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Things That Are Dumb



I am more or less out of touch for the next week due to a confluence of page proofs for my logging book, family obligations, and Oregon hiking. But I will agree that lawns are dumb. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a lawn if you want one, but the idea that you are somehow awful if you let your yard go wild and attract a variety of wildlife instead of conforming to a chemically-induced monoculture of grass that serves no real purpose is ridiculous. But people freak out if they see a yard that doesn’t conform to the norm. So they crack down to the point of using law enforcement against the hippies who want frogs and snakes and other natural creatures on their property.

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  • Mike G

    In Southern California a lot of people are letting their lawns die because of the drought and water restrictions.

    • It’s the same thing in the Bay Area. My lawn is pretty much dead right now.

      • sparks

        Mine’s dead, too. Only one in the neighborhood. No water meters here, so I guess they’ll do it as long as they can get away with it.

  • JonH
  • wengler

    As someone who has spent too much of my life mowing a lawn, I agree.

  • Warren Terra

    A big lawn can be great for kids (if in a not-crazy climate/water situation). But then even so it’s often better as a shared playground than a private yard.

  • JustRuss

    I tried keeping a lawn when I first moved to Oregon. 9 months of the year it’s too swampy to walk on, and in the spring you have to mow it twice a week or it’s out of control..and the ground is still a bog at that point. Then if you don’t water the hell out of it in the summer it turns brown. And then there’s the crane flies. And moss! No thanks.

    The irony is I live in the grass seed capital of the world, but maintaining a lawn here is a nightmare.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    Christ, even here in crunchy-granola Olympia, WA — where 90%+ of homeowners let their grass brown out in the summer — I still get shit from my neighbors (six years after the fact) for having ripped out my front lawn and planted all edibles. It’s as though having a useless expanse of grass in front of your house is the equivalent of a loyalty oath to Dipshitistan.

    • Lurker

      Having the whole garden planted full of edibles is a little bit too utilitarian to my taste. I have a potato plot of some 100 square meters which covers pretty nicely about 8 months of the yearly potato demand of my family. In addition, I have smaller plots for onion and an orchard with apple, plum and cherry trees, and some currant and rasberry bushes. Yet, there is some area left for playground, although there the “lawn” has a high proportion of naturally growing wild flowers and grasses.

      Having a semi-covered area in the garden makes for a much better playground because hide-and-seek is much nicer then. Cultivating edibles is also educationally valuable because then you have actual useful work in the garden that needs to be done. It is very good thing for the children to learn how to tend the crop and to see how that pays off.

    • Everyday life affords many curious illustrations of the way in which the code of pecuniary beauty in articles of use varies from class to class, as well as of the way in which the conventional sense of beauty departs in its deliverances from the sense untutored by the requirements of pecuniary repute. Such a fact is the lawn, or the close-cropped yard or park, which appeals so unaffectedly to the taste of the Western peoples.

      • Todd

        This comment makes me want to take a vacation with other people who want to take vacations.

      • brettvk

        Thorstein, is that you?

    • rea

      It’s as though having a useless expanse of grass in front of your house is the equivalent of a loyalty oath to Dipshitistan

      That it’s useless is the whole point. You demonstrate that you’re a member of the upper classes by conspicuously not using a prime piece of grassland as sheep pasture. Making it into a garden of edible plants brings the class status of the whole neighborhood down.

      • Lurker

        Historically, thus is true but it is anachronistic. No one really uses the garden for economic purposes. Instead, using the garden for growing edibles is a class marker in itself. It means you have the time to tend the crops, which takes more time than moving. The economic yield of the land is, after considering the equipment and fertilizers, quite negligible. I keep my own edibles’ plot and orchard for sentimental reasons, following the example of my older relatives for whom such gardens played a real economic role. Of course, having an edibles’ garden also increases food security, as I could easily increase its yield to cover a large part of the carbohydrate needs of my family, should there be a crisis.

        The same applies to a semi-wild garden. The system is not really quite self-balancing. It requires attention, expertise and time, which means it is a class marker.

