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Front Yard Gardens: Fighting City Hall Pays Off

Posted by Matt Power

Aug 28, 2014 3:11:00 AM

It's the last resting place of the over-fertilized, over-watered, high maintenance American lawn. But understandably, an increasing number of Americans want that valuable real estate back. They want to build gardens in their front yard.Kitchen Gardens International Front Yard Garden

It's not always that simple. City ordinances or zoning often forbid using your front yard for vegetable gardening. But in townships across the country, as Sustainable City Network points out, citizens are winning legal battles for front yard gardens when they fight for the right:

"A woman in south Florida, in the town of Miami Shores, had been gardening in her sunny front yard for 17 years until last year zoning restrictions tightened and her usual practice was disallowed. Her fight against those new rules drew a great deal of media attention, and along with it, advocates for her cause.

This same type of attention faced the City of Orlando in 2012, prompting it to loosen its front yard gardening regulations. The city council there eventually approved allowing vegetable gardens to cover as much as 60 percent of a home’s front yard. There are certain restrictions concerning proximity to the property line and requiring the gardens to be screened from view with shrubbery or other landscape elements. As chief planner Jason Burton said in the Orlando Sentinel, “The idea is to treat turf and edible gardens equally, since they’re both water-intensive uses.”

In West Des Moines, Iowa, a 2013 debate before the city council included whether or not it was acceptable to grow corn in a front yard. This debate was brought on by a citizen complaint, but when other neighbors voiced concern that property rights were being restricted, the matter was dropped."

So if you want to put in a front yard garden, stick with it. It's a cultural shift, a trend that's on your side.


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