Front Gardens/Yards in the ACT … Appearance

By 12 February, 2013 86

Anyone know the rules/regulations/requirements that apply to the maintenance of front gardens/yards of private properties in the suburbs of Canberra?  Or where to find such?  In our area I have begun to notice an increase in the number of private houses that seem to be using the front areas of the property for either the storage of derelict cars (I have counted up to nine such vehicles in the driveway and yard of one otherwise normal sized, detached porperty — only about three of which appear driveable), the long-term placing of mid-sized shipping containers, even in one case a derelict caravan that seems to have been in place long enough to have a small tree grow up through its body.  All these, however, are topped by the full-size, mobile crane that I have seen parked for ten years (with apparently never having been moved) in the front yard of a house in the suburb of Chifley.

The ACT government will jump pretty quickly when such situations are brought to their attention and which affect street verges.  However, I have been able to elicit little response from them when it comes to such situations as those described above.

The condition in which a neighbour keeps his or her property affects the property values of others living around the area.  It also impacts upon the general atmosphere of a street.  A tone begins to be set which can all too quickly bring all down and, again, has a considerable impact on property values.

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86 Responses to Front Gardens/Yards in the ACT … Appearance
#31
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd5:46 pm, 12 Feb 13

My front is covered in fire wood. Haven’t had a chance to split and stack in years so its just a huge pile that gets huger. Someone complained once and a ranger came around, he said get it behind the water meter or I’m taking it to my house. Was moved in a week and now always put behind water meter. Never seen a ranger since.

As another poster said, once the back is done, the front will follow. But before I do the back, the extension needs to be finished!!!

#32
Deref5:51 pm, 12 Feb 13

aceofspades said :

Ex Warrior said :

Great attitudes above. Lack of self respect maybe????

Can we post pictures of Canberra’s worst yard? Perhaps the winner could get a free visit by Tinys

I agree!!! Who on earth would want to masturbate the same style all day. Can Tiny help them with that?

+1

They should put something on the Internet about masturbation.

#33
schmeah9:02 pm, 12 Feb 13

I know this wasn’t necessarily your primary issue, but seeing as people are raising the tidiness of some gardens over others I will add my observations.

Whenever I cruise around neighbourhoods walking my dogs or doing some community letter boxing the only people I’ve come across with pristine gardens are retirees .. why? Because they have the time to actually look after it. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for a couple of years now and the owners who are still in the workforce, do not have glamorous yards; they tend to be overgrown and weedy and they deal with them sporadically. I also noticed this trend amongst some of the home-owners when I was a renting in various locations around Ainslie.

I love gardening, but I’m spending a fortune already landscaping my back-yard jungle so any gripes about the front yard can go to the bottom of the pile. Most people work 5 days a week and have prior commitments like sport or kids or over-time work on weekends, so fixing up the garden to keep up with the Jones’ can be a bit much ..

If the OP has hoarding concerns, or issues with vermin, you could raise it as a community health issue with the ACT Government and maybe find neighbours to help back-up your claim, but other than that I reckon you might be on your own.

#34
MissChief10:53 pm, 12 Feb 13

schmeah said :

I know this wasn’t necessarily your primary issue, but seeing as people are raising the tidiness of some gardens over others I will add my observations.

Whenever I cruise around neighbourhoods walking my dogs or doing some community letter boxing the only people I’ve come across with pristine gardens are retirees .. why? Because they have the time to actually look after it. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for a couple of years now and the owners who are still in the workforce, do not have glamorous yards; they tend to be overgrown and weedy and they deal with them sporadically. I also noticed this trend amongst some of the home-owners when I was a renting in various locations around Ainslie.

I love gardening, but I’m spending a fortune already landscaping my back-yard jungle so any gripes about the front yard can go to the bottom of the pile. Most people work 5 days a week and have prior commitments like sport or kids or over-time work on weekends, so fixing up the garden to keep up with the Jones’ can be a bit much ..

If the OP has hoarding concerns, or issues with vermin, you could raise it as a community health issue with the ACT Government and maybe find neighbours to help back-up your claim, but other than that I reckon you might be on your own.