        This is, basically, a fight about power to define desirable class markers. If the semi-wild garden is allowed, it becomes a class marker that reduces the value of a well-maintained lawn.

      • Origami Isopod

        Yep. Same as having a clothesline outdoors, or a car you’re working on up on bricks. Any sort of utilitarian display is “trashy.”

        • Or a kitchen without pink Himalayan salt and Thermomix processors.

        • Brien Jackson

          “a car you’re working on up on bricks.”


        • joe from Lowell

          I’ve seen zoning codes that forbid trucks with DOT numbers on the side from being parked outside in residential areas.

  • Sheriff Bart

    I think it’s pretty reasonably for someone to not want this happening next door…

    “But the main point of growing a natural yard is to attract wildlife and build a self-regulating environment. The un-mowed plants in our yard attract plant-eating bugs and rodents, which in turn attract birds, bats, toads and garter snakes that eat them. Then hawks fly in to eat the snakes. Seeing all this life emerge in just one growing season made me realize just how much nature manicured lawns displace and disrupt.”

    • Judas Peckerwood

      Agreed. Nature is horrible and should be eradicated.

      • Fats Durston

        “To me nature is…spiders and bugs, and big fish eating little fish, and plants eating plants, and animals eating animals…It’s like an enormous restaurant…”

        • rea

          “The big fish eat the little ones
          The big fish eat the little ones
          Not my problem, give me some”

    • What’s wrong with any of that?

      • Judas Peckerwood

        How can toxic chemicals thrive with all of that life hanging around?

    • Down with this sort of thing. Allowing nature in your yard will inevitably lead to having lions, tigers and polar bears in our yards.

      • You catch more polar bears with beer than you do with bugs.

        • tsam

          I’ll bet polar bears wouldn’t mind some grass now and then. Maybe just on the weekends to unwind.

      • Oh my!

    • Lurker

      Generalisations are useless in this matter because regional variations are so large. Yet, I think that the writer is exaggerating.

      My own experience is from Finland which has, in general, a climate and fauna similar to Great Lakes area. In my own garden, I see a lot of insects but they are of species that are harmless to humans and structures. Ants in the anthill in the corner of the corner of the garden might become a nuisance one day but that can be solved by poisoning the paths into the house.

      Having birds nesting in the garden is delightful. This year, we had two nests. I like especially the white wagtail, because it learns to recognize people, and becomes almost tame. Seeing the birds toiling for their young is instructive and the day when the birds’ young learn to fly is nice, as the garden fills I young, clumsy birds. So, I really wonder about claims that hawks would hunt in a garden, but maybe the writer has tamer hawks than we do.

      However, claims about mammals are too far-fetched. Rodents are nocturnal and extremely timid. If the house is tightly built, they don’t come inside and you cannot see them outside. Only hare is large enough for a human to see easily, but even that is a now-and-then glimpse in the night or in the morning. The fox comes to the garden occasionally, as I have seen its tracks in the snow, but I have never spied a glimpse.

      Birds of prey don’t hunt in gardens here. That is probably because they are too timid and, more importantly, there are large open fields and large forests for them to soar upon. Oly crows and ravens frequent the sky above my neighborhood. Happily, for the crow is one of the few birds that don’t move to the South in the Autumn, and I find its ponderous, solemn gait sympathetic.

      I know that the lynx roams nearby, as I have seen it s tracks in the snow in the forest but I have never heard of it having the courage to enter a garden. The same applies to bears and wolves. There are those in the nearby forests and I know people who have even sighted them, but they are too smart to intrude into man’s realm.

      • rea

        Here in suburban West Michigan we get the wildlife of suburbia–squirrels, moles (looking like they’re crossbred with Cthuhlu), rabbits, groundhogs, skunks and raccoons. No lynx, though, and bears are a rarity. Hawks definitely, although I don’t usually see them kill anything. Wild turkeys, and deer, although the latter are shy. No real forest around, as the state was logged off completely within the last century.

