Let’s hang on to tradition and keep up our yards
(including curb strips)
Sometimes it seems that shared community values are breaking down all around us, including in Sanpete County.
In times past, one of those customs was keeping up one’s yard, the area around one’s home, as well as possible, and ideally, as well as other homes in the neighborhood.
Everyone planted grass, watered their grass and mowed their grass. Most people also had well tended trees, flowers and usually vegetables on their home lots.
The expectation that people will have landscaping around their homes is reflected in our zoning ordinances, which almost universally require a defined setback from the street, side yards and back yards.
Yet on many, perhaps the majority, of blocks in Sanpete County, there is at least one home where the entire yard is being permitted to go to dirt and weeds, eroding the quality of life for surrounding neighbors, harming property values, and contributing to a general breakdown of community pride.
We’ve even heard people suggest that one of the “benefits” of living in a rural area is that you don’t have to keep up a yard if you don’t want to. We say, “Baloney.”
Typically, local ordinances do not require yard maintenance, only that weeds be trimmed below a defined height.
We believe the ordinances need to be reviewed. Unkempt yards, often with junk in the yards, are no more acceptable in a rural area than anywhere else.
Often, yard deterioration starts with the curb strip, sometimes called the “mow strip,” between the sidewalk and road. The strip is typically city property, but by longstanding mores, the abutting property owner maintains it.
The photo on the left was taken in Lehi, where 100 percent of curb strips on Main Street north and south of the downtown area are weed-free, irrigated and mowed. All yards in front of businesses and residences north and south of downtown are also nicely maintained.
In about five blocks of downtown, the city has installed pavers and planter boxes. So there is no grass on those blocks. The grass strips pick up again south of downtown.
The result is that a visitor is able to drive or walk along Main Street for about 20 blocks past nicely maintained properties.
We weren’t able to determine if Lehi City mandates yard care along Main Street, or if the city itself maintains the curb strips. If the city is taking care of the strips, we say, “The view is worth the expense.”
Contrast that with the photo on the left taken at the north end of Ephraim near the city entrance where the majority of curb strips, including in front of businesses and one federal agency, have gone to weed.
We’re not singling out Ephraim. It’s happening in almost every town. In Moroni and Fountain Green, where, in the past, virtually all curb strips along the main streets were maintained, weeds are cropping up on many of the strips.
We have to ask, “How long before mores change and weeds start spreading up to front doors?”
We hope it’s not too late to recover our traditions, gather up our pride, get off our rear ends and maintain our yards.