Who is responsible for the maintence of a fenced backyard? Lawn maintenance, tree leaves, watering? Is there a difference between the front and back of the house in regards to reaponailities?
It would depend on the type of property. Some properties are part of an association which takes care of the maintenance of the lawn, sprinklers and landscape. They normally take care of these items in the back, front and sides of the property. When a fence is installed or in place, there should be access for the landscaping company to access the yard.
There are very rare cases of communities in where the association will only maintain the front of the house yard but not the back of this, leaving this responsibility to the the owner.
Now, in the case of properties without an association in charge of maintaining the yard, the full responsibility falls on the owner of the property.
When these type of properties get rented the yard maintenance responsibility could fall in either the tenant or the landlord. It will depend on the terms of the lease. Normally, the tenants will take care of the maintenance of the yard and landscaping, and the landlord will take care of the sprinklers. However, the terms of the lease could also mandate the landlord to take care of the whole maintenance of the yard.
I recommend landlords to take care of the yard, specially with properties with a homeowners association. The reason behind is that the landlord will make sure to maintaining this to its best, therefore avoiding threatening letters from the association regarding a badly maintained yard. In contrast, some tenants will not care much, resulting in possible fines from the association to the owner.