September 12, 2009


Rule #18:Your front yard is not a landfill; nor is it a storage unit.

My dog-walking route takes me past countless yards that are littered with junk. The junk stays there day after day. The kitchen supplies (kettle, plates, vases, etc.) on this table have been there for over a year.

Note the Christmas lights.

Again, this isn't a temporary pile of dirt. It's been there since I moved to Mira Mesa (in early 2008).

It may just be me, but mounting Buddha on a pile of rocks seems sacrilegious.

September 10, 2009

Creepy Statues

Rule #17: Statues rarely look good. It is unfortunate that Mira Mesans seem to be obsessed with them.  They don't just have one or two; they have families of statues.  Case in point:

For some reason, this angel-boy-pelican statue combination sends shivers down my spine.

Downright creepy ...not to mention pretty damn kitschy.

If you look very closely, you may be able to see
the house that is buried behind massively overgrown

This is uglier than it is creepy.

September 08, 2009

Antenna Farm

Rule #16: Mounting multiple massive antennas on your roof does not improve your sex appeal/virility. Similar to “the small penis car” concept, antennas don’t trick anyone. You may have thought that appendages towering up from your roof would be a chick magnet, but I'm here to tell you that they aren't. I promise.

Homeowners’ Associations can be overbearing and annoying, but in this case, the presence of an HOA would have been a welcome relief. Goodness knows what these antennas are for – I’m praying they’re part of a ham antenna system.

E.T. phone home?

September 06, 2009

Plant Self-Care

Rule #15: Instruction tags should be removed immediately after planting. They are not decorative ornaments, nor or they meant to be instructions for the plant. This plant obviously failed to follow the watering instructions its owner so lovingly left hanging from its neck.

One couldn’t have asked for a more fitting final touch to this portrait of life and hope than the stray plastic shopping bag.

September 04, 2009

Welcome to My Prison

Rule #13: Unless you're aiming for a "detention facility" look, avoid enclosing your front yard with a chain-link fence.

Although this website claims that chain-link fences are "attractive, versatile, and creative," I have struggled to find a single example of a chain-link fence that is remotely attractive or creative. Perhaps you don't want the all American white picket fence, but come on, do you have to go to the other extreme? You may as well add some barbwire to the top for the full "Welcome to my prison" effect.

September 02, 2009

Shopping Cart Thieves

Rule #12: Shopping carts should never be removed from store parking lots.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Abandoned shopping carts look horrific - they scream "I don't give a *#!@ about my neighborhood!" More importantly, removing shopping carts from parking lots is a crime. Shopping carts are store property and cost between $75 and $100.

...and no, don't try the "I'm just borrowing it" justification. You wouldn't try that with a lawn chair from CVS, so don't try it with a shopping cart from CVS.

August 31, 2009

Sunglasses Required

Rule #11: The exterior walls and/or trim of your home should not be painted in such a manner that sunglasses are required for viewing. Granted, paint doesn’t always dry in predictable colors, but wouldn’t you think that after painting the first few yards, this homeowner would have realized that the blue he selected was perhaps a bit too bright?

I'm hoping this homeowner was going for the "Easter Bunny" look.

August 29, 2009

Mix & Match

Rule #10: Do not Mix & Match pieces of synthetic grass. Mix & Match wardrobe pieces? Yes. Synthetic grass? Absolutely not …even if you got free samples from four different retailers.

If you thought the differences weren’t obvious, they are. If you thought the different types of grass would blend over time, they won’t. If you thought mismatched synthetic grass is better than your neighbor’s weed-filled yard …well, I’ll give you that. In the future though, remember Rule #2 - "Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it will look good as a lawn substitute".

August 27, 2009

A not so high-end appearance after all...

Rule #9: The purchase of synthetic grass does not suddenly absolve you of yard maintenance. High quality synthetic grass tends to look pretty darn good. Synthetic grass next to a weed-filled garden? Not so good. Synthetic grass that's no longer visible? Even worse.

If you can’t commit to weeding (see Rule #7), I suggest pocketing the money you’d spend on a synthetic front lawn and hiring a gardener from the local 7-11 hangout instead – you could probably get a good 10 years worth of gardening using the money you’ll save.

Look closely - there's synthetic grass buried beneath the weeds.

August 25, 2009

It doesn't get much better than this...

Rule #8: This is a variation of a previous rule, “Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it will look good as a lawn substitute” (see Rule #2). In this case, it could be re-written, “Just because you love mini putt golf doesn’t mean turf is a good lawn substitute.”

