A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it easier for homeowners to plant natural wildlife in their yards and avoid local nuisance laws, which could mean less cookie-cutter grass lawns throughout the state.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, a Republican, is planning to introduce a bill that would establish a statewide certification system to exempt naturally planted yards from local nuisance laws.
The idea would be to turn more suburban lawns into miniature nature preserves. The New Jersey Audubon says the process would require homeowners to meet certain standards.
Bramnick's wife, Patricia Brentano, has been encouraging her neighbors to dig up their grass and replace patches of it with more natural plantings.
"We don't wear all the same things, we don't look the same, why do we want our yards to be exactly the same as everybody else on the street?" she said.
But many towns have nuisance laws that are aimed at overgrown lawns, so Bramnick wants the state system to help environmentally-conscious homeowners get around them.
"It's actually a defense to the local officer who would give you a summons," he said.
For some homeowners with conventional lawns, the idea is a concern.
"What limits the amount of jungle you could create in front of your house?" said Peter Pitre.