Sorry, don’t agree. I know a lot of people who work full-time, have AH commitments, look after children, manage the household and keep up with the garden (a few hours a week keeps it looking nice) and not for the Jones, just because it makes them happy to have a beautiful garden. I can see some don’t care as much though -and that could be the main problem. The people who bought the house across the street had a mature easy care garden which they promptly removed and turned into a pile of mulch and dirt which has been left that way for over a year, even though the majority of time outside involves riding up and down the street on their bikes.

#35
GardeningGirl12:22 am, 13 Feb 13

schmeah said :

I know this wasn’t necessarily your primary issue, but seeing as people are raising the tidiness of some gardens over others I will add my observations.

Whenever I cruise around neighbourhoods walking my dogs or doing some community letter boxing the only people I’ve come across with pristine gardens are retirees .. why? Because they have the time to actually look after it. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for a couple of years now and the owners who are still in the workforce, do not have glamorous yards; they tend to be overgrown and weedy and they deal with them sporadically. I also noticed this trend amongst some of the home-owners when I was a renting in various locations around Ainslie.

I love gardening, but I’m spending a fortune already landscaping my back-yard jungle so any gripes about the front yard can go to the bottom of the pile. Most people work 5 days a week and have prior commitments like sport or kids or over-time work on weekends, so fixing up the garden to keep up with the Jones’ can be a bit much ..

If the OP has hoarding concerns, or issues with vermin, you could raise it as a community health issue with the ACT Government and maybe find neighbours to help back-up your claim, but other than that I reckon you might be on your own.

I don’t want to disagree but just saying, my experience has been different. I don’t know the circumstances of everyone in the street but the people who I know work manage to keep their front yards reasonably neat, whether they have been keen enough to landscape them or just have basic lawn and token letterbox shrub. A couple of rental properties can vary from one tenant to the next but only once did one get really run down and then it was sold. One of the most beautiful gardens belongs to retirees but one of the yards closest to being an eyesore belongs to retirees as well (there’s no physical or financial barrier to fixing it up in case anybody wonders).

I have a theory that some people are overwhelmed/daunted/afraid of gardening and see it as a mysterious art. That might be true for orchid growing or something, but it’s not too hard to do a basic hedge of bottlebrush or something (ask the nursery to recommend some reliable types that don’t grow too tall and get in the wires), mulch the garden bed, edge with a mowing strip, fill the middle with lawn, done and it’s not really much harder to maintain than mowing a paddock of weeds (but ask about the plants, don’t rely on labels, sometimes “fastgrowing easy hedge” is not the whole story and a few questions before planting saves a lot of work later). You might, like I did, decide you enjoy it and in your next property diversify into different plants and more ambitious projects. Or if you don’t you’ll still have increased privacy and resale value. Anyway that’s IMO.

But that doesn’t help TwainandHume. Some people just don’t have a sense of community, they’re probably the ones who park over the lines in car parks and toss cigarette butts on high fire danger days and so on too. :-(

I just remembered, I don’t know how bad it has to get, but I remember reading in the news once or twice of situations where the government sent trucks to remove the contents of the yard, and they sent the owners the bill for it too I think. (I don’t mean the Sydney house that’s been on tabloid tv, it was right here in Canberra).

#36
GardeningGirl12:45 am, 13 Feb 13

MissChief said :

schmeah said :

I know this wasn’t necessarily your primary issue, but seeing as people are raising the tidiness of some gardens over others I will add my observations.

Whenever I cruise around neighbourhoods walking my dogs or doing some community letter boxing the only people I’ve come across with pristine gardens are retirees .. why? Because they have the time to actually look after it. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for a couple of years now and the owners who are still in the workforce, do not have glamorous yards; they tend to be overgrown and weedy and they deal with them sporadically. I also noticed this trend amongst some of the home-owners when I was a renting in various locations around Ainslie.

I love gardening, but I’m spending a fortune already landscaping my back-yard jungle so any gripes about the front yard can go to the bottom of the pile. Most people work 5 days a week and have prior commitments like sport or kids or over-time work on weekends, so fixing up the garden to keep up with the Jones’ can be a bit much ..

