Being a new homeowner comes with a lot of new lessons to learn about maintaining a property. While many internal decorating and maintenance decisions are left up to your discretion, your yard likely has to meet certain standards set by the city in which you live.
Here are four such standards that may be imposed upon your property.
Every city across the state writes theirs a little differently, but each municipality more than likely has a "nuisance vegetation" ordinance of some kind. This dictates the standards by which you must keep up your lawn. Page through your own community's ordinances on the city's official website, or talk to your local code-enforcement officer about how long your grass is allowed to get without a fresh mow. This will be important to know, as many communities have rules in place that allow the city to mow your lawn on your behalf if the ordinance is violated—at your cost.
Though you may own your home, you don't have the ability to do whatever you want with your yard's landscaping. Most cities have ordinances in place to encourage environmentally conscious landscaping decisions and to maintain the beauty of the community. These rules may include regulations on what you can and can't do in your boulevards at the edges of your property lines, as well as the ratio of plants and vegetation to rock or stone work or fills.
Your yard-maintenance requirements can include more than simply what's on the ground—the condition of the trees on your property needs to meet certain local standards as well. While every community is different, many will ask that you keep branches from interfering with city electrical wires. This may or may not be your responsibility to remedy once you've been notified a branch's clearance violates a local code. (The city may also determine whether or not a tree needs to be removed entirely if the roots interfere with buried electrical or sewer lines—check your local ordinances to find out whether or not tree removal is the homeowner's financial responsibility in this case.)
Whether it's political season or spring cleaning and yard sales are rampant, there may come times when you want to place signage in your yard. Most cities have rules regarding where and how long you can place signs—and how large they can be. Permanent signage typically requires certain type of zoning on your property, but temporary signs are usually allowed under certain circumstances. They may include keeping them out of the public right-of-way or boulevard or removing them after a certain length of time. Before you place a sign on your property, make sure to double-check the rules for placement with your city office.