Maintaining your lawn can feel like a hassle, especially during the growing season when the grass just keeps getting taller. It’s normal to wonder: do i legally have to mow my lawn? Or could I simply stop mowing and let nature take its course. It is, after all, your property and you should be able to do as you please, right?
Before you give up on mowing and abandon your landscape, you’ll want to understand the potential consequences. Read on to learn about whether you legally need to mow your lawn and why mowing is necessary for your landscape.
- Cities and HOAs can fine you or put a lien on your home for landscape violations
- Mowing your lawn properly helps improve curb appeal and keep your grass healthy
- Be aware of noise regulations when deciding what time you will mow your lawn
Do I legally have to mow my lawn?
Yes, you may be legally required to mow your lawn. Many neighborhoods have laws that carry steep fines for homeowners that don’t keep up their lawns. Homeowner association (HOA) regulations can also require you to keep up curb appeal by avoiding overgrown lawns.
By being part of the community, you agree to a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that include landscaping requirements. This usually includes mowing your lawn on a regular basis.
Typically, city landscape ordinances will limit how high your grass can be. For example, in Beverly Hills, Texas, weeds and grass must be below 12 inches and in Dunedin, Florida the limit is 8 inches. A federal court has found one homeowner liable for up to $30,000 in fines for overgrown grass.
Can I be forced to mow my lawn?
Generally, counties or municipalities will fine people who don’t keep a tidy lawn and the fines will increase daily until you mow it. Some cities will give you multiple warnings and send out an inspector to check your lawn before putting a lien on your home. A lien is a legal right for the city to keep possession of your property until you pay the fines.
Cities with their own public works department will sometimes send a crew out to cut your grass and then charge you for the services. With the added fines and surcharge of the services, it’s generally cheaper and less of a hassle to just mow your own lawn.
Can HOA kick you out of your house?
No, an HOA can’t kick you out of your home; only the property owner can evict a tenant. However, the HOA can take other actions legally for landscape and other CC&R violations. While they typically send you a warning first, some HOAs jump straight to fines that can be around $25 or $50 per day until you fix the violation.
They can also suspend community privileges, such as use of the pool, or carry out lawsuits against you. Continued violations and failure to pay fines or your monthly HOA payments also mean an HOA can put a lien on your home and eventually foreclose your property.
Why do you need to mow the lawn?
Whether legally required or not, regularly mowing your lawn contributes to a healthy lawn with minimal weeds. When you use a sharp blade, it stimulates the grass to put out healthy new growth. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn will also add additional nutrients to the soil.
Make sure you don’t cut your grass too short or you will be removing the grass’ food-producing parts. The ideal height for healthy grass is around 3 to 3.5 inches so they can develop strong, deep roots. You also want to remove only a third of the grass at a time when you mow.
Should you mow your lawn every week?
Yes, during the growing season, mowing your lawn once a week will keep it healthy. The growing season varies by the type of grass you have. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass and centipede grass, grow during the summer. In contrast, cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue, grow in the spring and fall.
You could reduce the frequency to every other week outside the growing season. The best way to determine how often to mow is by the rate of grass growth and desired height you want your lawn. Avoid mowing every day since this can cause stress on your grass.
What is the earliest acceptable time to mow lawn?
It’s understandable not to want to mow your lawn in the mid-day heat or even at night when it’s dark. Mowing too early in the morning can be bad if your lawn is wet, leading to clumps. Generally, you want the grass to have time to dry out from dew and stand tall.
You also need to consider when it’s legally acceptable to mow your lawn. Most areas have noise restrictions that would prevent you from operating your lawnmower. For example, in California, you have to wait until after 8 am on weekdays and after 9 am on weekends and holidays to use lawnmowers.
In most cities and HOA associations, yes you legally have to mow your lawn. Having an unkempt landscape can lead to fines or foreclosures. To avoid the legal nightmare and for a healthy lawn, make sure you keep up with your mowing. Alternately, you could install a grass-less landscape that still complies with curb-appeal requirements.