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Readers Respond: How Bad Neighbors Can Banish Backyard Serenity

Responses: 380


The more time you spend in your yard, the more you expose your life to your neighbors. While many of us seek a backyard oasis from our landscaping, a haven where we can commune with nature and experience a feeling of serenity, the reality is that bad neighbors can send serenity packing in a hurry! We hate to admit it, but the people who live around us have veto power over our backyard fun. Most all of us have a landscaping horror story to tell about bad neighbors. Maybe it's a mild annoyance you remember, such as a bad neighbor blowing leaves onto your side of the property line. Or perhaps it's something worse you recall: e.g., has a bad neighbor ever vandalized your fence, mailbox or plants? Share Your Stories

Surrounded by Bad Neighbors

I have bad neighbors all around me. One neighbor constantly is putting Roundup on his yard to the point that his yard is now a toxic waste dump. We have what we believe is a drug dealing punk in the same court, but it hasn't been proven yet (but when you see cars coming at all times of the day and night you begin to wonder). They also have yappy dogs that are known to run loose and leave deposits on neighboring lawns. I have a neighbor on one side that isn't quite so bad as the toxic dump neighbor but she did put weed killer on her lawn without giving thought to plants that were on my side, and she killed half my favorite lilac. I don't use chemicals on my yard because I like the wildlife that roams (squirrels, rabbits and lots of birds). We've even had deer come running through. I can tell you the buck didn't stop here long. One neighbor decided that she didn't like all the vegetation around her house and pulled it all out. Now the yard just sits there looking barren and plain.
—Guest ellen

13 Years of Harassment From Bad Neighbor

The day I met my new neighbor he was standing in his front yard. I went up to the fence that divides our property and introduced myself. He looked at me like I was a huge bug or something, backed away from me and never spoke to me again. He has a corner lot and I am his only neighbor. He has complained about me so often I have lost track. He lies. He complains that I NEVER cut the grass, that I have a car rusting in my backyard. First off, there is no way to get a car in my backyard, plus I don't drive and have never owned a car. Today, after working on my yard for the last two days, edging the lawn, planting and trimming the hedge, I get a visit from City Hall. He has complained once again, I have garbage on my driveway, a bed, etc. What I had on my driveway was bundles of twigs ready for garbage pick up on Friday morning and some wood for a fence I'm building this coming Sunday. This man looks at me the same way he did since day one and never stops watching every move I make.
—Guest Annette

Stupid, Bad Neighbours in Australia

I'm only 15 and live in Australia, but my neighbours have recently become a pain. They play constant loud music and have started to dump dead palm leaves into our back yard claiming that "it fell by nature." Obviously I was upset that my mum has to deal with this kinda stuff, and today she just had enough and stormed over there, and since she is Chinese and doesn't understand English very well, I had to speak to the neighbours' mother -- who is a nice person but seriously needs to control her immature children. So I was speaking to her about it, but then all of a sudden her daughters come out and start swearing at me using the "it fell by nature" excuse again, and the younger one started calling my mum names and saying she's gonna punch her (and stuff all this trash talk), and then the oldest one, who looked like she hasn't had a shower in 2 years, starts saying she's going to get her "cousin," Sonny (who happens to be one of my friends) to bash me. These people are unbelievable.
—Guest Alan

Bad Neighbor Story: Hockey Horror

I live in a neighborhood where a hockey clique rules. This past year has been an experience that we will never forget. The teenage boys who live across the street thought that our driveway and backyard was their personal playground. We asked them not to use our driveway, and that in turn got my newly planted plants in my vegetable beds rocked. This later led to me being assaulted with a garden hose, which split open my ear, and collapsed a vein in my eye. I also was egged, had water balloons thrown at my roof, and FU written on my driveway. The family next to us let their dogs use our yard as their bathroom, while their children used our yard as their playground. We fenced, and the 3-year old from next door said she ought to slit our throats. My vegetable garden was poisoned with a 4-chemical mixture, and my new cedar fence was spray painted "4-sale". I am amazed at the number of people in the neighborhood who have caught these people doing things, but refuse to call the police.
—Guest Joliet

