Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fences And Front Yards

An Ohio city wants to ban fences from more parts of the yard. The city, Middleburg Heights, already bans fences in the front yard.  The stated reason is to give passersby better views of the lawn and home.

At least the city doesn't bother with the pretense of a safety excuse and goes right for the aesthetic truth of the legislation.

However,it is amazing that this sort of intrusion into the preferences of an individual homeowner is regarded as normal, as opposed to laughable, but that is life in America where the lawn is concerned.

A prominent exception is the very rich, who typically remove their lawns and homes from public view by setting the homes back far from the road and blocking the view with trees or a fence.  It is interesting to drive some roads in Cleveland.  Starting from downtown and heading east to Hunting Valley where some of the people who own Cleveland live, one will notice a curious phenomenon.  In the poor and working class areas, not much attention is paid to the lawn.  Some vacant lots seem as if they are returning to nature, and some people have fenced off their lawns, perhaps for security reasons.  Moving into the nicer parts of the city and the start of the suburbs, the lawn mania begins.  Typically, there will be no fences, so, in the typical American way, the passerby can enjoy the view of private homes, the lawns all linking together to create the illusion of a public park.  This will continue until one hits the outer suburbs, then one will notice fences starting to appear.  At first, they will be split rail or just a string of bushes, permitting a view of the lawns and homes.  As one gets closer to the home of the very rich, the lawn and the home begins to disappear from view, either behind a string of tall trees or a tall fence.

There likely are variations, but I would not be surprised if this phenomenon could be found in nearly every large American metropolitan area.  I would be pleased to hear from people who try this experiment in their areas.   The middle class folks of Middleburg Heights may believe in democracy, even as they practice lawn fascism, and think that we are all in it together, but the rich usually know better and remove their lands from eyes that may become too envious. 

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