Ground Cover Strategy

The term ground cover has a surprising range of usages. This noun phrase is used for the class of things that cover your real estate in a cheap convenient way. A good ground cover is reasonably inoffensive, self-maintaining, and with luck attractive. The term is used in different ways in gardening, farming, but it’s most amusing usage is in real estate.

In horticulture the term is used to describe a range of plants that once established require little work and can be used in places where you don’t want the bother with the labor of a garden or lawn but your not willing to return to the wild. Pachysandra is very popular in residential settings and shrub roses and daylillys are popular in traffic islands.

In more industrial settings the mulch is very popular. Below the mulch is usually a layer of plastic tarp. Such plastic tarps are widely used in green houses, garden centers, vegetable gardens, and farms. Where they are called alternately a ground cover or a weed control barrier.

You can even find the term used for the asphalt like materials used to seal dumps, industrial wastelands and abandoned property.

The term ground cover is also used in the real estate industry to refer to ways of employing your real estate holdings while you wait for a more lucrative opportunity to arise. The developer looks for certain features in a good ground cover. It must pay the taxes, and not be too tiresome to manage. U-Storage facilities are a good example of this usage.

It must not be too attractive lest the neighbors are tempted to object latter when you want to build your office park. The real estate speculator would be making a big mistake to leave the land idle while he waits for the chance to build his office park or apartment complex. Imagine his disappointment when he finally decides to build and the neighbors decide to complain about the loss of open space. Better to put in something a little unattractive. A used car lot is a good choice.

Real estate ground cover can be seen everywhere. The long strips of little one story shops along main streets in old suburbs were built as ground cover by speculators. They used to be called “rent stores”. The speculators expected to build apartment buildings later when the density could support them.

Real estate ground cover is common around the margins of cities. It creates a band of ugly low sprawl occupied by marginal businesses like used car lots, exercise gyms, and storage facilities.

I don’t see any reason to believe you wouldn’t get a similar ground cover in any and all property rights systems.

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