If the OP has hoarding concerns, or issues with vermin, you could raise it as a community health issue with the ACT Government and maybe find neighbours to help back-up your claim, but other than that I reckon you might be on your own.

Sorry, don’t agree. I know a lot of people who work full-time, have AH commitments, look after children, manage the household and keep up with the garden (a few hours a week keeps it looking nice) and not for the Jones, just because it makes them happy to have a beautiful garden. I can see some don’t care as much though -and that could be the main problem. The people who bought the house across the street had a mature easy care garden which they promptly removed and turned into a pile of mulch and dirt which has been left that way for over a year, even though the majority of time outside involves riding up and down the street on their bikes.

I wonder if they were buying into the idea that easycare must be minimalist, ie grass and/or mulch and NOTHING else?

I wonder how much the ‘feel’ of a street influences how it evolves. When enough people care to be neat most people make some effort. When enough properties deteriorate then other people with time and/or financial pressures start to think why am I bothering to make the effort, and the people who really value a pretty streetscape move away to find it again elsewhere, and their properties are bought by more people who don’t care and the deterioration continues. Yeah?

#37
wildturkeycanoe6:32 am, 13 Feb 13

TwainAndHume – If you have any luck in finding a law or regulation that helps to clean up people’s yards, please let me know. I for one would love to see the abolition of Photinia in people’s yards. This is not because they are unsightly, but due to the horrible stench they make in Spring and the ensuing hay fever attacks. It is not a native shrub and should be banned from nurseries. It is a high maintenance plant requiring much pruning and we have made decisions NOT to rent houses due specifically to this noxious weed.
While we’re at it, let’s get those 3 metre satellite dishes out of their yards too. Imagine the RF being emitted by them and the health risks to our children. They are also an ugly, useless device now that we have extremely fast internet, fully capable of streaming foreign videos via fiber.
As for widow makers, don’t get me started. Did you see how much damage was caused by giant gum trees landing on houses and swing sets on Australia Day weekend? The government won’t let such obviously high risk structures get torn down but will prevent you putting up a pergola in your own backyard? Go figure that one out.
Aaargh, I am so amused right now, this started off nice and serious, but I can’t help it, I need to keep going…Okay, the coffee is wearing off, time to relax and switch off the computer. :)

#38
loosebrown8:51 am, 13 Feb 13

TwainAndHume should try living in Inner North areas such as Dickson where land values have escalated so dramatically that many owners have sold to developers or see no point in maintaining their property as they are waiting for developers to knock on the door. Developers are either sitting on increasingly overgrown and derelict blocks or are renting them to people who have no incentive to keep them looking nice. The amusing thing about this situation is that it was the original homeowners who objected to the re-zoning needed to create medium density housing because they feared the kind of resident who would move in. Now it is the traditional houses that drag the area down. I agree that people with lots of time spend a lot of time gardening, etc that is not available to their working neighbours. To those people I would say relax and enjoy your retirement years rather that obsessing about what the neighbours are up to.

#39
rosscoact8:54 am, 13 Feb 13

What’s a front yard?

#40
devils_advocate8:55 am, 13 Feb 13

I don’t like it when newly cashed-up bogans move into MY neighborhood and slap a hideous layer of render over everything, install slate driveways and bright green lawns, and basically try to act bigger than they are. But then I remember that the whole point of buying your own block of land is that there are hard limits on the ability of private noodle-touchers trying to tell you what you can and can’t do on that land. If someone tried to tell me what to do on my own goddamn land they would be taunted and booed until my throat was sore.

But back to the case at hand, if you don’t like it, move out of the geto and into Yarralumla or Darlinghurst.

Otherwise, accept your station in life and embrace your socio-economic status (or lack thereof).

#41
watto2310:43 am, 13 Feb 13

Pork Hunt said :

aceofspades said :

The “rules/regulations/requirements” are that you should mind your own business and allow people to do whatever they like with their own land unless a fire danger exists due to being overgrown.

So if I move next door to you and masturbate bonobo style all day, you’re cool with that?

