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David Beaulieu

Is Lawn Care A Social Obligation?

By November 23, 2012

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Reader, Charles initiated an interesting discussion about the social aspect of lawn care:photo of crabgrass

I recently bought a home with a lawn that needed some attention, including overseeding, patching, fertilizing, weed control, etc. After a couple months of hard labor the payoff was significant and a fuller, plush lawn emerged in the early part of July. However, I have recently run into a rapidly growing crabgrass problem. I suspect that these weeds are spreading from my neighbor's yard, where weeds are the "ground cover of choice" (or what they call a lawn). Am I correct in my assumptions and is there anything I can do to stave off the weed invasion? I was thinking of putting up a wall of fine mesh on stakes between our yards but thought that might be a wee bit obnoxious.

Unfortunately, I had to affirm the truth behind his assumption:

Crabgrass is a prolific seeder, and nearby seeds will find a way to get onto your property -- one way or another (e.g., birds will carry the seed over). You'd have to enclose your property totally within a bubble to keep out the crabgrass seed. My guess is that you'd be unwilling to do that, even if you could.

This discussion tends to make one reflect on how the phenomenon of the "well-manicured lawn" intersects with issues of a social nature. Indeed, it might not be going too far to claim that there is a cooperative element in achieving a well-manicured lawn. At the very least, it's safe to say that -- as Charles found out -- what your neighbor is doing can have a significant impact on how hard you'll have to work on your side of the fence to keep your lawn free of crabgrass.

Photo of crabgrass ©2006 David Beaulieu (licensed to About.com)


August 22, 2007 at 8:47 pm
(1) Susan Dorris says:

Regarding your poll. NO, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I object to the water and chemical use required for my neighbors’ so called ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ lawn and it’s impact on the environment and my children and pets. This has nothing to do with laziness or my lack of consideration to keep up the appearance of my community and everything to do about a healthier, safer life for us all.

August 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm
(2) William Paul says:

I agree with Susan. They myth of a green lawn representing virility or purity is past. A green lawn represents waster of water, over use of chemicals, lack of imagination, and an ethic that we can no longer affirm. There are many wonderful, natural, and native landscapes that please the eye rather than starve it. How about some articles about how to get rid of your yard.

August 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm
(3) Knuckles says:

Even if your neighbor decided to spruce up his lawn crabgrass will always find its way to your lawn via runoff, animals, or wind it’s just natures way.
I don’t condone using chemicals to rid the crabgrass. Try sowing more grass seed over and around the patches of crabgrass and choke it out naturally.

August 22, 2007 at 10:10 pm
(4) Gail says:

I know my neighbors lawns are just beautiful but I am totally disabled and so is my husband. I would like to have a lawn like theirs but not only can I not physically take care of my lawn like that, but I can’t pay the bills I have and am drowning in debt. What would you do, have a nice lawn or be able to have heat, lights and food and be able to buy groceries so that you have food to eat? I wonder what most people would say?

August 22, 2007 at 10:42 pm
(5) zizi says:

I don’t like grass,I like flowers, trees and bushes.
What I do is removing step by step the grass, planting flowers and more flowers and more trees instead.
I am very satisfied with my beautiful front and backyard ,and no one say nothing against my work.

August 22, 2007 at 11:28 pm
(6) Grtlif says:

No. I lived in a neighborhood surrounded by nice people who worked at having pristine green lawns. A neighbor approached me saying,”You know if EVERYONE would use Spectricide and a little work our lawns would be perfect.” I responded, “Maam, if I used Spectricide, everyones lawn would look AVERAGE! Your welcome.” BTW, we did raise two fine sons who took a lot of work–and referred to our opinionated neighbors as, “Yard Nazis.”

August 22, 2007 at 11:39 pm
(7) don r says:

we live on a cul-de-sac with approx. 13 homes. we are governed by the deadly couvenants. i think about 5 of the families are retired military. my wife describes even more of of the religious right. you better abide by the rules or a letter or representative of the cul-de-sac know it alls will contact you. one home in particular is occupied by several tweny year olds. they were told to keep up their lawn or a commercial company will do the word and the household will pay. the couvenant has some good ideas, but it cab go to far.

August 23, 2007 at 1:22 am
(8) aqrose says:

Kudzu is the issue for me. My yard is mainly clover & weeds with flower beds in the front. So as long as I keep it short and neat, they don’t really care or not enough to say anything to me about it. But the back yard is a different issue altogether. My house sits on a lot that is adjacent to some woods that are slowly being choked to death by kudzu and it has taken over my back yard and is working its way up toward the front. I have a lawn mower just to mow the kudzu. I cannot stand the thought of constantly spraying chemicals on it to kill it and the few times in the past when I gave in and tried some spray, it did no good. I’m physically unable to conquer it on my own. It would be a herculean task to irradicate it. I cannot afford to pay someone else to do it. My aunt recommended a goat but the city will not let me have one because my house is inside the city limits even though I can see the city limits sign from my yard! The kudzu doesn’t stop at my fence, of course, and is going into my neighbors’ yards and they look at me like it’s my fault. It came from the woods! One young man even told me (I’m sure he thought helpfully so) that to get rid of it for good, I’d need to go dig up the roots. Um, you go right ahead. It’s all yours! He never actually offered to do it for me, though, imagine that!
I’d never survive in a neighborhood where they could actually tell me what to do in my yard. They’d probably come with torches and pitchforks if they could see my yard. Any kudzu ridding suggestions?

August 23, 2007 at 6:26 am
(9) Caeli says:

There is a growing trend to change the ideas about pristine LAWNS.

Here in Cincinnati we are fighting our “weeds” ordinance… and are trying to promote “natural” landscaping with native plants and wildflowers. It is an aesthetical shift.

I live in a community where that is a really nice look potentially. Yellow Springs Ohio heartily embraces that and it gives the village a really nice feel to it.

Here are some resources if you want to leave the lawn route



August 23, 2007 at 6:57 am
(10) jack says:

there is crabgrass, nutsedge, wild garlic, , wild violet and common chickweed in my front lawn; for starters. Along with some grass, all are in competition against the roots of a well-established silver maple tree. Sure i would like a nice lawn but i am fighting a loosing battle and don’t mind. i am not infested with an abundance of grubs and other root eating pests so i manage the greenery on top with a mower and don’t get excited about the neighbor’s competitive spirit. in fact i have done a 360 and annually expand my front garden spaces. And by adding perennials to my neighbor’s garden side, the smiles are seen all around me.

August 23, 2007 at 9:53 am
(11) Carole says:

In my state they are promoting more native landscaping and LESS lawn. If you absolutely need grass, they suggest keeping it to 1/3 of your yard. Fewer chemicals, less water usage, less maintenance. I love my native plants!

August 23, 2007 at 10:34 am
(12) cw says:

I have to agree with most of the comments here. I have a “nice” lawn and so do most of my neighbors but a few weeds are always there unless you are a “Yard Nazi”.