        • Lurker

          Yeah, I know. Many if the loggers were Finnish immigrants. Quite curious, though. The forests around here were logged almost completely about a century ago, too, but they are thriving again. Of course, they are quite heavily used for timber production, but as the cycle is some 70 years and the use is sustainable, there is plenty of real forest to go around. After all, the economic cycle resembles the natural cycle of forest fires quite a lot. Only those species which require actual old-growth forest or a forest fire are suffering.

          What happened in West Michigan that prevented the regrowth of the forests?

          • Schadenboner

            The Romneys only let the trees in Michigan grow to the Right Height and no higher.

          • witlesschum

            Farming, mainly, though also suburban sprawl. Michigan in general doesn’t lack for forests, though it’s different forest than the huge tracts of valuable white pine which was logged off in 1800s. There’s only a couple of very small white pine forests that were never logged in the whole state. It mostly was replaced by hardwoods, which I think grow faster, so it’s much more maple-y than it was historically, but plenty of forest.

            • rea

              They aren’t really wild forests. Second growth, much of it CCC plantings in straight lines. The original had trees hundreds of years old; not enough time to reproduce that. Michigan’s population density is almost 3 times that of Finland.

              • witlesschum

                Rea, are you forest hipster? No, you’re right.

                Take the Allegan State Game Area, which people will talk about as a natural area, but it was created by a New Deal program that bought out the poor bastards who’d been swindled into buying land and trying to clear and farm in the terrible soil. Some of it’s been managed to go back to its previous landscape of oak savannah and some’s been let do as it will.

                I remember growing up there was one single white pine on my parents’ land that was big enough they thought it predated logging. It was in the middle of a cedar swamp, so it might not have been easy to get to for either the loggers or big forest fires that often followed them.

                • Origami Isopod

                  forest hipster

                  Well, the Grizzly Adams look is in these days…

              • Linnaeus

                My grandfather worked on a National Youth Administration reforestation project in northern Michigan around 1940 or so.

            • Linnaeus

              It mostly was replaced by hardwoods, which I think grow faster, so it’s much more maple-y than it was historically, but plenty of forest.

              The first succession hardwoods (aspen and birch mostly) in Michigan showed up in northern mixed forests because they can grow in the sunlight available to them when the land’s been cleared by logging. The maples arrive a bit later because they are more shade tolerant than aspen and birch, whose seedlings don’t grow as well in the shade created by their parent trees.

      • tribble

        Here in Southern California birds of prey certainly do hunt in gardens. We had a Cooper’s Hawk perching on a shade structure in our back yard for a while. But if it chose to stoop on a pigeon or rat, I’m all for it.

        And here the likely mammals are rats, skunks raccoons and possums. Those are all nuisances in their various ways, but at a pretty low level.

    • Salem


      The town says it doesn’t want her garden attracting “nuisance animals” such as “snakes and rodents.” She basically says that attracting these animals is the whole point, she doesn’t find them a nuisance. Which is missing the point, because the it’s about the nuisance to her neighbours. These animals won’t be neatly confined to her garden, but will substantially interfere with those of her neighbours. You know, an externality, which is exactly the kind of thing governments need to be able to step in to correct.

      I think it’s great that she’s fortunate enough to have a one-acre garden, and I have no problem with her letting it go wild, providing she does so in a way that doesn’t nuisance her neighbours. It has nothing to do with aesthetics, or eyesores, or people “freaking out if they see a yard that doesn’t conform to the norm.” It has everything to do with responsible land use.

      • Marc

        Having a bunch of wild critters nestling in the weeds is not fun. We had a neighbor who refused to mow his rear lawn, and the people who lived next door to them lost use of their yards – as they didn’t want small children to be bitten. You also grow a lot of weeds that then spread to the nearly property, again generating costs to others. (He was a psyco in a lot of ways, which didn’t help matters.)

        Oh, and mosquitoes. They like hatching in still water, which tends to go with these sorts of lawns.

        If you replace your lawn with a garden people tend to be fine with that – we have very little grass and lots of shrubs and flowers, and have never gotten a complaint. That’s different from letting the weeds grow.

