For five years, the Youngs have been cultivating native grasses in their lawn. A neighbor who didn’t appreciate the effort called the city to complain – the lawn didn’t meet a city code prohibiting grass over 12 inches. This summer, the city wrote a citation to the Youngs, who in turn contested it (they are awaiting a court date). Don Young wants the city to rewrite its ordinance and make exceptions for native grasses such as side oats gramma, the state grass of Texas that typically grows to about 20 inches. The Youngs have gramma in their front yard, along with bluestem, switch grass, and several other varieties. The grass attracts birds and butterflies, but can also be tall, brown, and … well … different. The neighbor who complained has a St. Augustine yard that requires plenty of water to stay green and alive.
“Conservation is a big part of this,” Young said. “I don’t have to water my front yard at all, and it looks gorgeous to me. It’s been so long since people have seen real prairies that they don’t appreciate it. They appreciate a standard green lawn.”