There was a study I read which discussed how the structure of a home has changed as the concept of community has evolved. Before people had modern modes of communication, they were only able to connect with people in close proximity to them. So, they built homes which faced towards a main connection or street with open porches to facilitate these neighborly interactions. As technology evolved, community was no longer just those who lived in close proximity... we began to enclose our porches. This made me think if home style can serve as an indicator of community then, can landscaping serve as an indication of home owner personality or eagerness to be social?
There is a house that I walk past every night which has cactus on its boundary. I live in a suburb of NYC, not Phoenix. The cactus is so abundant that it spills out on the sidewalk. You have to sashay aside and worry if your dog is piercing its paws on this thorny carpet. It might have been the design of the previous owner, but whoever chose this design, what message are you sending to your neighbors? Do you think it makes your neighbor warm and fuzzy? Does it seem like a welcoming addition to your landscape? If it does appeal to you, what exactly appeals to you? When I was younger and noticed houses bordered in thorn bushes, I felt that the owners were clear that visitors should beware. Perhaps I am complicating a simple issue of water consumption in relation to available time for maintenance, but really.... who puts cactus in their yard anyway?