Tenant perennials – a good or bad idea?

My tenants are making themselves at home in the backyard. I’ve given them a fairly free reign over planting things in the yard (as long as there isn’t already something else growing there, and it won’t be a pain to mow around), and they’ve taken me up on it. They’ve planted some hostas around trees, and created a small flowerbed by the fenceline, with flowering annuals, and a clematis that should return year after year.

On the one hand, I’m glad that they’re making the property their own. I do want them to get attached to the place and live here for ever and ever (with yearly rent increases, of course). On the other hand, if they plant things that are high maintenance (and then don’t maintain them, or move out), then I’m left with either dead flowers or more yardwork.

Perennials are more expensive than annuals, however, if the tenants create a flowerbed and then plant it with perennials, I won’t be faced with a big empty flowerbed the year after they move out (which I would be if they plant annuals). However, if they plant perennials, they could either spread and take over neighboring areas, or look sickly if not given the proper care and attention they require.

The easy answer seems to (next time at least), have clearly demarcated areas that they’re free to plant with annuals, placed such that they would still look OK if I covered them with bark mulch when nothing’s growing in them. Perennial placement (and species) will have to be cleared with me in the future.

Ever so slowly, I am beginning to have a rule book…

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