Ah Bonobos prove that homosexuality and just general excessive pleasure is perfectly okay among apes. Obviously those gods up there don’t judge them the same way as us :-)

#42
Watson11:38 am, 13 Feb 13

Can I just comment that the OP didn’t really mention having an issue with weeds or landscaping not being up to standard? So not sure where all the good little gardener comments come from.

Derelict cars and junk is a totally different issue. A Google didn’t turn up anything useful. Except for an election promise from the AMP about introducing legislation to curb this kind of thing: http://amp.org.au/city-appearance-and-maintenance-policy/ Which I assume must mean that such legislation is currently not in place.

Best way to find out is to call Canberra Connect.

#43
Genie11:38 am, 13 Feb 13

obrijo said :

Our street started to resemble a caravan park but the government inspector said there was no problem with it. One caravan has since been joined by a tent and 6-8 cars in the one yard. Meantime I am not allowed to have a fence to keep my dog safe.

Yeah a neighbour can have a dozen cars in their front yard but I can’t even install a pool fence on my front yard of a battleaxe block.

If only I could get near map working. You should see some interesting yards near my mother. One back yard is even just a giant hole. Another front yard has that wheat like weed growing that almost higher than the house.

Surely these are hazards ?

#44
carnardly12:32 pm, 13 Feb 13

aceofspades said :

Ex Warrior said :

Can we post pictures of Canberra’s worst yard? Perhaps the winner could get a free visit by Tinys

quote]

There’s one in Wheeler Crescent just opposite a kiddies’ playground. Dunno what number but you could probably google map it. Just south of McKean Place.

#45
puggy12:39 pm, 13 Feb 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

While we’re at it, let’s get those 3 metre satellite dishes out of their yards too. Imagine the RF being emitted by them and the health risks to our children.

Don’t disagree with them being ugly, but those dishes are receive only. If they’re not ACMA would like to know about it.

#46
devils_advocate12:52 pm, 13 Feb 13

Genie said :

obrijo said :

Our street started to resemble a caravan park but the government inspector said there was no problem with it. One caravan has since been joined by a tent and 6-8 cars in the one yard. Meantime I am not allowed to have a fence to keep my dog safe.

Yeah a neighbour can have a dozen cars in their front yard but I can’t even install a pool fence on my front yard of a battleaxe block.

Well you both just answered your own questions.

Build the fence out of cars.

#47
Holden Caulfield1:00 pm, 13 Feb 13

I can only imagine the OP’s response if he/she lived on Belah Street, which has looked much the same for around 10 years. Actually, at times there’s been more Lada Nivas on site.

#48
mezza761:00 pm, 13 Feb 13

Try writing to these:
Environment Protection Authority

Postal Address
GPO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601

Contact Number
13 22 81

About this:

S11 of Waste Minimisation Regulation 2001

Part 3 Miscellaneous
11 Insanitary or unsightly waste
(1) This section applies if an authorised person believes on reasonable
grounds that waste is being kept on premises—
(a) in an insanitary condition; or
(b) if the waste, or a significant part of the waste, is clearly visible
from other premises (including any land to which the public
has access)—in an unsightly condition.
(2) The authorised person may give a written direction to the occupier
of the premises where the waste is being kept requiring the
occupier—
(a) if subsection (1) (a) applies—not to keep waste on the premises
in an insanitary condition; or
(b) if subsection (1) (b) applies—not to keep waste on the
premises, or a stated part of the premises, in an unsightly
condition.
Note For how documents may be given, see Legislation Act, pt 19.5.
(3) It is sufficient if the direction is addressed to ‘the occupier’ or ‘the
householder’.
(4) The direction—
(a) takes effect 14 days after the day it is given to the occupier;
and
(b) remains in effect for 1 year unless it is earlier revoked.
(5) A person must not contravene a direction given to the person.
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.
(6) An offence against this section is a strict liability offence.

