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Know the West

Dreaming of good tenants


“Dreaming of Thoreau, but dealing with landlords” (HCN, 8/5/19) was irritating. The author conflated landscaping for a better environment with the issue of dealing with a landlord. The reluctance to have a broad mind when it comes to landscaping is a general one and likely has nothing to do with whether the homeowner lives on the property or rents it. The author even noted, “The yard did not look like the conventional grassy lawns of my neighbors.” Why not explore how people can be educated to appreciate a variety of locally appropriate outdoor plants? Having been a homeowner and a landlord for 45 years, I can tell you that many renters do not make landscaping or home maintenance decisions because they do not want to be bothered. In my Albuquerque neighborhood, most homes have converted to landscapes that do not include the typical grassy lawn of years past. It’s obvious that some people take a lot of pleasure and pride in the local outdoors — but not everyone. Still, since the 1990s, the city has reduced per capita water consumption to half of what it was, and the transition to better landscaping is just as likely to be found among rented houses as owner-occupied homes. 

Spencer Nelson 
Albuquerque, New Mexico