You may be surprised to learn that there are actual laws about mowing your lawn. It all depends on where you live, what city ordinance you come under, and whether your suburb is governed by a Homeowners Association. Let’s look at these in more detail.
Living Under The Rules of a Homeowners Association
Generally, any planned or gated community or condominium falls under the rules and regulations of a Homeowners Association (HOA).
These rules include the type of mailbox you can have, what color you paint your house and how often you have to mow your lawn and maintain your garden.
For example, according to the Willbrooke Homeowner’s Association, you have to maintain your lawn to a ‘neat appearance’ all year round. They also state that any weeds need to be “eliminated by hand or by chemical means”. Unfortunately, what they mean by a neat appearance is not precisely stipulated.
Another example is the Beaverdam No 2 Homeowners Association lawn and yard care policy. This policy stipulates that lawn height should not exceed four inches and that the lawn needs to be watered and fertilized regularly to ‘maintain health and green color’.
What Happens If You Don’t Maintain Your Lawn According To The HOA?
Once again, this depends on the individual organization and varies from community to community.
Some bylaws require the HOA to give:
- 14 notice to remedy
- No notice to remedy
- Notice after a board meeting
However, if you receive a notice to remedy and you don’t comply, you can be issued with a fine. Alternatively, the HOA can engage a landscaping company to mow your lawn and then pass the cost onto you. In addition, a homeowner may lose privileges such as being able to use the community pool,
Even worse, HOA’s are able to sue homeowners who fail to maintain their lawn and then fail to pay the fines issued. This means that you could end up in court if you don’t follow the rules of your neighborhood.
And, the worst-case scenario is that HOA’s have the power to evict homeowners who fail to adhere to the rules or pay their fines.
What Are The HOA Grass Height Regulations?
There is no definitive answer to this question since HOA requirements vary from community to community. However, most HOAs have guidelines in place regarding grass height, typically ranging from 2-4 inches. Some HOAs may also have specific requirements for certain areas of the property, such as public spaces or front yards. It’s always best to check with your HOA to find out what the specific requirements are for your community.
Local Jurisdiction Laws Also Vary
No matter where you live in the US, it pays to understand what your local jurisdiction laws are regarding yard maintenance. You need to find out what the minimum requirements are so that you stay within the law and avoid a hefty fine.
The height your lawn can be, before you’re in violation of your local laws, also varies from state to state and can be between 8 and 12 inches.
As an example, Massapequa Park on Long Island passed a law that allows them to issue a fine of $1,000 to any homeowner who does not maintain their lawn. Additionally, repeat offenders could rake up fines of up to $10,000.
Did You Know It’s Illegal To Blow Your Clippings Onto The Road Or Sidewalk?
Whether you’re aware or not, if you live in New York City, it’s actually illegal to blow your clippings onto the road or the sidewalk. This governance is in place across most cities and counties in the state.
Not only do grass clippings on the road look unsightly, but they can also be a hazard for motorcycles and bicycle riders. The hazard is even worse if the clippings are wet.
According to the Public Information Officer at Rome PD, Jeffrey Lanigan.
Why These Laws Are In Place?
There are, of course, some good reasons for these laws.
- It keeps the neighborhood looking neat and tidy
- It has a beneficial effect on property prices.
- It deters rodents and snakes from making a home in an unruly, overgrown grassed area.
What Time Can I Legally Mow My Lawn?
Can The City Fine You For Not Cutting Your Grass?
No, the city cannot fine you for not cutting your grass. However, if your grass is excessively long, the city may require you to cut it. If you fail to do so, the city may hire a company to cut your grass and bill you for the service.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How often does a lawn need to be mowed?
Generally, it depends on the season. In summer you may need to mow at least weekly, if not twice a week, depending on how fast your grass is growing. In winter, you can cut down the frequency depending on whether your grass is growing or not.
Is 7 am too early to mow the lawn?
This depends on your local laws and whether the grass is fully dry or has some residual dew on it. It’s much harder on your mower when the grass is wet. However, it doesn’t harm the grass itself. It may also be too early for your neighbors if they’re still trying to sleep, so try to be considerate if you can.
Can I mow my lawn too often?
It’s not the frequency that matters but how much you cut off. Generally, you should never cut off more than one-third of the length of the leaf blades. This will help to maintain your lawn’s health. If you cut too heavily all at once, you’ll be scalping your lawn, and brown, dead patches will soon appear.
If your lawn is quite long, raise the height of the mower and then give it another cut in a day or two. This will keep your lawn happy and healthy.
As we’ve discussed, there are certain laws around mowing your lawn. Get in touch with your local jurisdiction to find out exactly what the law is in regard to your property. Most local governments have websites that should tell you exactly where you stand regarding your lawn maintenance.