I’m highly allergic to poisons and herbacides so I simply don’t use them. I dig up what I don’t want and use organic fertilizers on the rest. Some of my neighbors are not able to keep their yards “as nice” but as long as it’s kept neat and mowed that’s their business, after all it’s their yard.

August 23, 2007 at 11:26 am
(13) Holly Stone says:

Well I love a pretty manicured lawn. I have rhuematoid arthritis and have ahd total knee replacement and sleep with braces on my wrists and have my shoulder injected fairly often And do an IV infusion once a month And I am 48 yrs. old: But it soothes my soul to work in my lawn and gardens. I fell such accomplishment and pride. Don’t get me wrong I love a natural look but call me crazy order to a natural look is still more asthetically pleasing. And it is great exercise. The old English gardens full and natural looking are effort I’m sure. We bought an old house in OCT. ’06, built in 1901 and are reburbing it and the lawn had ten dogs and NOTHING BUT WEEDS (crabgassby the score) It has been work but also my pleasure to bring the manicured beauty back to this yard (and house) There were two small 5×7 spots of St. Augustine grass and then nothing but weeds, the lawn is almost an acre. we put out new sod after it would wet the ground and then sit on my little pull around yard seat and now I am ahead of the game the ground and pull and dig up weeds. I even help the neighbors with theirs they are my friends and we work together when we can. There is plenty of natural land out there that we let nature ahve and rule but I think if we all could try just a little bit on our little piece of the earth it would and could be easier on us all. I don’t like alot of chemicals either but sometimes they are nessesary but good old weed pulling and digging (especially before the weed seeds or puts out rhysomes) is well worth the effort. I also did this while raising to beautiful children and pets and have a husband. Where their is a will there is a way. I know there will be many more weeds to come but I am up for the challenge. Have a wonderfully blessed day. Holly from Texas

August 23, 2007 at 1:21 pm
(14) Donait says:

NO, NO, NO! I believe it’s in the best interest of all the other inhabitants of my yard – lizards, frogs, toads, snakes, birds, rabbits, deer and numerous insects – that I DON’T coat my ‘lawn’ with chemicals. I believe in allowing native grasses and wildflowers to grow in my yard where I don’t have flowerbeds. They require less care and water – I don’t mow as often (bonus for the environment), I never water, and if I do fertilize, it’s with organic fertilizers.

I find it ironic that many people grow in their gardens (native grasses and plants) what I have in my entire yard.

Even my flowerbeds are natives or plants that are well acclimated to my area. If they can’t survive a Texas summer without water, they don’t go in my garden.

I feel it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay away from well-manicured lawns. Think of all the air and water pollution that would never come about if more people held that belief.

Besides..most well-manicured lawns are monocultures. A big no-no to Mother Nature.

August 23, 2007 at 1:50 pm
(15) NY Steve says:

I have to say that a few of the home owners that surround me fail to consider a social aspect and more serious a legal outcome. When weeds,uncut grass,over grown trees that eventually will break and cause property damage. Tree roots that damage driveways. In addition to sanitation and fire safety. Your neighbors landscaping does have an affect on the price of your home in addition too showing concern for others. Nothing ruins the good neighbor relationship than a lawsuit. A “well-manicured lawn / yard” is an indication of class and respect. Really who wants to live next to a slob? $400.000 for a home you would expect clean and tidy lawn.And less work cleaning the other guys mess on your side. Poor landscaping is a clear indication of foreclosure or sale in my area. Again I am not talking about a picture perfect lawn. just sfae clean and tidy.

August 23, 2007 at 2:20 pm
(16) Heather says:

Firstly, it is both irresponsible and dangerous to use toxic chemicals on grass and lawns.We are well enough informed now to understand the risks involved, particulary to young children and animals. A perfectly ‘manicured’ lawn is hard to justify when we assess the riks.
Secondly, the single most serious environmental challenge we will face in the years to come, above climate change even, is the shortage of drinkable water world-wide. While most affluent countries currently have no problem (see the issue in Australia currently) – this will not last forever and we have a duty to generations who follow to act responsibly in our use of natural resouces. No pesticides and no lawn watering!!!!!!

August 23, 2007 at 2:21 pm
(17) Sue says:

This has always bugged the heck out of me – mind your own business and if you dont like what MY home looks like then you come over and mow it for me OK ? Otherwise, shut up – I paid someone to do my lawn and thats all I have to do – I dont care if its not up to YOUR high standards, if you want to spend hours and hours of your time in the yard, then have at it – but I have better things to do with my time and money – as long as I am within the city regulation then if its good enough for them its good enough for you too – tough. I hate yardwork with a passion and always have and always will and dont really care what others have to say

August 23, 2007 at 2:30 pm
(18) Chris says:

I 100% agree with Steve from NY. I mean come on. Unkept lawns are dreadful to look at, reduce the price prospective people are willing to pay for your property when they view it and is just down right disgusting to view when I go outside. I can tell that the vast majority of comments on this posting in regards to “chemical” use is from uneducated people on this particular matter. When done properly, the “chemicals” put down on the lawn are used up by the lawn grass itself. Now I understand the problem with “when done properly”—but come on, it is not that difficult to learn how to do it properly. I understand that there are cases where some people cannot physically perfrom the work…but for the vast majority, in my experience, it is simple laziness that is the culprit in not wanting to get out and do the physical labor required to have your home look nice. Uncut grass, overgrown trees, hedges that need trimming and weeds galore are an embarrassment to any neighborhood and it boggles my mind why anyone would want to allow that to persist in the place where you call home. It absolutely affects the neighborhood property values and in the end hurts you directly in your pocketbook when you go to sell your home. The statement from Steve “A well manicured lawn/yard is an indication of class and respect” is absolutely true. Have some class, therefore giving your neighborhood that you live in some class and have some respect for your other property owners around you. Keep your weeds to yourself and stop being a slob. I don’t make my mortgage payment each month wanting to go outside and find your overgrown yard infesting mine with your “natural” plants while you sit in the house on the couch and watch TV instead of doing something about it. It doesn’t have to be perfect…but make an effort.

August 23, 2007 at 2:36 pm
(19) Marta says:

It would be natural to never bathe or groom oneself as well and save on water, chemicals, etc. but the outcome would be pretty awful. So it goes for your yard. I bet these same people who do not want to put effort into their yards are ones who love public parks and gardens. If we let them become overgrown with roots and weeds and choke the life out of the beautiful plants, grass and trees – they would be horrified. There is nothing natural about sticking a concrete slab and house on land but we do it because we want to live in comfort. Part of that includes the property to be maintained with the home. My house value is dictated by my neighborhood as much as by the house itself. So get out there and do your part. Lots of organic options to having a great lawn and flowerbeds.