Bad Neighbors Have No Landscaping

We have a neighbor that has a terrible yard -- they hardly mow their grass and there isn't any landscaping at all in there yard. All of their weeds are now coming into our yard. In addition, when my brothers and sisters came home from school, they were having a neighborhood party in our backyard for their 2 year old. They said that they do not have any room to host a party like that in their yard because they have too much stuff. My sister told them to leave and then they called the police. We now have a no trespassing sign in our back yard. After speaking to an attorney, we were told that no one should be in your back yard if you are not home. It is called trespassing and that, if it continues, we will have to file additional documentation for the destruction of our property.

Dog Feces in My Front Yard

I had a neighbor 3 houses up the street who led his big mutt out every morning at 6 am. This dog defecated at least 4-5 times a week in our front yard, and it always was a big load. So, I started to fill a 5 gal. bucket with it and one night went up to his front door dumping it all over. A note on the door said: This is all your dog's feces left in our front yard. Next time all this s**t will be dumped on your car! I see this guy now walking his dog with a scooper.
—Guest Helmut

Bad Neighbors, Dogs: Other Side of Fence

I have lived in my home for about 15 yrs. I have dogs -- Pekingese and Carins. My one neighbor is targeted by my dogs because with any little barking, he yells and screams. He yells obscenities, etc. I have tried to have conversations with him, informing him that the more he yells, the more they will bark. They do not target the other side of the fence with barking and the other neighbors have activity in their yard, as they have a daycare. Our lot is large: at least one acre. His behavior is unpredictable and erratic, he threatens me and the dogs. I have called the police at least 5 times, consulted with animal control etc. I am always told there is nothing they can do. Most recently, he kicked in a portion of the fence. The police told me he had a right to do whatever to his fence. I cannot believe this. I would like to put up a cement fence; does anyone have any opinions about this? I know this will be costly, but I want and need the privacy. At least a cement fence cannot be kicked in.
—Guest Pyyper

For a New Neighbor TV-Show

I'm an LA-based casting director doing preliminary research for a new TV pilot that aims to solve neighborly conflicts in a neighborly way. I'm hoping you could help me get in touch with anyone interested in this topic, so they can reach me directly. You can check out our website www.metalflowersmedia.com to review our casting credits and e-mail at ivette@metalflowersmedia.com if interested. Many thanks, Ivette

Story From the Other Side of the Fence

I think a lot of "bad neighbor" stories here are actually FROM the "bad neighbors." What are you doing looking into other people's properties and complaining they are "junk piles." Or, worse, complaining about their dogs barking? Dogs bark. Get used to it. And what in the HELL are you doing looking into your neighbor's yard to find something to complain about? I think it is YOU that are actually the BAD "neighbor," as you are NO "neighbor" at all. You're just a whiner who hates animals, and a peeping tom at that.
—Guest sugar

Confession of Unintentional Bad Neighbor

I am one of those bad neighbors and realy wish I could fix things, just can't afford to. Bought a fixer upper some time ago then husband got sick. Economy bad for all and we ended up going bankrupt when he missed a lot of work and those bills kept coming. Now we both work and live week to week hoping we can pay those bills. No credit cards, just mortgage, utilities, gas. He has to commute and gas is a hundred a week. I work 6 days a week. House is in disrepair and I am sorry but really can't fix the deck that is falling down, can't paint or have the tree that is lying in the back yard taken away. I feel guilty that I have the worst house in a nice neighborhood but really can not change it. Mortgage is upside down. Paychecks sometimes very low as one is on commission. Sometimes think only way neighbors could improve their house value is to fix mine but I can't say that outloud and they probably don't want to insult by offering. Thats life and I am sorry.
—Guest wish I could do more

