The movement towards natural yards is gaining steam in Madison. It’s already a popular practice, as was discovered in a survey conducted by an east-side neighborhood association. This survey, which reviewed the front yards of about 100 homes, found that 71% of the homes were violating city ordinances. The yards contained flowers near the sidewalk or shrubs along the driveway, both of which are forbidden on the grounds that they could block visibility and present hazards to motorists.
Due to changing public attitudes towards residential landscaping practices, and to the city’s new pollinator protection initiative, the local zoning board is currently revising the existing yard-related ordinances. The new wording is likely to make it more clear that the purpose of the ordinances is to prevent neglect of property, not to stop homeowners from gardening in an environmentally-friendly way.
Madison’s Committee on the Environment is working on the pollinator protection plan and the ordinance changes. Their next meeting is Monday, October 19, at 4:30 PM, in room 108 of the City-County Building.