        • witlesschum

          As someone who grew up in the country and ran around the fields and woods from the time I could, those people are just being silly.

        • Joe Bob the III

          I think the ‘nuisance’ designation is arbitrary and unwarranted. My own yard is partially planted with native plants. We weed it and cut it back every spring. The wildlife we typically see includes insects, birds, rabbits and, rarely, field mice. We keep the plantings away from the house so the mice aren’t encouraged to come inside.

          The only time we have had a mouse problem had nothing to do with our yard. It had to do with our neighbor – who has a turf lawn – his bird feeder, and the copious amounts of seed on the ground that provided an ample food supply for the mice. Some native plantings by themselves typically aren’t going to provide enough food for animals like mice to become numerous enough to be a nuisance.

          • Jackdaw

            Not knowing for sure but suspecting that St. Albans Township is not a particularly cosmopolitan place, I wonder if the “nuisance” in this woman’s particular case is as much due to the complexion of her partner as it is the state of her yard.

          • Ahuitzotl

            You dont get to tell other people what they can or cant find a nuisance. Just how entitled do you think you are?

            • Someone has to determine what a valid nuisance is, though. How is it “entitled” to have an opinion on where that line is drawn?

              • Yes, the point isn’t “I’m telling you what I find annoying” but “What externalities justify enforceable constraints?”

                I don’t get to tell you what you find annoying, we all get to opine on the the enforceable constraints.

                I’m more sympathetic to anti-lawners because lawns generally are really bad things (in a general way; gasoline spills from lawnmowers is tremendous, for example) and individual lawns are generally wildly under-utilised. So, more ecologically sound landscaping is a pretty big win, IMHO. I don’t find Murc’s list super compelling on its own (standing water aside). I don’t find the small kids not getting bitten thing too plausible without more description.

            • Bill Murray

              as a middle aged white guy, I get to make those decisions for everybody. next thing you know, you’ll be telling me I don’t get to decide what people are considered nuisances

            • Brien Jackson

              Well…you don’t get to determine what isn’t a nuisance either, especially when you make blanket statements about rodents and snakes not being nuisances.

        • Brien Jackson

          Yeah…this. With the caveat that I don’t know what kind of grasses/plants are in their yard (of course, since they didn’t seed it I doubt they do either) I’ve got a big dose of skepticism for the author’s claims. For one, she seems to take great pains to specifically cite garter snakes because they’re basically small and inoffensive, but of course if you have very tall grass and plenty of rodents scurrying around you’re just about guaranteed to get big, nasty black snakes soon.

          I mean, if they were being ordered to artificially water or chemically treat the yard that would be one thing, or even getting shit for growing a well maintained and properly planned expanse of wild grasses. But just refusing to mow it at all is potentially quite different, IMO.

      • Joe Bob the III

        I think the ‘nuisance’ designation is arbitrary and unwarranted. My own yard is partially planted with native plants. We weed it and cut it back every spring. The wildlife we typically see includes insects, birds, rabbits and, rarely, field mice. We keep the plantings away from the house so the mice aren’t encouraged to come inside.

        The only time we have had a mouse problem had nothing to do with our yard. It had to do with our neighbor – who has a turf lawn – his bird feeder, and the copious amounts of seed on the ground that provided food for the mice. Some native plantings by themselves typically aren’t going to provide enough food for animals like mice to become numerous enough to be a nuisance.

      • PSP

        No reasonable non-suburbanite would consider her lawn a nuisance. The nuisance designation is all about “aesthetics, or eyesores, or people “freaking out if they see a yard that doesn’t conform to the norm.”

        • Brien Jackson

          LOL, the fuck? I spent 20 years living on a farm growing up, and I knew of literally no one in our rural area who didn’t mow their yards. Hell, I didn’t know of anyone who let the grass around their barns grow without being mowed about half a dozen times during the growing season.

