Know how you can avoid situations like this (situations in which you are severely restricted in your decorating, etc. choices on your own property?) Just don't live within an area of your lily white suburb which is controlled by a Housing Association. But if you want to pretend that you've "made it" in Capitalist America by having your own Estate consisting of a house that looks like all the other houses on the block and a postage stamp-sized piece of land (which is still mysteriously large enough to convince you that you need a riding mower to maintain,) this is part of the cost of that part of the American Dream. You are living under a microscope where your progress is being constantly scrutinized and graded by the neighbors who are on the same hamster wheel you are. Your every move, every choice of car, every new flower planted anywhere, every coat of paint applied or not applied, is being noted on an invisible scoresheet which is not only in the brain of that Housing Association Nazi, but each of your neighbors. Better keep up with the Joneses, because if you falter, everyone is going to notice.
And now that you know all this, do you still think you upgraded when you gave up that apartment downtown?