Are natural yards legal in Madison?

Yes.

However, the city does not make it easy to find out what rules a homeowner must follow in order to have a natural yard legally. The booklet containing this information can only be found in the historical records library.

Here are a few excerpts from Madison’s official publication:

“Once prairie plantings are established, they require no herbicides, fertilizer, water, dethatching, aerifying, leaf removal or mowing. Prairie Restorations Inc. of Wayzata, Minnesota calculated that prairie maintenance was one seventh of the cost of lawn maintenance.”

“Comparative studies have shown that there is more than twice as much runoff of rainfall off of turf grass as there is from woodland or prairie vegetation. Extensive use of natural vegetation could have a profound positive effect on the water quality of our lakes.”

“Will tall grass attract rats? – Rats are attracted by extreme concentrations of food such as grain elevators and garbage. Whether tall grass is present or not is independent of the presence of rats.”

“What about mosquitoes and other insects? – Naturalized landscapes without standing water will not breed mosquitoes. At least ten days of standing water are necessary for this. People who have landscaped their homesites naturally have no more insect pests in their yards than the more traditionally landscaped homes of friends throughout the city.”

“Will a naturalized landscape lower my property values? – In a recent court case, a claim to this effect was not allowed as evidence because of its hearsay nature. This was in light of the fact that all property (traditionally and naturally landscaped) had increased in value. Because of many factors in house buying, it is difficult to prove the effect of landscaping on the total value. In Madison, the increased existence of and buyers’ awareness of naturalized landscapes has proved to be an advertising point for at least some houses.”

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Are natural yards legal in Madison?

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