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Lawn -> wildflower field, legality

 
Posts: 34
Location: Ohio
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Quick question: I have a big lawn I don’t want to mow so I’d like to convert half to a wildflower field (1/4acreish) but I’ve been warned the city may not let me. Is this a thing? How do I find out if I can do this without getting fined to death? My google-fu has failed me so far.
 
Posts: 110
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
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You'd need to check your local ordinances, but a lot also depends on who is doing the inspector. We've gotten in trouble with the city over things like asparagus, and a patch of prairie, but a few years later there was a new inspector who wasn't concerned with those things and thought the squash growing in our front yard.
With wildflowers, be prepared for the likelihood that local authorities would see your "meadow" as nothing more than an unmowed lawn, and fine you accordingly.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Regardless of the ordinances i would suspect that inspections are done based on complaints. My goal would be to eliminate the complaints and thus eliminate the reporting.

I could see an official looking sign posted. Something along the lines of "experimental prairie grass. Zone 1" lol. Make the tattle people think its meant to be there..
 
Octavia Greason
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Haha one of those ask forgiveness not permission sort of things? I think that'd probably work. In my experience the city sends warnings before fines anyway.
I've considered putting the wildflowers in beds so they look more like a weird flower garden than anything else. It's a little wasteful of space and in the end the edging may get lost in the greenery but perhaps it would help.
Thanks for the advice guys. I'll see if I can't find anything about ordinances, perhaps my research will be more fruitful going forward. In the end I will probably rely on a combination of my neighbors not caring and the city giving a warning before they start giving me fines.
 
pollinator
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Also, if you can manage the transition gradually, it's possible that the complainants won't even notice.

Perhaps consider small, short-growing wildflowers, and maybe containing taller and less grass-like looking ones to, say, a corner, maybe with a fancy border, that also happens to be in the right spot for the wind to move seed into your lawn for subsequent years. You could showcase pollinator-specific plants, like milkweed, ragweed, and goldenrod, for instance, in such a spot, like you'd planted them there on purpose (which you will have) for their aesthetic qualities.

You could also look into what legal barriers surround planting a hedge or a green wall/fence, or a managed perimeter planting of, say, raspberry and/or blackberry canes. If they have a hard time seeing anything, how are they to complain?

-CK
 
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