    • ChrisS

      I was tending my garden one sunny afternoon when I heard an awful screeching coming from the huge lawn adjacent to my property. It’s a senior center, but there’s at least 2 acres of lawn. I walked to the back fence and there was a hawk that had pinned a rabbit to the ground. However, the rabbit was too large for the hawk to carry off easily and crows had shown up and were harassing the hawk to leave the rabbit. Crows cawwwing, the hawk squawking, and the poor rabbit screaming because it had been run through by talons and was waiting to be eaten alive by either a group of crows (a murder) or the hawk.

      I’m a hunter and have killed animals before, but I don’t want to see them suffer needlessly. Nature don’t care, though.

      • GFW

        So, how did the story end?

        • ColBatGuano

          Ted Cruz shot everything in sight.

          • tsam


      • ChrisS

        Ted Cruz, indeed, shot everything in sight.

        No, the crows chased off the hawk eventually and ate the rabbit. It went on for a good 15 minutes, though.

      • Origami Isopod

        Poor rabbit. I’m not going to lament nature doing its thing, but it could’ve been quicker about it.

  • Nothing better than being back in Oregon! If you come by Portland I’ll gladly buy you a beer.

    In this heat, my lawn is dead grass, ornamentals, and weeds. Next year I might rip it all up and replace it with a real garden.

    • Anna in PDX

      Me three! Count me in for any Portland meetup and I will buy both of you a beer. Not to mention I have the messiest eyesore of a lawn on my block!

  • In Maryland you can get a little grant if you turn your yard into a mini natural habitat. (You also get a little plaque telling people that you have an Official Wild Yard.) Is anywhere else doing this?

    There’s more work involved than giving away the lawnmower and letting nature take its course, but the result is essentially what you’d get if you let nature take its course for a few years (minus invasive plant species). It’s great for critters and the water supply as it cuts run-off and chemicals.

    As for the concern about rats & mice and snakes – Where there are people, there are lots of rats and mice. If there are bird feeders, there are even more rats and mice and they’re all very fat and happy.

    Snakes are a given, and if you’re really concerned about them, then having one yard that is extra attractive to them seems like an ideal.

    People have very weird (=dumb) ideas about how animals behave.

    • Julia Grey

      The thing is, snakes eat mice and hideous insects like palmetto bugs [shudder], helping to balance your miniature ecology without poisons. So if you’re concerned about roaches and rats getting into your house, don’t kill any (non-poisonous) garter, king, or rat snakes that you see outside it.

      • Origami Isopod

        I would much rather have reptiles than rodents in my back yard. Less destructive to structural elements, fewer parasites and diseases.

    • Anna in PDX

      Portland does this, I have seen the signs in other people’s yards, and my sister who lives in Cleveland says that Ohio does it too.

  • There’s a vast middle ground between a manicured lawn and allowing nature to run wild. You can have a very nice, well-kept garden without a blade of grass in it. And in my experience (admittedly, of a very different climate than this woman is talking about) gardens that aren’t tended in one form or another are weed-clogged eyesores, not nature’s wonderland.

    • Marc

      Yes – maintaining a lawn-sized garden is much more work than mowing a lawn.

    • Todd

      And even in the world of “lawns” there is a wide gamut. Not freaking out over some dandelions or clover or some brown spots in July/August/September helps. Letting the grass grow higher before mowing helps. Cutting the grass higher helps. Increasing the size and number of flower/plant beds/islands and trees helps.

      • ColBatGuano

        Yeah, our “lawn” is mostly moss and my wife has been gradually cutting down on the square footage, converting it into garden space for a few years. Not sure an “all natural” garden is a good option in Seattle as that usually means “a giant patch of blackberries, ivy and morning glory.”

      • Brien Jackson

        This. It’s a shame the idea of a nice lawn has been taken over by the sort of douches who think it needs to be watered four times a day, doused with chemicals constantly, and have no features or use at all. It really doesn’t take much more than regular mowings, some basic lawn food 2-4 times a year, and maybe some light watering during the worst 2-3 weeks of the year to keep a lawn green and lush…and there’s no reason that things like gardens and features for kids to play on or what have you can’t be easily incorporated.

