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Dallas zoning overlords insist water-conserving cactus garden be replaced with a lawn

Lawn nazis!

Knight’s handsomely restored cottage in the Junius Heights Historic District shows a lot of work and care.

A Google Earth Street View photo from a few years back reveals the aging house fronted by a ragged, sun-scorched yard with bald patches of bare dirt showing through the weeds and parched grass.

Since then, the house has been repainted and spruced up. The unkempt yard is gone entirely, replaced by a carefully chosen display of native Texas cactuses and desert flowers anchored by red river stones.

Knight, who has a horticulture degree from Texas A&M University, purposely chose plants that will thrive despite heat and drought.

It’s interesting, striking and environmentally responsible.

It’s also different, which the city’s preservation overlords apparently cannot tolerate. As my colleague Randy Lee Loftis reported Wednesday, the city’s Landmark Commission has told Knight the xeriscape design isn’t a “historically appropriate” conservation measure. They want him to plant a lawn.


The sooner lawns are seen as bringing house values down, the better off we will all be. Lawns should be deprecated where encountered, and lawn owners encouraged to change their ways. And come on. Who wants to mow the lawn? It's the quintessential suburban symbol, which should die the death, and is, along with what it symbolizes.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

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LD's picture
Submitted by LD on

Read a doctoral thesis of a landscape architecture prof years back who described the entire western expansion into the Americas as the act of the "taming nature" ethos that was strongly inculcated by a dictatorial Biblical mandate to do so. To profit and the Biblical mandate from it had been synchronized into equivalence long ago.

And thus, by extension, these little manifestations, like "lack of manicured lawns and squared/rounded hedges" on private property, are actually unconscious extensions of this religious ethos, that are carefully implanted associations by savvy advertising propaganda campaigns (to sell a barn full of equipment/chemicals/etc.) So, "lawn nazis" describes the backlash well, speaking from also having received the experience.