After two years spent building their home, a Redditor finally started planting raised vegetable beds in their backyard. But despite state law protecting gardens, a homeowners’ association halted their project over aesthetic and pest concerns.
The user shared their confusion over the stalemate with their HOA, especially in light of a new law in their state that allows homeowners to grow produce.
The Illinois Garden Act, also known as a “right to garden” law, protects the right to grow sustainable produce gardens on residential properties for personal consumption, regardless of any other laws.
In a farm-friendly county, the Redditor was excited to grow vegetables. They chose the largest lot in their neighborhood and planned the garden after their builder said the neighborhood’s HOA was lenient with rules.
The Redditor collaborated with professionals to create a sustainable garden design plan with 10-plus raised garden beds in their backyard. Altogether, the garden covers less than 25% of the lawn area.
Shortly after they began planting, they received a letter from the HOA claiming the Redditor broke the rules for adding to their property without prior review and approval.
After submitting their plans, the Redditor was upset by the HOA’s response. The association said their decision was pending over concerns that the raised beds could be unappealing or attract pests.
“I’m disappointed,” the Redditor writes. “If the HOA’s concern is the garden beds being unsightly or attracting wildlife, then why do my other neighbors have them?”
They worry the HOA can prevent them from reaping the many benefits of growing food in a home garden.
Growing fruits and vegetables from home can decrease grocery costs for expensive organic produce, provide us with safer food, and help our planet.
By avoiding or limiting pesticides and fertilizers, gardeners can also prevent pollution and groundwater contamination. Produce from home gardens goes straight to the kitchen, bypassing the hundreds of miles that food travels to stores using dirty energy sources.
Redditors were just as confused and outraged by this user’s predicament with their HOA, offering advice and opinions in the comment section.
“I find it ludicrous we have to have right to garden laws,” one user wrote.
“State law supersedes any HOA laws,” another Redditor said. “I think you should be fine as long as the state law covers the stuff you are doing.”
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