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Front Gardens/Yards in the ACT … Appearance

By TwainAndHume - 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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Front Gardens/Yards in the ACT … Appearance
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devils_advocate 8:55 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).

rosscoact 8:54 am 13 Feb 13

What’s a front yard?

loosebrown 8:51 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.

wildturkeycanoe 6:32 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. 🙂

GardeningGirl 12:45 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?

GardeningGirl 12:22 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).

MissChief 10:53 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.

schmeah 9:02 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.

Deref 5:51 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.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 5:46 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!!!

King_of_the_Muppets 5:13 pm 12 Feb 13

I feel that if we choose to live in an urban community that a basic effort should be made. I understand that not everyone is into gardening or has the time but a bit respect should be maintained.

Some people just take the piss. A car or 2, a work truck is one thing but if your into having 10 cars in your front yard, half of them in peices with a community of rats living in them – think about your neighbours.

If you need a approval for a permanent structure in your front yard – some of these front yards have some serious ‘permanent’ rusting structures.

GardeningGirl 4:31 pm 12 Feb 13

DrKoresh said :

Besides, everyone knows that gardening is only something done by old retirees to distract them from the looming spectre of death.

You rang? 🙂

Rob1936 said :

ignore some of the previous comments

+1

To an extent someone else’s style, sense of aesthetics, interest in gardening, etc IS none of your business, but funnily enough even governments and estate developers meddle in that, eg front fence rules and the guidelines for the Googong development that I was reading recently. Some I agree with and can see what big picture the rule makers were trying to achieve and some I don’t get the purpose of at all. I suppose where to draw the line is sometimes open to debate.
However, there are things which can be the death knell of the amenity of a neighbourhood.
In my street there’s some caravans and small work vehicles visible in the streetscape, there’s landscaping some of which is not to my taste at all, there’s front yards that obviously aspire to nothing more than basic neatness, it all works fine, everyone’s got what they want and can handle, and as a whole it looks like a pleasant suburban neighbourhood.
But I and people I know have experienced living in streets that accumulate the signs of what would you call it, industrialisation?, instead of suburbia. 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 (eg allowing bigger garages and not requiring extra setbacks of garage doors like I saw in one document, the garage door must not dominate the facade apparently, that sounded petty even to me). That would benefit both those people and the rest of us who choose to buy into traditional garden style suburbia.
Anyway, best of luck TwainandHume, hope it all works out for you. Hard to say how, sometimes it’s you that decides to go and sometimes they go and the rest of the street cheers. Hope things work out alright for you soon.

zorro29 4:22 pm 12 Feb 13

it’s really difficult and i agree a total eye-sore and ruins the look/vibe/value of a suburb. all these people saying to mind your own business are being fools. i think people have the right to expect they can live in a peaceful, safe and aesthetically pleasing space where others are not inconsiderate (including with noise, property etc)

it’s funny…i landscaped my front lawn (when all others in the area had just left theirs with weeds and done nothing) and got a letter to send the new plans for approval…wtf? there was no structural change – just made it look nicer.

yet in these examples, rusted cars and cranes and so on are all A-OK

ACTPLA or whoever need to pull their head out and tackle actual issues

i feel bad for you at any rate…i understand why you’d be frustrated and i certainly don’t miss suburb house life 🙁

aceofspades 4:22 pm 12 Feb 13

smiling politely said :

Chop71 said :

Pics please or google map it so we can see

Pretty sure this is the place in Chifley with the crane that was referred to in the post. Has been a while now.

Oh my lordy no! Do you mean this person has the hide to have some work vehicles parked in his front yard. Why on earth can’t he keep those disgusting things out of sight, just imagine the horror of driving past that each day. Call the police!

Duffbowl 4:20 pm 12 Feb 13

At the moment, my front yard is less than stellar. That’s because I’m (very slowly) redoing the back yard. I’ve had one person approach me about fixing it up. They got a bit agitated when I suggested that it was a splendid idea, and they were free to do it while I concentrated on the back. Funnily enough, they never showed up to help. How rude…

aceofspades 4:17 pm 12 Feb 13

Postalgeek said :

aceofspades said :

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?

Well although I am not an expert on all the different styles of masturbating as you seem to be, “bonobo” style is probably acceptable so long as you do not break any laws governing indecent exposure. I know of no laws that restricts a collector of old cars using his front yard as storage of his collection. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So now I’ve been exposed to a Primate Masturbation Megamix in my pursuit to find out more about “bonobo” style. The internet takes me to some dark, dark places when I least expect it and I’m glad no-one is looking over my shoulder.

I wasn’t game to travel that path. I shuddered enough whilst being made to ponder on Pork Hunt’s masturbation styles or if I would be cool if he did it all day whilst living next door me.

thebrownstreak69 4:11 pm 12 Feb 13

Postalgeek said :

aceofspades said :

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?

Well although I am not an expert on all the different styles of masturbating as you seem to be, “bonobo” style is probably acceptable so long as you do not break any laws governing indecent exposure. I know of no laws that restricts a collector of old cars using his front yard as storage of his collection. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So now I’ve been exposed to a Primate Masturbation Megamix in my pursuit to find out more about “bonobo” style. The internet takes me to some dark, dark places when I least expect it and I’m glad no-one is looking over my shoulder.

I soooooo hope you work for a fed govt dept, and get to explain to your IT security team why you were watching a Primate Masturbation Megamix at work!

rosscoact 4:03 pm 12 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?

Is there an adult ed type course for this sort of thing?

smiling politely 3:56 pm 12 Feb 13

Chop71 said :

Pics please or google map it so we can see

Pretty sure this is the place in Chifley with the crane that was referred to in the post. Has been a while now.

obrijo 3:48 pm 12 Feb 13

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.

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