Homeowner James Kibler of Fort Lupton, Colorado, spent three years turning his front yard into a beautiful native flower garden. He scoured local stores for seeds that would do well in the hot, dry climate, with the goal of providing food for local pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
“I began to shape my yard over the last three years to become this bee sanctuary, and I have been getting quite a buzz,” Kibler told WABI. “The drought-resistant native plants really called to me and also get the endangered species to come and pollinate there.”
Kibler is one of many Americans rewilding their yards — replacing grass and invasive plants with native species that support local wildlife and help restore a healthy ecosystem. Native plants are cheap to care for because they can live on the area’s natural rainfall, and they’re often beautiful, with a more unique character than a traditional grass lawn.
Kibler’s yard was beautiful, and his flowers thrived in Colorado’s growing conditions. But not everyone enjoyed the plants like the pollinators did.
“People walking by began to complain to the city that my yard was an eyesore,” Kibler told WABI. “Absolutely everyone in the neighborhood had complained about it, that it was ridiculous to grow this amount of vegetation in my yard.”
Kibler then received a citation for his flowers and was forced to cut the plants down to no more than six inches tall — a height that is much more appropriate for turf grass than for the species Kibler was growing.
“I was in tears,” Kibler said. “I was just out here cutting them down just in tears, having to destroy something that was so beautiful and that is not hurting anything whatsoever.”
He added that he would fight the decision in court.
Commenters on Reddit were appalled.
“They really didn’t have to order him to cut it all down, that is so extreme,” said one user. “I’m sure there are some landscapers who have worked with native plants and other plants who could’ve helped him come up with a middle ground … Overall it sounds like his neighbors need to get their own hobby.”
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.