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Homeowner fights back against uppity neighbor's complaints about formerly 'barren' front yard: 'She is trying to sell her house'

"Thanks for fighting the good fight!"

Certified Backyard Habitat

Photo Credit: u/bonbam/ Reddit

One Oregon homeowner claims it took only three years to turn an ordinary lawn into a Certified Backyard Habitat under a program run by the Portland Audubon Society and Columbia Land Trust.

The homeowner posted about their experience on r/NativePlantGardening, a subreddit for gardeners interested in attracting local pollinators like butterflies, managing rainwater, and creating wildlife habitats in their own yards. To do this, members plant native plants — species that are originally from the area and adapted to the environment.

In the post, the Redditor poses with a sign proclaiming their yard a Certified Backyard Habitat. "Three years ago we bought our house with a barren yard," they say. "Now I'm the proud caretaker of a flourishing native garden."

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program is specific to Portland, Oregon, although similar programs are available in other areas. Requirements vary from one location to another, but in Portland, they're strict. 

To qualify, a garden must include at least 50% native plants, be free of invasive "noxious weeds," use as little pesticide as possible, include stormwater management strategies to minimize runoff, and support the local bird and insect populations. Members must also have their gardens recertified every three years.

The original poster meets all those requirements enthusiastically. 

"Last year I counted over eight different native bees visiting my flowers!" they say. "It's all for them." 

To draw in pollinators, they grow California poppies and a Douglas aster they affectionately named Mr. Doug.

Because they're suited for local growing conditions, many native plants are easy to care for and require little watering, so they're cheap to grow. At the same time, they help the environment by providing food and habitats for the insect and animal species that have evolved to depend on them. 

Eco-friendly homeowners have fought for the right to grow native plants instead of lawns, and California is even paying some residents to make the switch.

Not everyone is happy about the native garden, though. "I did have a neighbor complain that my overwintering garden looked 'unkempt,'" says the original poster. "She is trying to sell her house and was worried my yard would deter buyers." 

But the original poster said that prospective buyers actually stopped by to compliment their garden.

Commenters also admired the original poster's efforts. "So so gorgeous!" says one user. "Thanks for fighting the good fight!"

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