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Weed ordinance rewrite in Wyoming: Grass gives way to ‘water-efficient …

WYOMING, MI – Would you be OK if your neighbor’s front yard was planted with showy goldenrod and milkweed instead of grass?

A revised weed ordinance in Wyoming opens the door to more greenery than just manicured lawns.

A cultivated butterfly habitat will be allowed in lieu of a manicured lawn in Wyoming. 

“People have gotten pretty creative in how they’re using their yards these days,” said Tim Cochran, city planner. “You’ve got corn growing in front yards. You’ve got pumpkin fields. You’ve got enclosed gardens with chicken wire.”

Wyoming previously required grass mowed to 12 inches or less in front yards. It still will be a no-no to let grass grow taller than a foot, but other plants and shrubs higher than 12 inches will be permitted with a water-efficient landscaping permit.

Vegetable gardens, however, will be restricted to back yards.

“We wanted to strike a balance where front yards really should be the focal point of the street and they should be manicured, but they can have perhaps more diversity than what we’ve acknowledged in the past,” Cochran said.

“It doesn’t have to be just grass in your front yard.”

Check out the photo gallery above for examples of Wyoming yards.

“I feel my yard is actually a major benefit to the community because I don’t add toxins or poisons to my yard that can get into the water system,” said Gretchen Neering-Clarke, who over the years has replaced some of the grass in her front yard on 34th Street SW with other plants.

“My yard is full of bees and butterflies all summer. Just seeing all the birds and butterflies in my yard is even more beautiful than the plants.”

RELATED: Compost ban in Grand Rapids lifted without ‘silly’ storebought rule

Wyoming’s new weed ordinance also incorporates more guidelines on composting, patterning the rules after rules adopted in Grand Rapids last year.

Matt Vande Bunte covers government for MLive/Grand Rapids Press. Email him at mvandebu@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/11/weed_ordinance_rewrite_in_wyom.html