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Striking video shows the difference between 'beautiful' natural lawns and those managed by HOAs: 'I really hate some HOAs'

"I would rather see a beautiful garden than a boring lawn."

Kenny Barnes, Natural lawns and those managed by HOAs

Photo Credit: @sustainabilitymattersva / Instagram

While many people across the United States are fed up with grass lawns, many homeowner's associations (HOAs) still insist on them — and one Instagrammer is sick of it.

"This is why I really hate some HOAs," says Kenny Barnes, the program and outreach coordinator of the nonprofit Sustainability Matters (@sustainabilitymattersva), in a recent video.

While vast stretches of turf grass are common in the U.S., the species of grass used for lawns aren't actually adapted to this climate. That's why they take so much water, fertilizer, herbicide, weeding, and constant trimming to maintain. 

All those resources and all that effort cost homeowners money and time — just to have a featureless lawn that does nothing for the local ecosystem and can even pollute the water.

That's why Barnes prefers natural meadows full of a mix of native plant species.

"Over here we've got a park with a beautiful meadow," he says in the video, panning across a lush field with the sound of crickets chirping in the background. 

He points out the many beneficial native species that provide food for pollinators, including milkweed, American senna, and black-eyed Susans.

Barnes then shows viewers the sharp dividing line between the beautiful meadow and the neighboring property. "That beautiful meadow turns straight into a manicured lawn," he says.

There's no fence or barrier to divide the properties in the video — just a sharp transition from tall, natural native species to short, mowed grass stretching out to large houses in the distance.

"This manicured turf grass is not native to Virginia and was planted here solely for the purpose of looking good and boring," Barnes explains.

The grass is visibly dried out, with many yellow and brown patches. 

"Call me crazy, but I would much rather look outside my window and see a meadow full of native plants and bees and butterflies versus a thirsty-looking turf grass," Barnes says.

Commenters on the post couldn't agree more. 

"I absolutely second that I would rather see a beautiful garden than a boring lawn," said one. 

"How are HOAs legal?" questioned another. 

Unfortunately, homeowners who live with HOAs face an uphill battle to plant any kind of garden not approved by the board. However, some residents have had success changing their HOAs' rules.

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