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Homeowner seeks advice on appeasing HOA's landscaping rules without sacrificing garden: 'I'm hoping to run for the board at some point'

"They will do anything to destroy nature."

"HOA is the worst — they will do anything to destroy nature."

Photo Credit: iStock

While there are benefits to homeowners associations, they sometimes enforce unpopular rules among community members. 

As one Redditor shared, their HOA was adamant they prune their native perennials for winter. The original poster wanted to appease the organization while ensuring plant survival. 

They also asked, "Could I put the seed heads from the plants out somehow so birds can forage (I could 'hide' them in my backyard)? Any ideas?"

HOAs have been known to reject attempts to make pro-environment changes, frustrating forward-thinking homeowners who have sustainability goals. The organizations often restrict people from installing energy-efficient rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, and native gardens, which has implications for residents and the environment.

Many homeowners have pushed back against their HOAs, especially when long-standing bylaws negate state laws. For instance, Texas, Maryland, Florida, and Colorado deter HOAs from preventing ecologically sound upgrades, such as drought-resistant xeriscaping. Hawai'i, Oregon, and California also allow homeowners to install EV chargers, even if it goes against HOA policies.

As droughts persist and water prices soar, many have grown disillusioned with maintaining pristine lawns. For years, Las Vegas, Nevada, even paid residents to convert their lawns into native gardens, while the state began banning lawns entirely in 2021. 

However, not every HOA is knowledgeable about these new environmental standards. As such, there is a process homeowners should follow when approaching their HOA boards to modify the regulations for communitywide eco-friendliness. The original Reddit poster even wanted to take matters into their own hands, saying "I'm hoping to run for the board at some point so I can make bigger changes." 

Users had a lot to say in response, such as one Redditor who lamented, "HOA is the worst — they will do anything to destroy nature," before pointing out how perennials provide the last food wildlife eats before hibernating.

Another Redditor said pruning the perennials could be sustainable and suggested waiting until the "plants have gone to seed so birds can enjoy it." They continued, "Cut as tall as your HOA will allow, ideally about 8-14 inches — this creates shelter for hibernating insects and provides structure for next year's sprouts."

As for the trimmings, the same Redditor suggested putting them in an open area where they're visible to birds.

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