August 23, 2007 at 2:44 pm
(20) Eleanor Hamilton says:

In Colorado, we have been in the midst of a drought for about the last 8 or 10 years. I live in one of those ‘covenant commnities.’ (AVOID those if at all possible!) The State, County, Ciity, etc. said QUIT WATERING YOUR GRASS. Not entirely, but the times when you COULD water were excessively restrictive. PLUS – my front yard was on an incline so no matter how skillfully I placed my hoses, SOME of the water was inclined to run down in to the street. The good old WATER POLICE then started going around, ARRESTING people who had damp sidewalks! So I just plain out quit watering the stuff out front. Well, pretty soon, the Home Owners Association did their usual number about how unsightly all of that ‘brown’ grass was in so many yards and The HOA started handing out fines for peole who did NOT water their grass. WHAT to do – caught between two massive, mindless institutions, neither of whom was going to budge an inch. Well, I finally decided that I have the solution. I yanked out the grass and put in rocks, with some water conscious berry-producing bushes (choke berry, nanny berry – you get the picture.) Plus a few trees and some peonies. My choice I figured – I was being socially conscious – helping to conserve water – and providing bushes with berries which would feed the birds, etc. I had lovely flowers in the spring, bright berries during the summer and brillian foliage in the fall. I figured I had it all covered. But, nay – not so. The NEXT thing I knew, the HOA was complaining that my berry-producing bushes attracted TOO MANY birds. I would have thought that people would have been HAPPY to listen to the song of the Meadow Lark but – nay, not so. You see, the berries ALSO attracted birds with NON-melodious songs – such as blue jays, crows and mocking birds! Not to mention, of course, OTHER kinds of critters ALSO liked the berries – including the rabbits and squirrels! I finally decided well – you can’t win them all but – like Charlie Brown – I was beginning to think that I would be happy if I could win just ONE. THEN the State of Colorado passed the Home Owners Bill of Rights. ALL OF A SUDDEN – it was OK for me to have meadowlarks and butterflies where there had once been brown grass! My advice to home owners who have finally realized that you can’t please most people most of the time – CAMPAIGN in your state for a HOMEOWNERS BILL OF RIGHTS modeled on the bill recently passed in Colorado. It will save you TONS of time, money and energy dealing with nuisance complaints! Sincerely, Ms. Eleanor Hamilton, Westminster, Colorado

August 23, 2007 at 2:46 pm
(21) Anita says:

I have to agree with all those who say that a manicured, green lawn is not an environmentally sound way to keep your property. On every level from water conservation to chemical use. Grass is simply not the what grows naturally that is why it takes so much effort to maintain. As long as the yard is neat and tidy then it is none of your neighbour’s business what you grow there. BTW, corn gluten meal is a seed germination inhibitor. Natural and easy to use. Just put that on your perfect lawn to keep your neighbours weed seeds from infecting your property.

August 23, 2007 at 2:53 pm
(22) Lauria says:

The opening of this article asked the questions, “should the neighbors be allowed to let their lawn grow into a jungle?”, therefore I thought the poll would concern “neat” yards vs. “eyesores.” Everyone in our neighborhood keeps their lawns neat, and by that I mean we don’t let the grass get knee-deep. Other than one rather finicky man, yard care around here consists of mowing, weedeating and our amateur attempts at landscaping. On yards which average an acre in size, that is about all middle-class working people can expect.

I would have a problem if people didn’t mow their grass at all. Many cities have ordinances about overgrown yards, and for good reason. Yards left totally untended are a haven for rodents and snakes.

We don’t use chemicals, and I would have to say that what grass we have planted only serves to fill in the bare spots between the crabgrass and clover. In that respect, I don’t feel it is one’s social obligation to use chemicals and professional landscapers just because one’s neighbor does. We just aim to keep our grass low enough that our toy poodle won’t get lost in it.

August 23, 2007 at 3:29 pm
(23) Lynn E says:

I am in the unfortunate position of owning a home next door to a USDA Rural Development property. Basically, a welfare slum. I’ve had to deal with two “owners” (both foreclosed upon due to non-payment) who were either too lazy to mow their lawns and rake their leaves, or too stupid to know how. Four years of these owner/squatters dragging down the value of my property bit by bit with their filthy ways (chained-up, skinny dogs, car parts, broken toys, bags of garbage and half-burned, stinking household waste in the yard with the weeds and unraked leaves). I’ve called the county, the village and the police with blight complaints. Repeatedly. The last one finally got escorted permanently out when the police discovered she was growing pot in the shed. This is an extreme example, but my point is that it DOES matter what our neighbors do, and what we do as neighbors. For a number of reasons, I choose not to use chemicals on my property. My lawn has a lot of non-golf-course plants (crabgrass, sorrel, dock, plantain, dandelion) that I keep under control by hand-weeding. Most importantly, they never go to seed – because I MOW MY LAWN – so they don’t become a nuisance to my neighbors. From a distance, my yard is mostly a nice green (the weeds stay green even when grasses die during drought). It looks tidy and maintained. In the autumn I rake my leaves (and the unraked windblown welfare slum’s leaves) so my neighbors don’t have to. If you want to buy a home: LOCATION is everything. A decent home in a great, well-maintained neighborhood is far better than a fabulous home in a shabby neighborhood. Your crappy neighbors WILL drag your home value down, and it just seems to deteriorate further with time. If there are vacant homes, find out why. If they are HUD or USDA homes – don’t buy! If you already live next to a crappy slum neighbor, find out if your community has any blight laws and COMPLAIN. If there are no blight law, fight to get one. I’m not talking about those wacko associations that dictate specific lawn height and one approved color for pea gravel. Just some simple, common sense guidelines: Mow your lawn. Rake your leaves. Dispose of your trash – appropriately and legally. Be a good neighbor – maintain your property.

August 23, 2007 at 4:23 pm
(24) Marshall says:

I think it depends upon where you live. If you chose to move into a community that has CCRs, then you probably agreed to maintain your area in a certain manner. The others in that community agreed to those CCRs when they bought their homes and have a right to expect others to abide by those CCRs, too. If you don’t want to abide by those CCRs, buy in a community or place that has none and do your own thing.

August 23, 2007 at 4:39 pm
(25) April says:

Who cares? There are more important things to worry about than if other people are happy about your lawn. It’s your LAWN. Honestly, get a life. If you want to do it for exercise, great! If you like doing yard stuff, great! Involve your kids! But stay out of my business. This is a free society and it doesn’t matter what your lawn looks like. Are you also worried about what the neighbours think of what you eat for dinner or where you shop for your clothes, or how exepensive your car is? If you have enough time to be that nosy-neighbour, maybe look for neighbours who are isolated, ederly adults who could use a visit.