Lunatic Planted Ugliest Garden Ever

We live on a lake, and ten feet up from the lake is community property. Our neighbor yells at people walking around the lake and throws stuff at them. He tries to block the area around lake so people can't be on the easement. He has injured geese and ducks around the lake. He actually puts food out for them and waits for them to come near. It got so bad we put cameras in and discovered he is throwing food and yard waste into our yard and lake. The man planted the ugliest garden ever in our yard and went off on us when we had a land survey done. He had to move his garden; now it butts up to property line and hangs over. He is constantly spraying weed killer, which kills our stuff, and which has blown onto us (since he does it near to where we are at the time). If you park on the road in front of our houses he will leave you a note or wait to yell at you. The man hates yard sales and will stand out by your yard sale and cuss at your customers . There is no end to what he will do.
—Guest WhyMe

Most Unfriendly Neighbours in Melbourne

Renting a unit for 6 months in a well-to-do area because it is close to my kids' schools, and neighbours across the road never meet our eye or say hello because they think we are not wealthy enough to speak to. One day I parked my car by chance in front of their house (there were lots of other parks around and I was not parked illegally) and I was verbally abused by the husband, with all the swear words imaginable, while his wife and kids looked on as if this was normal behaviour, even though I was prepared to oblige and move my car. Since then, my car has been keyed and I suspect the flat tyre was no accident. Can't wait to leave this street and go back to our friendly street when our reno is finished. These people have no sense of community or morals. Money does not make you a nice person. I feel really sorry for their kids because they will probably turn out the same. I hope karma catches up with them.
—Guest Getmeoutahere

Omaha, Nebraska Saga Still Alive

Our neighbor, Doris keeps watching me and my elderly mom and she doesn't miss anything we do outside. She is very sneaky and a troublemaker. Ever since we moved here, she has been harassing us for 7 years and she tells people (her family, her friends, and her neighbors & strangers) to do mean things to us even though we don't know them. Doris is very jealous of us only, not the other neighbors. Doris has evil powers to convince people to do mean things to us and they do it for her. Doris is a scary person and she is pure evil. She asked her son-in-law, Paul to put bright floodlights on her garage facing toward our bedroom windows and we called the city and the man told them to tone down the light. Now Paul comes over to Doris's house very often to do outside work for her and Paul glared at my elderly mom while I was painting outside. He glared at me, too. Paul and his wife, Staci are just as jealous as Doris. Doris and her family and friends will never change. We just want peace.
—Guest Anonymous

Peace With Elderly Neighbors? Nope

I've been living in my home 14 years. There has been a small 2 bedroom rental house next door, and all the previous renters were not a problem. But now an elderly couple has moved in. All seemed good at first. But now there is a constant flow of people in and out, and there is a party every single night -- drinking, loud country music playing, fire pits that look more like a bonfire -- past the midnight hour. They have been sawing off limbs from neighbors' trees -- including mine -- for fire pit wood. The yard is full of old tires and beer cans and I get the added pleasure of seeing some of the men hanging out there peeing on the side of the house at my kitchen window because they're too lazy to go in the house. I have since closed all blinds along that side of my house and have gotten to where I'm not going in my yard anymore because someone is out there at all hours. If I knew I could sell my house real quick I would.
—Guest Ready to become Medea

Dream Home Becomes Nightmare

I have put up with crazy neighbors for 6 years. We caught the neighbor peeping into our windows, and my husband told him to stay the hell off our property. He retaliated by calling the cops on us and was told to stay away from our house. He watches us with binoculars, measures our property line, and hides behind his car and tries to look in our garage. The wife just stands there and watches him with a dirty toddler on her hip (she is constantly pregnant). To make matters worse, they rent their house out to four different people who all park in the cul-de-sac, so my children can't go out and play or ride their bikes. His latest harassment is to drive his lawn mower several feet into our yard and laugh over his shoulder. We will probably end up having to move over this and we are in our dream home.
—Guest alisonok

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How Bad Neighbors Can Banish Backyard Serenity

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