Remember the story about a woman in Michigan who was fined for having a vegetable garden in her front yard and the charges were later dropped after her story went viral? Well, it seems like cities, in general, like to to give fines for front yard gardening related reasons.
Margie Ruddick is a landscape designer in Philadelphia who designs gardens for a living. But last year, she received a summons for her “unkempt” look of her front yard and she just went to court to defend her purposely designed “wild” yard. In her defense, is her garden not only conserving water to irrigate a lawn, she is keeping water from flooding the sewers with run offs. And her garden is reducing more CO2 than grass.
The charges were dropped as she had names for all her “weeds” and her degree in landscape design helped her support her theory – “You have to allow a certain amount of mess to create a habitat,” she said. But “it also pushes a boundary that’s very uncomfortable: the sloppiness and the ugliness, the awkward moments when things are cut” before “it starts to get its own shape.”
Noah Garrison, a project lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s national water program, puts it this way: “For every 11 or 12 houses that allow the same area to convert from lawn to woodland, annual storm-water runoff could be decreased by roughly the volume of an Olympic swimming pool: 660,000 gallons.”
Mr. Garrison also notes that a yard planted entirely with trees sequesters many times the carbon dioxide that a lawn does, “keeping all that CO2 from the atmosphere and reducing the energy used to pump water for the lawn or to run a gas-powered lawnmower.”
I have a little patch of grass in my front yard that is impossible to do anything with. I might just let it go and see what happens. And if anyone complains, I’ll pull out this article and show them why it’s better NOT to have grass.
Do you have grass in your garden that you water every day?
Photo and story via NY Times