August 23, 2007 at 4:45 pm
(26) katy says:

I believe this question is more complicated than a simple yes or no. I didn’t vote either way, because I think it is a balance. Yes, I should keep my yard relatively well maintained because my neighbors care what they have to look at every day on their way home, and if you sign a covenant promising a certain standard of lawn maintenance then you are honor bound to keep the covenant. No one made you move there, but where no covenant exists there also needs to be tolerance for different opinions and priorities. Holly from Texas said, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” However, for many there isn’t the will to put that kind of time into a lawn. If you enjoy it, then knock yourself out, but some people might prefer to spend their time elsewhere.

August 23, 2007 at 4:50 pm
(27) Daphne says:

I have to say that it is sad that we feel like we have to please our neighbors more then ourselves. I want to have a nice lawn just as much as the next person! I am the one who pays the mortgage, not my neighbor’s, so if I choose not to kill my crabgrass that is my choice not theirs. I enjoy being outside and taking care of my lawn and you will find me out there everyday. I do not expect my neighbor to enjoy the same things that I do. I do pay for a company to spray for weed’s but again I don’t think everyone has to do the same. I guess what I am saying that it is your yard and if you like the Pink Flamingo with the crabgrass growing all around its feet and no one else does too bad, you cant expect everyone to like and feel the same way you do.

August 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm
(28) Ronald J. Bower says:

How I manage my property is basically my business until such time that it becomes a hazard. I purchased my home in 1987 and have consistently allowed the yard to go “natural.” I have neighbors who feel that I should cut my trees, spread weed-killer and mow three times a week. Strangely enough I have people wanting to buy my home just for the landscaping. I have a 1 acre lot, with about 50 trees (dogwoods, poplars, oaks, maples and loblolly pines, plus decorative plants like azaleas.) During the hurricane season, my trees absorb the winds and in the past 20 years I have lost three shingles. My neighbor, who cut his trees has lost three roofs. My home is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, a virtual home for wildlife (yes I have snakes, but also, possums, squirrels, birds, and at least 1 six point buck.) A great place for my grandchildren to learn about nature and science. You want neatly mowed grass, send mortgage paymenst!

August 23, 2007 at 5:01 pm
(29) Chris says:

April – not sure how your posting even applies??? Did you even read the previous postings? It ABSOLUTELY matters what YOUR lawn looks like because it impacts the value of my property and surrounding neighborhood values. What you eat for dinner or what car you drive does not impact the value of the property I bought (unless you buy a crappy car that you leave broke down in front of your house!!) If you chose to move into a neighborhood that has a homeowners association with certain rules…you willing signed to buy that house and abide by those rules. You cannot argue the difference (in visual appeal & property value) between a well kept neighborhood with a good homeowners assocation vs. a neighborhood that has no oversight. Not all neighborhoods without oversight are bad…that is not what I am saying…but for the most part it is true. I guess that is the difference as I said earlier between having class and respect and not. I would much rather spend my money in a neighborhood that is well kept and will increase in value so that I make money on my purchase than one that is allowed to deteriorate over time and decrease in value, become a ‘renters’ neighborhood full of evictions where noone cares and an eyesore for the rest of the community to have to look at as we travel to and from our destinations.

August 23, 2007 at 5:09 pm
(30) April says:

My posting might make sense to you if you take the time to read other postings that people had previously posted regarding attention to their lawns, either pro or con. Did YOU even read any of the other posts? It’s disturbing that you’re THAT class obsessed. I understand that some people HAVE TO keep very well-manicured lawns, because they moved into a certain neighbourhood; however, that’s not the only posting topic related to this thread, Chris.

August 23, 2007 at 5:15 pm
(31) Cindy M says:

I’m striving for a more “natural” appearance to my lawn. For years, it’s been a lawn care service and worrying about what the neighbors think, and I’m fed up with it. It’s an incredible waste of time and money to maintain the bright green color, and for what?? My goal now is to gradually “kill” off my lawn in sections so someday I don’t have to use a lawnmower anymore. I’m not a tree hugger but this makes good sense to me in the long run. I refuse to water the darn thing anymore but will keep it cut as long as it’s there.

August 23, 2007 at 5:22 pm
(32) Chris says:

April – the purpose of this string discussion is the social responsibility of neighbors to keep their lawns maintained. My point is that keeping your lawn maintained is your social responsibility to your neighborhood. You response is “its your LAWN”…yes it is..and it impacts all your neighbors around you…that is why you have to keep ‘your LAWN’ maintained. It is not that I am that class obsessed…it is that I am obsessed with increasing the value of my property and having a nice neighborhood to come home to at the end of the day. When people do not maintain ‘their LAWN’ then it has a direct impact on everyone around them…which is the question of the thread in the first place.

August 23, 2007 at 5:22 pm
(33) Joe says:

Please!! The old “your yard affects my property value” is the classic marching song of the Yard Nazi. Any realtor worth his/her salt will tell you that’s a load of bull. You want to talk about driving values down? – you couldn’t sell me a house in a neighborhood full of nosy, anal-retentive grass fetishists at any price. “Class and respect” are subjective matters, folks.

August 23, 2007 at 5:29 pm
(34) Chris says:

If you are trying to say that when you drive up to a prospective home that you are thinking of buying and on either side are overgrown, out-of-control yards that are in serious need or attention that it does not dissuade buyers…you have lost your mind. Any realtor is going to tell you what you want to hear to get the sale…they are there to make money…period. Class and respect are subjective..of course…but for the most part, when compared, the nicer neighborhoods (with maintained lawns)…the homes are worth more money and appreciate at a greater rate when compared against neighborhoods that the overall appearance is lacking.

August 23, 2007 at 5:34 pm
(35) Joe says:

…the nicer neighborhoods (with maintained lawns)…

That’s your criterion for a “nicer” neighborhood? I feel sorry for you, my friend.

And for the record, I’m not talking about what a realtor will tell you, I’m talking about what is.

August 23, 2007 at 5:43 pm
(36) Amy says:

Do you lurk on here for dissenters? Hahaha, your property values are going to be THAT affected by a less-than-perfectly manicured lawn? I would like to think that people looking to buy a home would be more wary of snobbish, patronizing neighbors who think that appearance is the end-all be-all.

August 23, 2007 at 5:47 pm
(37) Chris says:

No..that is not ‘the’ criterion for a ‘nicer neighborhood’.

My point is the neighborhoods that have houses with prices above the median housing cost, where people, for the most part, are not concerned about making the next monthly electric bill payment, spending a little on the yard or how we are going to pay for the next bill that comes in the mail, are better maintained, are worth more money when resold and nicer than neighborhoods where that is not the case.

It is, whether you want to confront this fact or not, a matter of economics. People who have more disposable income don’t necessarily enjoy yard work any more than someone who has no disposable income. The difference is they pay to have it done for them (by professionals) because they realize the gained value of living in a neighborhood that is well maintained and desirable will bring a higher selling price than one that is not. Which brings me back to my point…your neighbors lawn impacts the desirability of your neighborhood in general and therefore the property value of that neighborhood in which you live, thereby impacting the value of your property specifically.

