The city requires property owners to keep their yards clean, trimmed and landscaped or else risk up to $1,000 in fines and possibly jail time.
Landscape neglect is among the most common problems cited by the Tupelo Code-Enforcement Division, which has increased patrols this summer in an effort to fight blight. Officials don't care if you win Yard of the Month; they just want you to cut your grass, kill your weeds, rake leaves and clear debris from your yard.
"It's just common-sense stuff," said Development Services Director BJ Teal, whose department oversees code enforcement. "Just keep it reasonably maintained."
Teal said homeowners don't need to spend a lot of money on landscaping to make it look nice; they don't even need to plant grass if they don't want to. But she said they must do something, whether it's rocks or pavers or an assortment of shrubs and flowers.
The rules applies only to the front yard, so that it's visible to the street.
Commercial property owners, too, have to establish and maintain some kind of landscaping, especially if it's outlined in their initial site plans. And they can't remove any designated vegetation or hardwood trees without municipal permission. Doing so can result in steep fines and, potentially, legal action.
One final note: Teal warned against using ivy in landscaping if it's allowed to climb up a structure. While beautiful, ivy can get under siding, shingles, window frames and other areas of a house or building and eventually weaken or destroy it. Ivy also attracts insects.
"We probably wouldn't take enforcement action," Teal said, "but ... ivy can be very destructive."
About this series
THIS IS PART 9 in a series of stories about common Tupelo code violations heavily targeted this summer by the city. The first stories were
about house numbers, yard parking, signs and banners, junk vehicles,
outdoor storage, lot mowing, fences and trash bins. Other stories will be:
July 2: Commercial codes
TO ASK a question or report code violations, call the Tupelo Development Services Department at (662) 841-6510 and ask to speak to the Code Enforcement Division.