why it's good I don't live in the suburbs

We would never survive in the suburbs. Not only for the cultural reasons (I haven't yet heard of a gay lefty bohemian suburb in my city), but because we'd probably be stoned out of there for not keeping up appearances.

I just spent 90 minutes or so cleaning up our (fairly large) back yard-- scooping dog poop, gathering up dead branches, raking leaves. Really the bare minimum kind of maintenance. And that's about all I ever do to it. We rent our house, but I don't really think that if we owned property I'd suddenly be planting flowerbeds. We didn't do a very good job of keeping up the minimal decorative planting that existed here when we moved in. And I just don't really care about having a nice lawn. It's better than dirt. But the kind of focus and energy required to keep a lawn watered and green and mowed is just more than I have available to me. Our landlord (well, actually, another of her renters who gets a deal on rent) takes care of mowing our front yard, so that at least looks semi-respectable (except for the flowerbeds). But she's refused to deal with our back yard, so that's up to us.

And we just really don't care that much. As long as the dogs are happy and have space to run around, and we can sit out there and drink coffee in the mornings, it's fine with us.

Luckily, we live in a mixed-income neighborhood, on a not-yet-developed and not pretentious street. I'd say we are maybe the 3rd or 4th worst-looking yard/exterior house on the block -- so that puts us at the 75th percentile, maybe 80th. More than a passing grade. After all, down the street there's a guy who runs his own contracting business and usually has two bulldozers and other heavy equipment in his back lot. And we don't have chickens in our yard, like they do one street over.

So I guess I don't really need to worry too much. It's not the suburbs.