QUESTION: Vegetable gardening has become very popular, and some association members submitted landscape plans with large, galvanized metal planting troughs (think horse watering troughs) for their front yards. What limitations, if any, can we impose on front yard plantings? We would like to avoid large troughs, tall tomato trellises, corn stalks, etc. – Nicolette M.
ANSWER: While there may be a few communities out there where a horse trough and rows of corn are harmonious additions and enhance the value of their homes, I assume Nicolette’s is not one of them.
HOAs do not have to allow gardens of personal agriculture in front yards like they do in back yards. However, if a board is inclined to entertain limited front yard gardens, directors might want to first poll the membership about their thoughts on the gardens’ effect on the community and property values.
If they get a favorable response, the board can create an ad hoc committee to prepare guidelines that prohibit horse troughs, scarecrows, and other unsightly objects. Because the garden is in the front yard, boards can prohibit corn stalks an other inappropriate plants. If the garden is in the back yard, such restrictions would likely be unenforceable since associations cannot unreasonably restrict the use of a homeowner’s backyard for personal agriculture. (Civ. Code § 4750(b).)
RECOMMENDATION: Rules should be reviewed by legal counsel before they are adopted to ensure they are enforceable.
DISCLAIMER. The Davis-Stirling.com Newsletter by ADAMS | STIRLING PLC provides commentary only, not legal advice. For legal advice, you’ll need to hire legal counsel. You can hire ADAMS | STIRLING PLC; Keep in mind they are considered corporate counsel to associations only.