How to Have a House

Living with and understanding a home.


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I Thought This Would Never Happen…

Come to find out it really is against the rules to grow tall grass in the yard.  I was mildly suspicious of this in 2005 when we moved in.  The house was flooding so I went to work raising it three inches, which really means moving a lot of soil with a tractor so the water would go away.  I seeded the lawn with Macho Mix from the Grass Pad.  It grows great and handles the heat. Fighting off the water from up hill neighbors I installed berms. I always wanted to live in a state park so I modeled my landscaping after what I interperate to be Kansas.  I let some wooded areas fill in with naturally occurring plants, added canned flowers, planted a few yews for traffic blockage, some hosta and shrubs. Over the years I’ve dug out the most offensive plants and let these sections become mostly natural.  The tall grass in the front middle of the yard is my haven.  It goes from thick green in the spring to it’s current state, about twenty two inches tall, deep green with fertile seeds at the top that are medium brown.  When the wind is blowing and the grass is moving I can’t take my eyes off it.  It’s pure grass, no seedlings or bushes, not invasive plants just a field of clean, self germinating, self seeding heat resistant grass.  
     Last week a city employee posted a citation on the front door with “excessive vegetation” as the main complaint.  The kids laughed and my wife prayed she’d finally get the stuff mowed flat like the rest of the neighbors.  We met with the city codes enforcement officer, he’s really nice and turns out to be a college English teacher during the school year.  The city employee liked the yard but an anonymous caller complained.  They could be from Sweden as far as I know, maybe they saw the tall grass on Google Earth.
He agreed that the yard is carefully cultivated and maintained, the grass we call a lawn is mowed, free from bare spots and generally in great shape.  He commented on the naturally occurring ground covers as ok, except the tall grass.  The big problem with the tall grass it is not a “decorative” grass. It’s fescue.  Not just any fescue but Grass Pad’s awesome heat tolerant, durable, self seeding thriving fescue.  It clumps on it’s own naturally just like decorative grass in a one gallon pot, but it’s fescue.  And fescue is to be no taller than eight inches in the city of Overland Park Kansas. 
      Obviously I’m appealing. I’ve interviewed my neighbors, gave the yard a good clean up and visited the Grass Pad to confirm the species of grass I have and what my other options are.  I’ll go before the codes board and share the passion I have for my landscape choices.  I’ll bring testimonies from good natured neighbors who while they may not prefer to landscape in the same manner as I, they respect my assumed freedom to do so.  I’ll ask the board to commit to my interests as fully as they have committed to the voice of the person who called in the complaint.  
      It’s all part of having a house…this should be fun. Image