What Practices are Banned for Your Backyard?

Most people think that they are able to do whatever they want on their property because they own their home. In most cases, that is true. There are a few instances, however, where certain activities are against the law. While they may seem harmless, local or federal governments may have laws restricting specific activities due to safety or health issues that may arise.

A few of the following activities are prohibited in many areas across the country. Installing a high privacy fence may allow homeowners partial freedom, but in reality, the activities are still against the law.

    • Irrigating Your Lawn
      In areas where drought conditions are common, watering the lawn whenever you please can cost you dearly in fines. California, for example, has enacted legislation where homeowners who use water unnecessarily can be fined up to $500 per day, per offense.

      Even in areas where water is abundant, restrictions may be in place to limit the amount of fertilizer and chemical runoff that is created when lawns are constantly watered.

    • Collecting and Using Rain or “Gray Water”
      Collecting and using rainwater are against the law in many areas. It is also the same for what is known as “gray water”. Gray water is what is used for laundry, bathing, doing dishes, etc.

      Using both kinds of water for gardening, or to water the lawn, can pose certain safety and health risks to homeowners according to federal officials.

Raising Chickens

    • Raising Chickens
      Raising chickens is against the law if you live within the city limits. A few areas may allow you to keep up to three chickens as long as they are properly housed and cared for. In most cases, a permit is required if you plan on having any type of livestock on your property.

      Because many type of livestock are allowed to wander the property, disposing of their feces may become a major concern. Having a fence installed can keep the animals contained, but the noise and smell they produce can’t be so easily hidden.

    • Composting
      Composting has also become restricted in many areas due to illegal composting bins and certain types of materials being included in the compost. Composting meat and meat products is prohibited for several reasons.

      The first reason being is that decaying meat can destroy the usable bacteria in the compost. It also attracts rodents and insects that can lead to various types of health and safety issues.

    • Having a Party or Hosting a Fundraiser
      Having a party or hosting a fundraiser can be illegal for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, parties that serve alcohol are illegal because in order to sell any type of alcohol, the homeowner must have applied and received a liquor license.

      Secondly, most parties involve a high level of noise. Loud noises can disrupt neighbors and bring the police to your doorstep. Even if a high privacy fence is installed, it does little to prevent neighbors from participating.

When money is being charged, many city ordinances require the host to have a specific permit governing that type of monetary fundraising.

  • Collecting Vehicles
    Keeping vehicles on your property that are not titled to you or a family member is illegal in many states. Most city and county ordinances demand that a vehicle should be functional if it is kept on the property.

    This prevents the property from looking like, or becoming, a virtual junkyard. A fence may prevent others from seeing the vehicles, but it doesn’t protect the land from chemicals that may leak from them.

  • Camping
    Two or three children camping overnight in the backyard as a part of weekend sleepover is not necessarily a bad thing. Local officials take notice when a permanent campsite is established on a person’s property.

    Individuals who camp in one place for several months at a time must find ways of utilizing the basic necessities. They must be able to shower, cook, clean their dishes, wash their clothes, and use the bathroom.


    The repeated performance of these activities can create very poor hygienic conditions that can put a person as well as the neighborhood at risk for illness.