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Arizona HOA makes life difficult for homeowner attempting to endure drought: 'I feel compelled to not waste water...'

"[It] gets too hot, and the HOA would be on my doorstep."

"[It] gets too hot, and the HOA would be on my doorstep."

Photo Credit: iStock

A homeowner living in one of the driest cities in the United States turned to Reddit for advice on what to do about their expensive grass lawn.

One factor complicating matters? Their homeowners association.

"I am in the Phoenix area and trying to figure out what to do with my back yard lawn. Currently, it's grass and irrigated, but I feel compelled to not waste water on my grass as water is becoming increasingly rare," the homeowner shared in the subreddit r/NoLawns

In addition to ruling out astroturf for its unsustainability — as the material still requires rinsing off and can release toxic microplastics into the environment — the Redditor talked themselves out of several other ideas, including pavement and gravel.

In response to a suggestion, they also said that sandy, dusty soil wouldn't work, noting it "gets too hot, and the HOA would be on my doorstep the first time a strong wind blew through."

While a rewilded yard seemed to hold promise, the OP added that it "could get me in trouble with HOA unless I keep it cut low enough that neighbors can't see over the fence from their yards."

Millions of people in the U.S. belong to communities with HOAs. Frustratingly, many have encountered issues when trying to make money-saving, planet-friendly upgrades to their homes — or even threats of sabotage.

Native plants and xeriscaped yards are often sticking points for HOAs because they don't adhere to the idealized uniformly manicured grass lawn. 

In the long run, though, using these low-maintenance landscaping methods may actually do more to protect property values, as they conserve water, support vital pollinators, and don't need mowing. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a gas-powered push mower generates as much pollution as 11 cars every hour — the same type of pollution that has exacerbated extreme weather events such as drought

Because of this, as well as other factors, many homeowners have been able to dig into the bylaws of their HOAs and make successful cases to create changes in regulations. 

These Redditors, however, believed they had a few tips to get around the HOA.

"I think the trick is to avoid replacing your lawn with just one thing, and instead do a bunch of different things to create a well-designed yard with less grass," one person suggested, adding that succulents might be an option. 

"Sedges should work for you," another person shared, referring to a drought-resistant grass-like plant. "Check out this article on lawn alternatives for the Southwest. It has a whole list."

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