I've lived in two townhouse communities, one with a HOA and one without. The one without ended up as mostly rental properties, units with three different Mexican families living in them, trash everywhere, junkie cars, weeds growing up through the gravel driveways, unkempt lawns. It was the only place I've lived I ended up losing value on.
My current townhouse has an HOA. Every week, the landscapers come and cut the grass, trim and care for the beds. Twice a week, the trash is picked up right from the containers in my carport. Two years ago, we got new roofs. Last year wood trim was repaired and painted, with new gutters installed. The parking areas and alleys between the carports were resurfaced. For the last six years, I've been on the board of managers, so I can keep any crazy rules from being implemented. I like this lifestyle.
For you couple of guys that think it should make no difference to your neighbor's value if you cut your lawn or not or have cars parked on the grass. Well, it will make it much harder for them to sell with you as a neighbor. Makes a really poor first impression, and it's more likely they'll only be able to sell to an investor wanting to use it as rental property. Enjoy your new Section 8 neighbors.