Are You OK with Front Yard Vegetable Gardening?

Are You OK with Front Yard Vegetable Gardening?

Julia Brenner
Jun 7, 2012

While doing some research on urban gardening, I came across an article from last summer concerning a woman living in the suburb of Oak Park, Michigan and her decision to use her front lawn to grow a raised bed vegetable garden. The front lawn vegetable garden did not fly with her neighbors or the local city government, who charged her with violating city ordinances.

In this specific case, a homeowner decided to turn her front yard into a vegetable garden after the existing lawn was destroyed during sewer pipe repair work. While there was nothing illegal about what the homeowner was growing, such as raised beds of zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers, she was charged with violating city ordinances and faced up to 90 days in prison (the charges were later dropped); the gist being that a vegetable garden in the front of one's home is a neighborhood eyesore, as only "decorative materials" are acceptable for front lawns.

Arguments against the front lawn vegetable garden include the contention that its appearance reduces neighboring property values, the garden attracts vermin and pests that could destroy surrounding flowers and lawns, and that it detracts from a specific neighborhood aesthetic. The homeowner challenged the notion that her vegetable garden is an eyesore, stating that there is nothing "ostentatious" about raised bed vegetable gardens. She also stated that she was simply trying to find a more useful purpose for front lawn space.

So, what do you think about the idea of front lawn vegetable gardens in an urban or suburban setting? Is it a smart use of space or an eyesore? How would you feel if your neighbor began a front yard garden?

(Image: ABC News)

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