    • Bill Murray

      weed-clogged eyesores, not nature’s wonderland.

      living most of my life in pretty rural areas, the difference between nature’s wonderland and weed-clogged eyesore is generally non-existent

  • I live in a condo, but some of us have managed to sneak gardens in here and there.

    It helps to be on the condo board.

    • The Hanging Gardens of Ohio are, after all, one of the seven wonders of the world.

      • Bill Murray

        but they stopped hanging people there after the Klan lost power in the 20s?

  • Murc

    I can’t believe nobody has gotten into the economic aspect of this yet.

    For most working to upper-middle-class families, the home they buy will be the most expensive single item they ever purchase; it might be surpassed in total outlay by the money they spend on multiple children’s college educations, but not by much. People agonize over the decision, and deservedly so: is it in the right school district? Is it downwind of an industrially zoned patch of land that might one day be home to a hog-slaughtering plant? They live in mortal terror that something bad is going to happen and this patch of land with a house on it they took out a mortgage to buy will simultaneously become unsuitable for raising a family, worthless to buyers, and they’re still on the hook for the mortgage.

    This leads to a lot of paranoiac behavior with regard to anything that could lower property values, and one of those things is aesthetics. When people see a wild-growth yard they do not typically think “that family has made a carefully considered ecological choice.” They typically think “that family is either incredibly lazy or just doesn’t give a shit; at best, they have a sense of aesthetics far from the norm. None of those things bodes precisely well for a pleasant living experience; I mean, what comes next, cars up on cinderblocks?”

    This might be unfair, but from a perspective of economic fear it is understandable.

    • As Kevin Kruse pointed out in White Flight, this very argument about home ownership and property values became a very useful way to frame “we need to keep the blacks out of the neighborhood” in Atlanta.

      • Murc

        I’m not sure I was making an argument per se, unless my argument was “well, this is one of the root of the issue right here.”

        Regardless, tho, you’re absolutely right. The long history of racism in housing arrangements in the US, from redlining and restrictive covenants on down, is of course a hydra-headed beast, but the underlying elements of economic fear are I think a big part of it.

    • Jackov

      “Car on Blocks” is the name of the sculpture I have in my front lawn. The neighbors were a bit piqued until they learned it was a Lord/Wurm collaboration.

    • That “car on cinderblocks”, sir, is my architect-designed chicken coop.

      • joe from Lowell

        That’s cool. In some other cases, it’s actually a car up on blocks, with the fluids leaking out.

        Just as, in some cases, an unmowed lawn can be an aesthetic and environmental choice to allow the local flora, and then fauna, to reestablish itself; while in others, some lazy ass is letting poison ivy and “trees of paradise” take over an area from which to spread throughout the neighborhood.

    • For most working to upper-middle-class families, the home they buy will be the most expensive single item they ever purchase; it might be surpassed in total outlay by the money they spend on multiple children’s college educations, but not by much.

      A couple of things, and this is speaking as someone who just bought their first house (or property) like in December.

      1) Buying is often the wrong move. Buying a lot is more often the wrong move. Buying a whole lot so it pushes your finances is almost always the wrong move.

      Now this isn’t advice that’s universally given nor do we have a culture that makes taking that advice (or forming preferences that fit in well that advice) easy. So pointing this out doesn’t help with current circumstances, but I just want to observe the point.

      2) If you’re still “on the hook” for the mortgage that is more than the worth of your house, you should walk away and become not on the hook. Again, not easy advice to take, but worth noting.

      Finally, people raise families in all sorts of housing. “Unsuitable” is really a strong term. Again, I know, people think that way. But I wish they didn’t! :)

      • Origami Isopod

        Finally, people raise families in all sorts of housing. “Unsuitable” is really a strong term.

        Yes. You can make the argument that an oversized house on a huge plot of land in a cookie-cutter suburb with no public transit is a lot less suitable for children than an apartment in a city where there are all kinds of activities to keep them “out of trouble.” The school district may or may not be a problem, although to the extent it is, it’s a problem that would be better fixed with more-equitable funding of U.S. schools.

