It belongs to your neighbors. To nearby dogwalkers. To local real estate agents. To your (God forbid) HOA. To your municipal government.

Your yard is not yours, but it is a statement about you. Did you know that if you don't have grass, you're bad people? Or — wait — if you don't xeriscape, you're bad people? What I'm saying here is, you're bad people and you know it.

It looks like two people in California are facing a fine for letting their yard die. People are up in arms about how stupid that is, but people are also up in arms about how FALSE the story is. Who cares if they let their yard die? That's conservation! We have a drought. What we care about is how ugly they let it get. That is not allowed.

Look how ugly, everyone:

Horror show, right? One commenter says:

There's a big difference between letting your grass die in the middle of a record-breaking drought, and leaving your property so unkempt that people think it's abandoned.

And another says:

There is also the fact that they didn't just "let it go brown" by not watering it, their yard was an overgrown lot of junk and weeds. It's actually like half green because of all the weeds, there are big rotting wooden planks leaning against their fence and house, untrimmed trees and bushes, random flower pots/old sun plastic bleached sprinklers/fallen branches etc.

(For the record? The above anonymous comment also describes my yard.)

It sounds really bad in those descriptions, but this isn't insane neglect. Only four months ago my husband and I dropped $3,000 renovating/landscaping our yard. Actually, more than that, but I don't want to add up the receipts. And with the combined efforts of watering regulations in California, new plants going into shock, the lack of a professional and experienced gardener, and my husband and my need to work a lot of hours making money and deserving to not break our backs over the weekend, our yard looks WORSE than that photo. More brown. More bare. MOAR WEEDS.

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It doesn't take much. It's not like we sit up at night praying to the Beezlebub of Landscaping for another day of hell on earth for our neighbors. It's more like, we haven't adequately prioritized — ha! — landscaping in our lives. We both work 50–60 hour weeks, and though we reap plenty of financial benefits, those benefits go towards healthcare, and overpriced dog food (did I mention the feces? There's also often feces on the devil's lawn), and paying for my ten years of academic experience. We're comfortable, but we're not buying a team of dudes to fix our lawn yet.

Does this mean we're bad people? No, I don't think so. I think it means that if you think my yard belongs to you, you're being a classist jerkface, neighborly homeowner, and let me tell you a story about classist misconceptions:

My little family? We're doing just fine. Good people with a shitty yard. Next door to us? Adorable freaking yard. Many small planters. A gazebo! And a family full of jerks who scream at each other at all hours, literally FIRE OFF SHOTS in the middle of the night into the air, and seem to be dealing drugs out of their house.

Something about a book and its cover, here?

My house and my yard is for me. MY FAMILY. Inside? We could be an Apartment Therapy. I am awesome, I am not joking. Once I made my own desk! Because that's where I'm living mostly and that's what's priority. Sure, someday I'll get to my yard... but it'll be for me, not my neighbors. Because the title to this post is all wrong.

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