Is it your social responsibility to maintain your lawn…abosolutly, so that everyone in the neighborhood will benefit by increased home prices and greater returns on investment in that property.

August 23, 2007 at 5:56 pm
(38) Joe says:

Thank you, Amy! My point exactly. And Chris, you stated a couple of postings ago that “Class and respect are subjective..of course…” but posted earlier that, “The statement from Steve ‘A well manicured lawn/yard is an indication of class and respect’ is absolutely true. It can hardly be both ways, Chris. Then again, you also say that a neighbor’s lawn “absolutely affects the neighborhood property values” and above, you say, “Is it your social responsibility to maintain your lawn…abosolutly”. I’d suggest you either look up the definition of “absolutely” or find a new buzzword. “Absolutely” to you, it seems, refers to whatever happens to be your opinion. The hallmark of the obsessive persolatity is a tendency to deal in false absolutes.

August 23, 2007 at 5:58 pm
(39) Joe says:

Oops – make that, “The hallmark of the obsessive personality…”

Guess my fingers don’t work any better than my lawnmower. ;-)

August 23, 2007 at 6:03 pm
(40) JJH says:

Both sides of this have a point, but the more interesting is what are the conditions at the point of entry when you purchase your home. Have you ever seen a parade of homes with run over lawns, no is the answer. In todays real estate hell each home and community is selling against each other and what is to your left and right directly impacts the decision on the middle. The “expectation” is the condition that you purchase into the community at your point of entry, but the reality is that many home owners grossly underestimate the cost and time allocation of upkeep for not only the lawn but the home itself. Be it 20 year paint, 15 year shingles or fungus in your fescue mid summer, they all take preventitive maintenance to keep in check and you rarely can wait until the warranty time says you can to deploy the fix without weathering additional costs had you have stayed ahead of the issue. No different than your physical presence good food, exercise, moderation is what keeps you going and finally listening to the warning signs from your body telling you that there is something wrong and then you doing something about it…..imagine if you did not.

In todays dual income society for most folks to survive, time deprived partners and children with academic needs and as well as your social life require balance…..which takes us back to lawn care. You as a member of the community have a responsibility just as others do to you. You may think you are the island, but in reality we all have to depend on each other and yes you should keep your lawn in check. Be enviromentally friendly, ask the neighbor that is doing it well how they do it and how they can do it cheap cause not all of us have mega bucks.

If you question the right or wrong of this thats okay, but to keep your self in check read the book Fixing Broken Windows and urban decay. It speaks right to this point. Enjoyed all of your notes from above….

August 23, 2007 at 6:03 pm
(41) Chris says:

The absolute term is this…if your lawn is maintained, people want to live there…if it is not, they don’t or either they are of the same mindset and don’t care what it looks like…which comes back to my point of value of the maintained neighborhood vs. the unmaintained neighborhood.

The maintained neighborhood always will sell for greater than that of the unmaintained neighborhood.

August 23, 2007 at 6:04 pm
(42) Daphne says:

Cant we all just get along? We all have different views on things so we should just leave it at that. Just so you know I do not pay someone to help me with my lawn because I am thinking about how much I can sell my house for or because of my neighbors, I just bought it 3 months ago. I pay them because I like to look at my nice yard, which by the way does have crabgrass. Again I am not trying to please my neighbors, just myself.

August 23, 2007 at 6:08 pm
(43) chris says:

JJH – very well put and right on the money.

The underlying theme that I have found in most people with the attitude of “its my lawn and I will do whatever I want” is the “island” mentality as you put it. We are not an island and should realize that. If we would all work together it would be better and more valuable for everyone involved in the long run.

August 23, 2007 at 6:27 pm
(44) Joe says:

“The absolute term is this…if your lawn is maintained, people want to live there…”

Huh? Chris, in my homebuying travels I’ve been shown many homes with “nice” lawns that, for a variety of reasons, I did not want to live in. Yet another false absolute. Unfix your fixation. Free your mind.

August 23, 2007 at 6:29 pm
(45) Joe says:

“If we would all work together” at doing things Chris’s way, you mean.

August 23, 2007 at 6:54 pm
(46) Chris says:

Joe – of course you are not going to want to live in every home you look at during your home search – with or without a lawn. My point is in general…a well maintained neighborhood is more attractive and sells for a greater price than one that is not.

Just as JJH put it…when was the last time you saw a tour of homes that did not have nice lawns??? Never…because people in general don’t want to see a crappy lawn.

August 23, 2007 at 7:08 pm
(47) Joe says:

I’ve seen more than my share of what you’d probably consider crappy lawns on home tours. I get your point, but how can it be both “general’ and “absolute”? Any more that “class and respect” being both subjective and “absolutely” ties to a pretty lawn?

My point is that you might examine your own need to speak in “absolutes” as the source of your lawn preferences (and desire to impose them on others), rather than subscribing to the age-old diminished property value canard.

August 23, 2007 at 7:13 pm
(48) Chris says:

Joe – Is it your stance and belief that homes in a neighborhood with unmaintained lawns & landscapes can and will sell for more than homes in a neighborhood with well maintained lawns & landscapes (of course this is hypothetical because to answer the question all other factors have to be considered equal, i.e., same houses, floor plans, locations, etc.)?

August 23, 2007 at 7:17 pm
(49) Joe says:

Certainly not. It’s my contention that they won’t, based on the lawn factor, sell for less. It’s my contention that “Yard Nazis” use that erroneous assumption to justify a purely selfish postion.

August 23, 2007 at 7:20 pm
(50) Chris says:

Joe – My point goes back to the point of the discussion in the first place. It is absolutely true that homes in a subdivision that have well maintained lawns & landscaping will sell for more money than homes in a subdivision that do not. That therefore is the basis for saying that it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain their lawns so that the property values in the neighborhood increase at a greater pace than those of neighborhoods that do not.

That fact in and of itself shows the value of maintaining your lawn.

August 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm
(51) Chris says:

The value of well maintained landscaping, at least I thought, was self-evident. That is part of the reason why homeowners associations were developed in the first place. So that some rules and regulations would have to be followed and maintained so that the overall property values for everyone would increase.

Would you allow your neighbor to park broken down cars in the street in front of his house, in the driveway without regard to anyone else. Would you allow him to collect trash in his yard (front or back) without disposing of it? How about the home itself – would it be acceptable for the person to not maintain their home and for it to become in disrepair. I would hope not because that would impact the value of your home. They are not doing anything directly to you but they are doing something to impact the neighborhood….just like not maintaining their landscaping impacts the neighborhood.

August 23, 2007 at 7:32 pm
(52) Chris says:

Thanks for the debate…I did not intend, directly or indirectly, to offend anyone by any means. It is good to have discussions in regards to various topics with this being one of them. I have to sign off….it is ‘meet the teacher’ night at my sons private school tonight. I will return as soon as I can after we are done meeting the teacher…lol. I look forward to reading your comments when I return.