  • cackalacka

    I’m of two minds, as all the places I’ve lived I’ve put a kitchen garden, and while I’ve attempted to give grass an ‘edge’ in the non-pinestrawed areas of my dwellings by the occasional seeding and mowing, I don’t see the point in destroying the watershed to make my front lawn look like a fairway. The soil and climate here in central NC is good for centipede grass and bricks, and it amazes me the amount of effort and resources half the folks on my street employ to make their yards look like they were transplanted from Kentucky. Definitely pro-xenotrope, provided folks make an effort to keep the skeeters down, and they don’t use it as an excuse to have moss growing off their roofs.

    My second mind flows from the experiences I had at the last place I lived. My side of the street had a string of 1/2 acre narrow lots that abutted high-tension electrical wire and a freeway. Anyone who has driven on a southern freeway knows that the no-mans land abutting the side of the freeway basically serves as a vector conduit for all manner of invasive species; poison ivy, kudzu, etc.

    The year I moved into my last place, the owner on one side of me cut down some majestic trees in his back near the highway, and proceeded to do squat. You can imagine the part of nature that benefits from the Eisenhower highway system took over his back yard in one summer. After that, rather than contending with keeping the ivy at bay from one 20 yard stretch, I now had to fight it off from two sides.

    If you live out in the country and want to breed poison oak, good on ya. If you want to live in town and have climate-appropriate vegetation, you are the appropriate steward of your land. If you live among neighbors and want to take a jinormous shit in the form of fostering non-native invasive species because you don’t know, or aren’t inclined, to do your housework, please move to Virginia.

  • I really think we need to rethink proper “lawns.” They are difficult to maintain and in some places irresponsible to maintain. Basically maintaining a lawn and is an exercise in fighting nature CONSTANTLY. I like the idea of landscaping in a way that works with nature, as opposed to fighting it.

    • Hogan

      I guess you haven’t seen the movie.

    • joe from Lowell

      If we were to go back to 20s-style lawns, with clover and violets and whatnot treated as welcome character instead of infestations, that would work, too.

    • Brien Jackson

      This is only true if you define “proper lawn” as “bermuda grass for everyone!”

  • Crusty

    Lawns create jobs.

  • witlesschum

    I don’t think I judge anyone harder than the able-bodied person who mows their tiny 50s-style suburban lawn with a riding mower.


    Nothing says “petit bourgeoisie” quite like a well kept suburban lawn.

  • Damn, that is a fine-looking lawn.

    • All we need is some wickets, some wooden balls, and a couple of flamingos and we can play croquet.

      • Ahuitzotl

        some wickets, a bat, a ball, and you can play cricket instead :)

        • What about the flamingos? WON’T ANYONE THINK ABOUT THE FLAMINGOS?

          • Origami Isopod

            And the gnomes! Don’t forget them!

            • Bill Murray

              gnomes are really only suitable for positions like silly mid on or forward short leg

  • Gwen

    It seems to me that there may be some constitutional issues with a nuisance law that doesn’t define the term “nuisance.”

    At the very least, a common-law concept of nuisance should be imported, and that is going to imply a balancing-of-interests.

    I would tend to imagine that some of conservatarian legal foundations might want to make a “takings” argument out of this.

    At the very least, I see a due process problem.

  • Gwen

    “[Having kids is terrible for the environment, so I’m not having any]”

    …And then she lost me…

  • thebewilderness

    The most egregious abuse of power in Tacoma, WA was a few years ago when the city told a woman that she had to remove the plantings in the front garden because it was a traffic hazard. Too many people slowing down to take a look.
    It was very frustrating for those of us who had spent years teaching people how to plant water conserving gardens, to say nothing of the gardener.

  • joe from Lowell

    You know what’s also dumb? People in an urban neighborhood who think that not ever mowing the 1200 square foot lawn will produce a “natural ecosystem” instead of letting the invasives develop a robust staging area.

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