Angela Rosencrans, a Denton County Master Gardener and garden design business owner, replaced the grass on the narrow strip of land between the curb and sidewalk outside her home with easy-to-maintain native plants.
However, her choice of plants — “Blonde Ambition” blue grama grass and monkey grass — led to a letter from the homeowners association (HOA) claiming that it was a violation of the HOA regulations and demanding she change it back.
“They want us to take it out and replace it with Bermuda grass or another type of sod or turf,” Rosencrans told the Denton Record-Chronicle.
She and her husband made the switch to conserve water, a precious resource in Texas. The couple argues that the Texas Property Code supports their efforts as it limits homeowner associations’ interference with water-saving measures, such as using rain barrels and planting drought-tolerant plants.
Bermuda grass is popular because it’s more drought-tolerant than other grasses, but it can still be resource-intensive and difficult to maintain in certain conditions. Replacing it with drought-tolerant plants, native species, or xeriscaping can result in significant water savings.
Alternative landscaping also typically requires less maintenance, leading to time and cost savings for homeowners. A yard featuring native plants instead of grass can also boost biodiversity and support local pollinators, fostering a healthier ecosystem and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces.
“Watering Bermuda grass is among the most wasteful practices using city water,” Rosencrans told the Denton Record-Chronicle. “People think it’s water-wise, but that’s not always true.” She also points out that Bermuda grass will not thrive in the shaded area she removed it from due to a nearby mature tree.
Becky Bowling, a Texas A&M University professor and AgriLife Extension urban water specialist, told the outlet that HOAs and communities should work to establish new lawn standards that conserve water while also meeting aesthetic requirements.
Rosencrans says she plans to comply with the HOA request but will wait for cooler weather when conditions are optimal.
“But this isn’t a good use of our resources,” she told the Denton Record-Chronicle. “And I’d love to see the homeowners association let the Texas property code stand.”
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