August 23, 2007 at 11:45 pm
(53) Kim says:

I agree with Susan. I do not believe in using a lot of fertilizer and chemicals on my lawn. We will do it twice a year to keep it somewhat under control. My motto: Everything in moderation.

August 24, 2007 at 12:17 am
(54) Epicurienne says:

IMHO, church, kids, and yard work are the three biggest time-wasters that we Americans inflict on ourselves.

The yard is that thing I cross to get into the car to go somewhere else. If I want “nature” or “the great outdoors”, that’s what parks are for.

August 24, 2007 at 1:46 pm
(55) Ell says:

I’m disappointed, but not surprised, to see that the no’s are beating the yes’s on this issue. There is more involved here than lawncare or the lack of it. The attitude that what we do as individuals is entirely our business and the rest of the world be damned is a fine example of the crabgrass-like creeping discourtesy and self-centeredness taking over our culture. You 51% no-vote folks are correct: I have no right to tell you what to do on your own property. I have no right to suggest you mow your lawn or rake your leaves. But I end up with all of your weeds and leaves in MY yard. Your laziness doubles my work. You are selfish, arrogant and rude.

August 24, 2007 at 10:19 pm
(56) Bill Arnold says:

The writer seems to be complaining about a neighbor with a “whatever species survive regular mowing” lawn. For some people it’s a choice to not use the chems required to maintain a monocultural lawn. I have a moderate (50′*75′) pond in my yard fed by upstream neighboors. When algae blooms and duckweed take over, it is directly caused by lawn fertilizer runoff from the lawns of upstream lawn fanatics. (Eventual their chems run into a major city’s reservior system.) When I see a upstream neighbor with a pristine green lawn, the thought “selfish” does cross the mind. (“ugly” is reserved for yards with no gardens – that’s where spouse and I compete with the Jones.)

August 24, 2007 at 11:46 pm
(57) Doug says:

There is an unspoken cost to the high value placed on cookie cutter lawns. Persons who homes have been paid for for many years are forced to give them up, when they no longer can maintain a lawn to the satisfaction of there neighbors and community. Sad, isn’t?

August 25, 2007 at 10:26 am
(58) Ireene says:

Lot’s of responses on this subject. I live in a city with “grass police”. 2 summers ago the perfectionists behind me called about the hi grass. The city sent me warnings and then appeared 2 x’s to mow my lawn. The very interesting thing is that I watched the kid who was mowing down my flower bed do a double take when he noticed that the folks next door to me had grass so tall that it waved in the breeze. The city only charged me $300.00. Guy who runs that city dept never managed to “get back” with me. No surprise there.
If you get older and can’t care for your lawn, you’re to move…property values are supreme.
If you’re a naturalist, and you don’t wish to conform to rigid aesthetic values, you’re to move…property values are supreme.
The dollar is more important than folks.
That’s why my street has a lot of empty houses. Apparently plywood boarded windows are okay..as long as the grass looks mown.

August 25, 2007 at 10:32 am
(59) Ellen says:

Can you maintain a green lawn without harsh chemicals? Yes. I bought a piece of property with a large expanse of “lawn”. It had many varieties of grasses and weeds. For the sake of the dogs, I did pull the “sticky burs” as they came up, but for the most part, simply keep it mowed, water judiciously, and the grasses will handle the rest. The “weeds” are also green when mowed and mowed weeds are more attractive than brown patches from chemical weed killers. I confess that along the sidewalk and porch I did spray some weeds (try vinegar as a natural weed killer) and I did put down some insecticide near the dogs’ area to kill the fleas and ticks.

Fertilizer? Just leave the grass clippings when you mow and mulch in the flower beds.

I am gradually putting in drought tolerant plants that will survive here on the edge of the desert (Midland-Odessa, Texas) but that takes time and money and until I can make a complete transition, some watering is necessary.

Is lawn maintainance a social obligation. Yes, to the extent that your property should not be a health hazard, harboring rodents, fleas and ticks. But also that your practices should not be health hazard, applying toxic chemical, overusing the water supply, filling the landfill with yard waste.

Some moderation on both sides of this debate is needed.

August 25, 2007 at 5:51 pm
(60) ML says:

I did not read all the comments, so maybe I am being repeatative. I really enjoy the concept of natural rather than magazine cover lawn. Butterflies and honeybees are disappering and this is one of the reasons. There are too few habitats left for them

August 27, 2007 at 9:33 am
(61) Dave says:

We all also have a social responsibility to avoid or minimize the noise pollution involved with the so called “perfect lawn”. These lawns are usually mowed with a power mower, edged with a power trimmer and, of course, there is the dreadful, absurd, “leaf-blower”, really a dust blower. Yes, nothing like being awoken by the “gardeners” armed with their power tools. All of this noise takes away the neighbors right to the quiet enjoyment of their property. So if we are going to talk about social responsibility, we all have a responsibility to care for our property in the quietest manner possible. That’s social responsibility.
By the way, alot of the houses with “perfect lawns” look sterile and dull. Properties with abundant trees, shrubs, wildflowers have a much greater aesthetic value. Trees that shade the yard and house can also lower air-conditioning costs.

August 27, 2007 at 12:15 pm
(62) LG says:

My lawn is kept short and by all means manicured… but it is still an amalgam of local grasses and “weeds” grown without pesticides and herbicides. They never go brown, not even during the worst snow! Last winter my lawn shined like a green emerald when everyone else’s homogenous sod strips were a total disgrace.


Imagine the conversation The Creator might have had with St. Francis on the subject of lawns:

God: Hey St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the Midwest? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect “no maintenance” garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

St. Francis: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

God: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

St. Francis: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. The begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

God: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it… sometimes twice a week.

God: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

St. Francis: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

God: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

St. Francis: Yes, Sir.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

St. Francis: You are not going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.

St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

God: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

St. Francis: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. The haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

God: And where do they get this mulch?

St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

God: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. Sister Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

Sister Catherine: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about…..

