HOAs are known for dictating what homeowners can and can’t do with their yards — and some are incredibly nitpicky. For instance, one Redditor told the story of a family forced to remove their entire vegetable garden because the bed was four inches too wide.
“HOA penalized me for ‘excessive weeds in front yard,’” they wrote with a picture of their yard.
The image showed a bed of multicolored gravel edged in brick, with river stones forming a curved path through the center. A few very small plants were visible — ones that would have passed unremarked in an ordinary grass lawn and were almost impossible to spot against the stone.
“What weeds?” one commenter said slyly. “I see some wildflower seedlings you planted.…”
Unfortunately, even intentionally planted wildflowers could result in a fine in some HOAs. Homeowners in some areas have faced uphill legal battles to win the right to grow native plants in their own yards. This is in spite of the fact that native plants and xeriscaping are low-maintenance, low-water options that save people money, as well as being good for water conservation.
“Ok,” wrote one disgusted Redditor, “when are we as a society going to just say maybe we dont need hoas?”
Thankfully, there are options less drastic than dissolving an HOA or changing state law in order to have the landscaping you want. Some homeowners succeed by going through the organization’s internal process for a rule change. To get started, check out this handy guide to changing your HOA’s rules.
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.