And then if that doesn’t work – write to this:

http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/members/166.asp

#49
Holden Caulfield1:03 pm, 13 Feb 13
#50
smeeagain1:07 pm, 13 Feb 13

Anything within the lease can be reported here http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/10053/Controlled_Activity_Complaint_Form.pdf

If it’s outside the lease (ie Nature Strip), get in touch with the City Rangers http://www.tams.act.gov.au/city-services/city_rangers

#51
p12:19 pm, 13 Feb 13

GardeningGirl said :

I always figured it could be an idea to develop suburbs that cater for some of those people (I mean the ones with different priorities, not the ones who just don’t care at all). A friend had an old unregistered car out back kept for spare parts for the car they used. I do understand. But if you really want a big collection of them and you’re not interested in any green in your surrounds, then perhaps there should be an availability of alternative suburban styles….

Those are the people who live in Recycling Circuit & Sustainability St, North West Rural Canberra ACT. Not sure you can legally live there, but I’m pretty sure some people do.

#52
devils_advocate2:36 pm, 13 Feb 13

p1 said :

Those are the people who live in Recycling Circuit & Sustainability St, North West Rural Canberra ACT. Not sure you can legally live there, but I’m pretty sure some people do.

Or west belconnen more generally.

#53
Duffbowl2:55 pm, 13 Feb 13

carnardly said :

There’s one in Wheeler Crescent just opposite a kiddies’ playground.

Dunno what number but you could probably google map it. Just south of McKean Place.

Number 96 – I used to work with the gentleman who lives there.

#54
Duffbowl2:59 pm, 13 Feb 13

smeeagain said :

Anything within the lease can be reported here
http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/10053/Controlled_Activity_Complaint_Form.pdf

Before filling this form in, you may want to have a read of the following:
http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/21278/Complaints_on_COLA_and_lease_matters.pdf

Specifically, this paragraph:
“ACTPLA will only take action against a lessee for failing to keep their leasehold clean, when more than 30% of the undeveloped portions of the block that is clearly visible from the public domain are covered in items. Long grass and overgrown foliage does not constitute an unclean leasehold.”

#55
damien haas3:36 pm, 13 Feb 13

MrMagoo said :

I think you’ll find those that care less are those that don’t own the property. I’ve found mostly people who own (mortgage) the house they live in give a s***, while renters (not all but some) don’t give a stuff what the yard looks like.

Nonsense. i own my home outright and couldnt give a toss about grass height and a neatly clipped hedge.

#56
damien haas3:47 pm, 13 Feb 13

poetix said :

damien haas said :

This must be my neighbour. i only mow my lawn when he has complained at least three times. As the value of our properties seems to have tripled since we bought them, i’m unconcerned.

If you make him complain four times, perhaps the value will quadruple, against the national trend? These things are obviously linked.

Could be!

After a particular incident i told him i was experimenting with preserving native grasses and had he seen the snakes that had moved into the new habitat. he was less than impressed.

#57
bugmenot3:49 pm, 13 Feb 13

Passed a house & whitegoods graveyard in Kaleen years ago. The backyard was only half full then, but google maps shows it has gotten stacks worse since then: http://goo.gl/maps/hrDar

Street view is impressive:
http://goo.gl/maps/8eBfo

#58
p13:59 pm, 13 Feb 13

damien haas said :

After a particular incident i told him i was experimenting with preserving native grasses and had he seen the snakes that had moved into the new habitat. he was less than impressed.

My front yard is completely full of native trees and grasses (big, huge native trees with branches like death traps waiting to drop…). I am indebted to the previous owners for it. Apart from a little trimming to maintain a right-of-way along the path it has required zero maintenance the last several years.

#59
Matt_Watts4:04 pm, 13 Feb 13

damien haas said :

MrMagoo said :

I think you’ll find those that care less are those that don’t own the property. I’ve found mostly people who own (mortgage) the house they live in give a s***, while renters (not all but some) don’t give a stuff what the yard looks like.

Nonsense. i own my home outright and couldnt give a toss about grass height and a neatly clipped hedge.

It’s true! I’ve seen his front yard. Full of cars (and maybe, soon, a bus!).

#60
Thumper4:16 pm, 13 Feb 13

bugmenot said :

Passed a house & whitegoods graveyard in Kaleen years ago. The backyard was only half full then, but google maps shows it has gotten stacks worse since then: http://goo.gl/maps/hrDar

Street view is impressive:
http://goo.gl/maps/8eBfo

Wow. Just wow…

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