God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

August 27, 2007 at 12:23 pm
(63) Holly Stone says:

Well I sure didn’t think I would write again, but… here we are several days later and I thought I would just read some of the comments. Well, I am disappointed. Yes, I have arthritis I am #12 on the thread. But I agree whole heartedly with those that think we should maintain our properties for our own personal enjoyment AND for resale value. To tell me to “get a life” is ridiculous. I have a very rich and full life—Thank you! God has blessed me with a lovely home and my husband and I are grateful, and part of showing that gratitude is by taking care of what we have and the lawn it sits on. I believe the way you live IS a reflection of how your life is run and the state your life is in. I am not trying to upset anyone but the things we care about help define who we are. I am not this anal-retentive person that has nothing better to do than to care about my lawn I also care about my neighbors and like to know that nothing that I am doing is causing them any added burden in their life. We should care about our neighbors, And where we call home. We have a house in our neighborhood that has 5 grown people living in it and the yard is horrible,and the city comes to talk to them all the time. My neighbors say the city has had to talk to them for several years. Anyway, my point being: It is an eyesore that 100% effects the values of properties around it. Why people have to be rude to each other is so pointless. We all have our opinions. I do think it has to do with laziness on the parts of most people. And I am entitled to feel that way. Even if lawn care is not top priority, just a little “drive’ would be nice. Oh! and you CAN provide beautiful plants for hummingbirds and butterflies and birds. I enjoy them all. So those of you that get angry and want to be beligerent: let me have it, because just the name “crabgrass” is enough for me to want to be rid of it!!! (and any other weeds as much as possible) But we should also keep our trees and their branches in check and just ALL take our relationships with our fellow man a little bit more to heart. No one can ask for perfection, but we should ALL be able to expect effort… AND MANNERS- we all were taught as little children (or should have been). Well- GOT YARD WORK TO DO. Gotta run. Then I will sit on my porch under my ceiling fan and ahve a glass of iced tea and look at my beautiful lawn and gardens…YUM!! HAPPY GARDENING!!!!!! Holly form Texas

August 27, 2007 at 1:18 pm
(64) LG says:

There is a major difference between someone who doesn’t mow their lawn and someone who mows their lawn regularly but chooses not to homogenize it.

There are no laws in my town, county or state that require I purchase a designated species of grass to grow in my yard.

Crabgrass is actually an annual pasture grass used to feed horses and cattle as well as other livestock. There is nothing bad about it other than most homeowners don’t like the look of it. If you make the decision to homoginize your lawn, don’t blame me for spreading crabgrass – I didn’t seed it, I don’t fertilize it and even if I eliminated it there’s no guarentee that the birds that brought it here would be polite enough to avoid your yard.

Crabgrass is annual anyway!

August 27, 2007 at 3:18 pm
(65) Holly says:

AND??? The last time I checked I wasn’t living in a barn and/or cattle or horse pasture. I also don’t believe the GARDEN of EDEN was full of crabgrass and dandilions. Yes… let the rural/ natural world thrive as it will, take a drive and enjoy it, I do. But, in places where we live (civilization)and can have “some” control take pride in your home place. It deserves it!!! And so do you! Holly from Texas

August 27, 2007 at 4:32 pm
(66) rayray says:

Maybe I’m missing something but why doesn’t Charles offer to weed and feed his neighbors lawns when he does his own? Walking with the spreader only takes a few minutes and the extra cost would be nothing compared to his worry about the crabgrass.

The neighbors might not like the suggestion but they would probably take him up on it if they weren’t too worried about chemicals. It would make the whole neighborhood look better :)

August 27, 2007 at 9:07 pm
(67) LG says:

Nah, no dandelions here – I remove them out of respect for the neighbors. Same goes with anything that doesn’t grow at the same pace as my grass, or isn’t the same bladed style plant. Crabgrass is grass, just as much so as ryegrass, bermudagrass and bluegrass. A healthy variety that keeps the lawn going when the rest of the block has browned and died off. I personally would rather someone keep their lawn green than homogenous. You’d never know I had crabgrass in my lawn until you were on my property, whereas I can see a brown lawn all the way down the block.

August 27, 2007 at 11:34 pm
(68) Kim says:

I moved from the suburbs to the outskirts of a small country town 9 years ago because of nosy, bossy neighbors who cost me a fortune in trying to satisfy their frequent complaints about my yard. It wasn’t knee deep with weeds and grass…it just was mowed only once a week (gas is expensive, folks!), it was never watered (or esle it would grow so fast I would have been in even more trouble), and it never had poison sprayed on it to make all the snobs happy.

This small town where I live is full of laid back, working class people who could give a rat’s behind about “the lawn” but suddenly we have some totally anal woman who just moved in and is now complaining to the county about everyone’s yard, as well as about their gardens (She really hates my herb garden and my small flock of chickens, which never are roaming free btw).

I have lupus, my husband works long hours, and one needs to prioritize what we spend our money, time and energy on. Right now, enjoying our children, and our families, is our priority, not spending extra money we don’t have(due to tens of thousands in medical bills) on trying to turn our 2 acres into a suburban style lot.

August 28, 2007 at 2:42 am
(69) Stew says:

Damned “Capability” Brown!!! Lawns are just one type of landscaping, not the Holy of Holies. They came about in England, where the climate is perfect for them, but must we always ape the English? We have many other types of climates in the U.S., and should at least consider other kinds of landscaping.

August 28, 2007 at 6:14 pm
(70) Andrew says:

I am the president of a homeowner’s association and have been struggling with this topic for a while. Our covenants are not very specific regarding lawns and we are very close to one another (roughly 10,000 sq. ft lots). Presently, we have a couple of homes in our neighborhood, that in the opinion of most (I hear all the complaints), are eyesores and problems due to the lack of active maintenance. In our area, dandelions and clover are the “weeds.” I have a homeowner whose yard abuts a neighbor who allows his clover to grow unchecked. I can see plainly the extra effort and work that is required of the one homeowner when the neighbor does not keep his weeds in check. We are considering amending our by-laws to protect the one homeowner from the lack of maintenance and generally recognized unsightliness of the other.

I have read a number of comments here that appear to be coming from some who would redefine “order” to fit their lifestyle of laziness. To say that a yard full of weeds is orderly is absurd. The second law of thermodynamics (law of entropy) can be summarized that things tend to get more disordered until an equilibrium point is reached. Houses, and the lots upon which they sit, are pockets of order and will tend toward disorder if they are not maintained properly, lawn included. Depending on the region, the definition of “order” changes (sod roof for some, composition roofing for others). I understand this, but I have never seen someone actually care and cultivate their weeds (pulling out grass in the process), but rather the weeds were always there for lack of work. A lawn IS an ordered monoculture, as some have put it, whereas otherwise there would be chaos, and this requires work. What a neighborhood of well maintained houses and weed-free yards (ordered) says to potential buyers and neighbors is more than just visual, it is an indicator of the willingness of the homewners to work to maintain the civilized order that has been established. It indicates that they are not lazy. My personal expreience is that I have found that it indicates that my potential new neighbors will be there to help me when I need it because they are workers (or have the financial resources to have the work done for them). A neighborhood of broken down houses and unmaintained yards indicates the neighborhood is inhabited by either lazy, poor, or sickly people. However, when one wishes to improve ones station, better themselves and commits to putting forth the work required to do so (education, health, spirituality, etc.), one gravitates to other likeminded people and neighborhoods. I am of the opinion that our homeowners association should protect homeowners from lazy neighbors and should keep our neighborhood a place attactive to others willing to better themselves – this increases the chance that new homeowners will add and not detract from the neighborhood.

