• Home Home

Homeowner shares before-and-after photos while stealthily testing limits of HOA's landscaping rules: 'My HOA can't stop me'

"Plant those perennials!"

“Plant those perennials!”

Photo Credit: u/isurus79 / Reddit

An Austin, Texas, homeowner said they recently decided to see how much of their lawn they could eliminate without triggering retaliation from their HOA.

The Redditor posted in the r/AustinGardening subreddit with two progress photos of their garden's sneakily expanding mulch bed.

Photo Credit: u/isurus79 / Reddit

"I had a patch of lawn between an installed oak and my flower garden, so I nuked the grass and got a bunch of perennials in the ground yesterday. Then I added hardwood mulch on top," they said.

In the "before" photo, there's a patch of dead, yellow grass between a roughly rectangular flower bed and the round mulch ring around the base of a tree. About 16 plants in pots are waiting to be transferred into the ground.

In the "after" photo, the yellow grass has been eliminated to merge the two mulched areas into one large bed. All the plants look healthy in their new places — and a few Halloween decorations liven up the scene.

"Plant those perennials!" said the enthusiastic Redditor. "Also #KillYourLawn even if it's only one HOA approved piece at a time."

In Texas, as in many of the hottest parts of the U.S., maintaining grass is a major expense. Grass needs about an inch of water per week, as The Spruce explained — and if it doesn't come from rainfall, it has to come from sprinklers.

All in all, lawn care can add up to thousands of gallons of water per year. Not only is that a drain on your bank account, but it also depletes the fresh water available in the environment, which is bad for people and wildlife.

That's why drought-resistant and heat-tolerant plants — especially native varieties — are so much better for water conservation. They thrive in the area's natural weather conditions, saving owners money on water. They're also better for the environment, as they become part of the area's natural food chain, feeding local pollinators.

The original poster was enthusiastic about making the switch. "I'll keep expanding the garden bed each year to the maximum extent allowed by the HOA!" they said.

Another gardener in the comments was excited to report similar successes with their native plants

"The Texas sage plants I put in last year are also thriving. As are the inland sea oats that may eventually become my lawn. My HOA can't stop me," they said.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider