Should property owners be able to grow a jungle on their front lawns?



I am a strong supporter of the right of property owners to do as they wish on their properties with as little regulation as possible. But what happens when the activity on one person's private property affects others?

The WaPo was having a slow news day (there were no stories of white cops shooting blacks, and with only black on black crime, nothing to report), and so instead published a piece about a couple who grew what looks like a tall meadow on their front lawn.

A mutilated garter snake, a sliced frog and countless slashed grasshoppers. That was the scene of carnage in my yard in September, after local officials ordered me to mow my overgrown lawn or be fined $1,000. Three months earlier, I had stopped mowing my nearly one acre of country land outside of a rural Ohio town. A diverse potpourri of plants began to flourish, and a rich assortment of insects and animals followed.

Would you like to have a neighbor who attracts a "rich assortment of insects and animals"?

In June, my partner and I received an official written warning from the trustee board of St. Albans Township, stating that our yard had become “a nuisance.” In our case, the trustees decided that our lawn was too tall and thick and would attract “nuisance animals” such as “snakes and rodents.”

But the main point of growing a natural yard is to attract wildlife and build a self-regulating environment. The un-mowed plants in our yard attract plant-eating bugs and rodents, which in turn attract birds, bats, toads and garter snakes that eat them. Then hawks fly in to eat the snakes. Seeing all this life emerge in just one growing season made me realize just how much nature manicured lawns displace and disrupt.

About 95 percent of the natural landscape in the lower 48 states has been developed into cities, suburbs and farmland.

This is a bald faced lie. Humans only occupy 3% of the landmass of the earth. Look it up, or simply look at a satellite photo of the Earth.

Meanwhile, the global population of vertebrate animals, from birds to fish, has been cut in half during the past four decades.

How would the author know this? Has she counted them?

Nature preserves and parks are not enough to fix the problem; much of wildlife is migratory and needs continuous habitat to thrive. Natural yards can act as bridges between the larger natural spaces.

Sorry. I think with 97% wilderness, snakes and mosquitos don't need to congregate on my lawn.

If we allow ourselves to truly see a mowed lawn for what it is — a green desert that provides no food or shelter for wildlife — we can re-condition ourselves to take pride in not mowing.

A lawn is something that looks visually pleasing. . It's called quality of life. We change the environment around our homes so it looks beautiful. Nature exists to serve man, not the other way around.

...for the health of the planet, and for our own health, we need to start letting nature dictate how we design our outdoor spaces.

What she means is that she wants government to dictate how we design outdoor spaces.

This whole idea is nutty, and based on a lie that we are running out of wilderness land, which simply isn't true. I support private property rights, but hen there is the concept of zoning. When an area is zoned for residences, that doesn't mean you have the right to create a terranium or a serengeti on your front lawn. It can attract insects which spread disease or unwanted animals wh can migrate to other peoples' properties. Furthermore the mere appearance of blight on a front lawn makes the property look like a crack house and reduces the value of surrounding homes.

That's where the rights of property owners end--when it starts to effect the value and lifestyle of their neighbors.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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