September 4, 2007 at 1:59 pm
(71) Chris says:

Andrew – well said (see my previous posts 17 & 28 specifically). For the most part the people that I have encountered that scream and complain about yard work and have the attitude of “its my lawn” are people who are generally lazy and do not care about others in general. They do not wish to better themselves and then complain when something doesn’t go their way. I guess Andrew’s last couple of sentences are the points I was attempting to get across in my earlier posts. Maintained neighborhoods do attract people with a drive to better themselves and run-down, unmaintained neighborhoods are where the unmotivated, poor and people with the “its my lawn” attitude end up. That is why those neighborhoods end up in the shape they are in and the maintained neighborhoods end up like they do.

One neighborhood is full of like-minded individuals and so is the other….just on the opposite ends of the scale.

Andrew – btw…loved your thermodynamics reference…right on the money!!

February 7, 2008 at 6:09 pm
(72) jake says:

I live on a farm that has been in my family for years. I have beautiful old well-maintained farm house and a very clean but natural lawn and several old farm buildings and a beautiful well-maintained flower garden all the way around the house. Anyway a few years ago a guy bought an abandon house right accross the road. He bulldozed the old house and about 3 acres of woods and sodded it all and built a large expensive house, trying to create that suburban look out here in the country. From the begining he started crap with us about how our lawn doesen’t look like it is made out of plastic like his. Apperantly he thought that because he is rich he would be able to force us to do what he wants. Anyway since before he moved in to this day he has complained and try to file reports with no success. He has complained that we need have our lawn sprayed with grass poison and sodded, that weeds have been getting on his lawn, he has complained to me to use a grass catcher when mowing because he claims that the wind can blow a few grass clippings on to his lawn. He has threatened me to have my gravel driveway paved with concrete, I guess he thinks it will raise his property value. He complains that I need tear down my barn and farm buildings and have modern metal buildings built. He has complained about several trees he wants me to cut down, because a few leaves get on to his lawn. He has complained about two old tractor tires that we use as planters. One day the day after 4th of July he called the cops on us because he found a couple bottle rockets in the ditch on his front lawn, when the cop got there he just laughed at him and left. He drives a Mercadies and Mercadies suv polluting owr lawn with unessisary

February 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm
(73) jake says:

I accidently pushed the sayit button. Anyway I would just like to say that it is sad that neighbors can not get along because of things like that. When I first found out that someone was building a house accross the road I was excited by the thought of haveing a nieghbor, and to this day he has said nothing to me, my wife, or my kids except complaints.

February 8, 2008 at 7:19 pm
(74) landscaping says:


Sounds like a real nightmare! Sorry to hear things have turned out this way. Thanks for posting.

February 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm
(75) Jack Francis says:

If you want to live in a community that requires green lawns seek out a senior community with homeoner rules that make it so.

April 1, 2009 at 12:04 pm
(76) zachary says:

how can i kill grass in the middle of my driveway permanently?

April 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm
(77) David Beaulieu says:


Roundup will kill just about anything. “Permanently,” though, is a strong word: if grass or weed seed blows into your driveway in the future, it could sprout. Alas, as with “lawn care as a social obligation,” weed control demands eternal vigilance!

November 23, 2012 at 8:58 am
(78) Tonya Lee says:

This is a hard topic, and I’m glad you asked this question. I think this is a huge struggle in developments – how many rules are too many. Most neighborhoods have associational rules about lawn. (If you don’t like it, don’t move to that neighborhood.) Also, my city has additional codes for homeowners. For example, cars must be parked in driveways or designated areas (not on lawns or most streets), pools must be maintained, etc. Most of the issues are safety issues, though my city also states that grass cannot be over x-inches high. I’ve seen homeowners fined $500 for not complying (plus, the city will cut.your.ugly.grass.down). I don’t think that the neighbor should be required to keep his lawn crabgrass free. That just gets a little ridiculous. But the homeowner should be required to maintain his crabgrass yard. Many times, keeping the grass cut short prevents it from going to seed and will control the spread of the offensive grass and other weeds.

November 29, 2012 at 9:38 am
(79) Lynn Marie says:

If you are too lazy to keep your yard at the very least mowed, then you really have no business owning a home and dragging down the property values of those around you. Chris is absolutely right in everything he said. It doesn’t take any chemicals to keep your yard mowed, and there are a lot of organic ways to keep it weed free.

April 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm
(80) HBrown says:

What a bunch of selfish, uneducated slobs we have here.

Yes, you are entitled to keep your lawn as bad looking as you like. But when the surrounding neighborhood was beautiful before you moved in (that probably why you bought into the neighborhood), you have at least a little social obligation (not legal) to keep your weeds under control.

And as the OP stated, if you took just a little care, then no one would have to work like a slave to keep their lawn in check. Nobody says you have to use harsh chemicals, just a little vinegar will do in many cases. But you probably wont even bother with that because – again – you are lazy.

Stop being so lazy and chip in to help keep your hood nice looking.

October 31, 2013 at 10:41 am
(81) Jason says:

I cant speak for others, but in my case, my wife and I work 12 hour days, have small children and are very active in the community on weekends. Our lawn isn’t perfect, (grass gets brown, leaves are not raked), but when I do get the chance, I mow it or rake the leaves. There may be a two week or three week period at most the grass is not cut or the leaves are not raked. Would you then say I am lazy because you saw my lawn in that period and it wasn’t cut or wasn’t raked? I’m sure other people have the same priorities (the top ones not involving the lawn) and may not be able to afford or be willing to spend hundreds to have the “perfect” lawn. I am sure there are people who just don’t care what their lawn looks like as well, but I am sure the majority do. The sad part is, we will never live up to the expectations a lot of the people on this board have. That’s OK though, because I would rather enjoy my kids in my free time or spend money on my actual house than make sure my lawn meets the “lawn Nazi” expectation.

October 31, 2013 at 11:01 am
(82) landscaping says:


Thank you for a thoughtful, articulate response. I think you’re speaking for a wide swath of the population in your post. It was precisely in hopes of evoking such replies that I posted my question initially.

April 13, 2014 at 10:21 am
(83) Trish says:

I’m with Jason.
My husband leaves for work @7 am and often doesn’t get home until 7 pm. Even then he has to finish up emails, prepare for meetings the next day and is taking a full load of classes online. He works very hard. I am at home but I am caring for 3 young children who make it hard to do anything, much less yard work. I try to keep it mowed amd the toys picked up but raking and landscaping are a pipe dream atm. Any extra money we come across ends up going to child rearing expenses-like food, dental, sports, extra curriculars, etc etc. My neighbors are all fairly nice but one is retired, wait-two are retired and are in a different place financially. They literally have all day every day to powerwash their roof/siding and ride their zero turn mowers around (which they do-they love their toys, lol)Maybe in 15 years we’ll be in a position to focus on nothing else besides curb appeal but for right now we’re busy doing other things. Has nothing to do with laziness or lack of class or respect for their property value.

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