Screw the neighbors, lawns suck, why not plant a vegetable garden instead? Grass is impossibly difficult to maintain and gives nothing back other than a little bit of oxygen and the illusion (if you are lucky and have a bit more acreage than the standard 75X125 foot postage stamp plots typical of suburban developments ) of living in a pastoral setting. And if you don't have enough space to grow what you will behind the house why not, as this article describes, grow it out front?
As a kid growing up in a post-war Levitt style development on Long Island, I often fantasized about replacing the two pads of lawn in front of our tiny brick cape with a bosky jungle. I never quite got what was so great about having an unobstructed view of a street full of parked cars and garbage cans. But I was never successful in convincing my parents to defy the prevailing aesthetic and to this day the lawn remains in place -just like all the other houses, save one. (Interestingly, the one house that does have a garden out front was renovated ten years back by a same sex couple.)
Growing front-yard food can rile neighbors - CNN.com