Are you thinking about adding a rain-garden or a french drain to divert or retain storm-water given all of the increased rain Maryland has been experiencing? What about a pollinator garden to participate in community efforts to create pollinator pathways or raise monarch butterflies? Do you plant natives to conserve water or practice organic gardening to reduce pesticide run-off into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed?
Despite the increased awareness and efforts of some communities to suggest climate-resilient practices, to support wildlife, to protect the Bay, and to live in healthier communities for barefoot children and pets alike, there are some who would actively oppose this. Opposition from those who seek to maintain older, outdated, and sometimes dangerous practices, by requiring turf maintenance, excessive weed control to include herbicide and pesticide use, and the narrow aesthetics of a by-gone era can be an unfair hurdle to overcome.
Most neighbors who garden talk to each other, some even share plants, and cultural norms evolve as homeowners do things like add solar panels, catch rain in rain barrels, recycle more than they did before, and even garden differently.
So why are some homeowners being sued for doing the responsible thing with property they own? Usually it boils down to one neighbor – the one who vacuums up every leaf and ends up cutting down the tree. The one who’s lawn is artificially green because it’s chemical soup, with (or without) little yellow danger signs to keep kids and pets off. And that’s okay, if that is what you choose to do with your property – we all did that once. But, if you choose to make a beautiful, healthy, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing yard you should also have the legal right to do so. We should all be able to choose.