If you’re building a new single-family home, you’ve no doubt thought about your lot placement, your floorplan, and your design finishes. But when you build a new home, you’ll keep making the space your own as long as it’s yours. And the decisions don’t stop at the interior—they continue to the outdoors as well.
We all know the value of curb appeal. And that the backyard really serves as an extension of your entertaining space. But it’s rare you’ll be able to execute your vision with no restrictions—especially if you have zoning ordinances to follow from your town or city, and definitely if you’re part of an HOA. If you’re thinking about adding any of these six elements to your yard, make sure to check community guidelines and rules first.
Backyard chickens have boomed in popularity, and with the access to fresh eggs without hormones and questionable commercial practices, we get it. However, many HOAs—particularly in population-dense areas, as are common throughout the DMV—restrict backyard chicken coops and their inhabitants. Before heading to Tractor Supply, be sure to read through your HOA guidelines as well as city zoning guidelines.
Livestock or pets
While it might be common sense to assume you can’t raise goats or pigs on your quarter-acre lot, many homeowners are surprised to discover their HOA also limits the number of traditional pets dwelling in a residence. The number varies by community, but quite often, homeowners will find their covenants restrict keeping more than two or three pets at a time—along with specifications as to the type of pets that are allowed.
Bamboo is great. It grows quickly, is sustainable, and makes a fantastic privacy fence. However, many HOAs restrict outdoor bamboo growth. It may seem odd, but if you think of it through the lens of encouraging native plant growth and keeping a cohesive feel to the neighborhood, it becomes easier to understand.
Some HOAs will allow fences without a separate application, but if you live in an HOA community, chances are good that there are also guidelines around your fence’s materials, height, and placement. Read through your covenants before signing with a fencing company to ensure your fence is in compliance. Fences aren’t cheap to replace!
Artificial turf might seem like a great idea. After all, your grass will always be green and at the proper height, right? However, not all artificial turf is created equal, and it could affect the neighborhood aesthetic. As such, it is often banned for residential applications.
If you have the space, a backyard pool can be a wonderful addition to your home. However, pools also come with rules. If you’re in an HOA, you’ll likely have to submit an application to your architectural review committee. Guidelines for setbacks and placement in your yard are bound to come into play, and your municipality likely has its own safety regulations and laws around how far your pool must be from your home and whether you’ll need to build a safety fence and/or install an alarm.
At the end of the day, HOAs and municipality rules are in place to maintain property values, the enjoyment of a dwelling, and safety for each homeowner—both in immediate and near proximity.