I’ll admit – I think I may actually be experiencing a tiny bit of guilt about posting this. I can imagine the enthusiasm that went into planning the front yard:

“Oooh! Oooh! I know! Instead of grass, why don’t we get us some of that nice turf, like they got at them mini putt golf courses? It would look good all de time, we wouldn’t haff to water…”
“…or mow de lawn!”
“…and we could install a fancy fence.”
“Aqua blue.”
“Yeah, aqua blue. With silver beads draped from it..."
"…and Christmas ornaments!”
“Yeah, man! We can make a little courtyard. Have nice white plastic chairs and all. Lots o’ little fairy statues.”

August 23, 2009


Rule #7: Yard maintenance requires weeding. Period. End of story. One person’s weed may be another person’s wildflower...but definitely not in these cases:

August 21, 2009

Pigeon Enclosures

Rule #6: Pigeon enclosures are not a good idea. They’re an even worse idea when they are so large that they are mistaken for a batting cage. They are a flat out ridiculous idea when you live in Southern California and are close enough to your neighbor to reach out your window to touch his wall.

Note: I have always referred to this house as the cacti-hoarding pigeon house, due to (1) the aforementioned pigeon enclosure, and (2) the front yard that was filled (and I mean absolutely jam-packed stuffed to the brim filled) with potted cacti. Thus you can imagine my utter disappointment when I arrived to take photos and discovered that the front yard was completely bare. Not a cactus in site. The only upside was that the pigeon enclosure had been substantially enlarged – Mira Mesa has plenty of other potted plant hoarders, but this is her sole pigeon enclosure …and what a majestically ridiculous one it is.

August 19, 2009

Rat Heaven

Rule #5: The ratio of dead to live palm fronds should always be less than one.

I would quite confidently bet that several families of rats are happily living among the tangles of these dead palm fronds.

August 17, 2009

Christmas in August

Rule #4: Christmas lights and decorations are for Christmas. They are not meant to be year-round. I have never seen a community filled with so much holiday spirit in August.

On my walk this morning I passed five houses in a row all with their icicle lights still hanging. The chili pepper Christmas lights almost brought tears to my eyes ...and the Santa Claus door decoration still hanging in the middle of August? I mean, that has to be some kind of record. I can see it now, the new city slogan greeting drivers as they enter Mira Mesa’s borders: “Welcome to the city that’s too lazy to stop celebrating Christmas.”

There’s an ongoing debate between my boyfriend and I as to whether the “Blow-up Santa” folks will try to resurrect good ol’ Santa this winter (we’re hoping the sun hasn’t caused too much damage).

August 15, 2009

Anyone up for a barbecue?

Rule #3: Unless you are going for the lava field look (which surprisingly isn’t recommended by professionals), avoid entirely replacing your lawn with black rocks.

Even 20 feet away, I found myself feeling uncomfortably hot ...and also a rather hungry – anyone up for a barbecue?

I apologize for the poor quality photo. Most of my photography expeditions are best described as "drive-by"...which means that I don't always get award winning-results.

August 13, 2009

An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Grass

Rule #2: Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it will look good as a lawn substitute.

While the idea of laying out green carpet in your front yard may sound appealing, it turns out there are several problems with the idea. First, no one – not even a two-year-old – is going to think the carpet looks like grass. Carpet looks nothing like grass. Yes, they’re both green, but that’s where the similarities stop. Second, the carpet won’t stay green for long. Between gathering dirt and fading in the sunlight, your green carpet will soon be better described as puke green. And third, no matter how carefully you lay your carpet out, it inevitably will end up with big rolls and folds.

So… if you ever have the revelation that green carpet would be a fabulous eco-friendly alternative to grass, I strongly advise you to “Just say ‘No’” …both to the carpet …and to whatever is causing you to have such revelations.

August 11, 2009

Plant Hoarding

Rule #1: In general, keeping plants in their pots is strongly discouraged. If you simply can’t muster the energy to remove your plants from their pots (yes, trips to Home Depot can be exhausting), use the following formula to calculate the maximum number of potted plants you should have in your front yard:

x = (y/50) – (v2 + s)

A negative number indicates that under no circumstances should you place a potted plant in your front yard.

x = maximum number of potted plants recommended for front yard
y = number of square feet in front yard
v = the number of vehicles/boats/RVs regularly parked in your driveway or elsewhere in your front yard
s = the number of statues in your front yard