haven't said anything yet; Sig Heil, heil, right in der Fuhrer's face! Ja?

What we would love is about 50 acres...

RE: Experience with 'neighbourhood rules'

I think the whole HOA concept is frankly "UnAmerican." Where is our freedom??

The only way you can get around it is with containers. they can't say a word about that. Sheesh!! Now, I have done serious investigation, and I want a vineyard. Yes, a vineyard!! Therefore it is going in 5 gallon pots. A ton of them! Head trained, on a drip system, and I will make wine from the grapes.

The best containers I have found are those, and others like them. They are made from landscape fabric, and I figured out I can order that stuff and staple it together (with maybe a form of chicken wire?). The benefits of those are many because the roots get oxygen, get air pruned, never circle and grow laterals so the plant grows bigger and fuller.

Signing off! Your All American Girl!
Golfqtee aka Suzi

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