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Readers Respond: How Bad Neighbors Can Banish Backyard Serenity

Responses: 284

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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? In deciding which replies to post, I will be giving precedence to those that are landscaping-related. For example, I'm more likely to post a response about a neighbor whose dog is given free rein to trample your flower beds than I am to post one about a neighbor who smokes pot and plays loud music (as bad as that may be). Share Your Stories

Ottawa Attack: 1-Way Neighbor Relations

I have lived in my house for over 30 years and have had snobbish neighbours for 18 of them. They started butchering any trees that over hang past their fence to the point we had to cut the tree down. Two years ago they widened their laneway and butchered my 20 foot blue spruce tree. So we put up some nice hedges along most of our front property except for the last 10 feet where we put up a frost fence to protect our front lawn since they put all their snow on our lawn and not theirs. They called bylaws officers and we had to take it down. They erected a new fence in the back yard on our property line and they forbid us to touch it not even our existing plants can touch it. It seems that our property is fair game to them but we can't do anything to protect our own property. We live in Ottawa, Ontario.
—Susanbv

Trashy Neighbours

Our next door neighbours are filthy. They park wrecked vehicles against our drive and their backyard is full of junk - old refrigerators, bathtubs, rotting boats. One of their rusted out cars had a huge oil leak on to our driveway and when we asked them politely to clean it up they said we should be concerned about their car, not our drive. They were running an unlicensed business in their garage and had loud machines going at all hours of the day and night. Even worse, they pretend to be very devout Christians but they are in fact rude, selfish, and very inconsiderate neighbours. If they spent less time praying and more time cleaning up their mess, they might stand a better chance of making it through the pearly gates - after all, isn't cleanliness supposed to be next to godliness?
—bagginty

Sociopath Raped His Yard

In 2013 a convicted rapist and thief moved in behind my house with the divorced woman who lives there. This summer he cut down every pine tree and mature shrub that bordered our two yards. He pulled out mature forsythias and a beautiful Rhododendron with his pickup truck. On the weekends I have to listen to the pounding of his compressor nail gun until 12:30am. To finish off the rape of his yard, he has installed video cameras which point directly at my house and driveway, so that I feel stalked and exposed to his prying eyes 24/7. UGH!
—Guest Mary

Jet-Washing Drive Sends Dirt Our Way

Our neighbour jet-washes his dirt down onto our lower drive every week, dirtying our walls and showering everything in muck. It is getting us down, as we are retired and hoping for peace and quiet. They park across our drive so we have to park outside on the road. They slam and bang -- it is horrendous.
—Guest Carole

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

Beware Landscaper Neighbors!

A landscaper bought the lot and building next to me in 2006. He informed me that he was raising the lot and putting in two mountains of colored red mulch there -- yeah, 50 feet from my well. To date, from the flooding this has caused for the past 7 years, 10 feet of my home's foundation is collapsed, my well has 17 different heavy metals in it from the old pallet wood and c&d debris wood mulch. My front yard is wrecked. The town, the D.N.R., and the county won't do anything about this matter and I am now forced to let the home I've lived in for 22 years go into foreclosure because of this idiot. I live in Southeast Wi.
—Guest Rob

Lazy Loons From Hell

We never had a problem with the woman who lived next to us until she died and left the house to her daughter. It sat empty for years. Her daughter is a bitch. Two trees on the property line started to die, so we called her and asked if we could cut them down and that's when she went nuts and started yelling at us for all kinds of crap. She has some looney idea we are out to get her. Now her son and his ex-wife (both in upper 30's) live in the house rent free. They have no jobs and are lazy as hell. They do nothing but think of ways to cause trouble. They have 2 stupid little dogs who bark at every little thing. When I get home from shopping she comes outside with the two dogs and just stands and looks at me take my stuff into my house (such a creep). In winter they shovel snow off the roof of their house and then take and move all the snow from the roof away from their house and put it against our home. They keep parking in our driveway. The shit they do never ends.
—Guest whyme

Get a Fence for Your Dogs!

I have the worst of bad neighbors. He has these two little white dogs that are constantly straying from the yard, 2-3 times A DAY, to the surrounding yards. This white-trash pony-tailed 60-something p.o.s. realizes after a while they are missing, and walks up and down the street with a BULLHORN, yelling for his dogs to come back. This happens 2-3 times a day, and he is completely oblivious to any requests for peace and quiet, and to fence up his dogs. I don't know how many times they need to escape, before he does something. Then, he KICKS them all the way home. I have him on video doing this. I think he sets them up to roam, so he can abuse them when he catches up with them. This is in Danbury, CT. Police don't care, and he LIVES to pick fights with anyone who dares say anything to him. "Hate him" does not begin to describe my feelings.
—Guest FED UP

The Party Landscape

My neighbors have all-night parties... There is lots of horn honking, yelling, and verbal arguments. I heard one young girl scream, "I'm so sexy on my back at 4:00am." They need to go!
—Guest Tedd

Bad Neighbor Just Stares and Glares

We used to have a relationship with our bad neighbor, who has recently moved into our neighborhood. But since then we have lost any sort of relationship with him. In turn, he has come to the conclusion that his only means of intimidation is to stare at us. He and his crack-head friend sit on this massive deck he has built. They sit at the patio table closest to our yard. He has 4 separate patio tables on his deck. Who has 4 patio sets on their deck? They will come out of their house when we get home and take to our deck, which is above theirs, and turn their chairs to face us and just stare. They stare through our dinner and our after-dinner watching of the sunset, until we go back into the house. Last night we went out to our deck after a hard day's work to enjoy a glass of wine and unwind, and out they came and sat and stared. When I went down to water my planters and flower beds, the male stretched his neck above the fence he built (so he wouldn't have to look at my ugly face) and stared with this weird smile. Creepy! What do we do?
—Guest Mr & Mrs Jones

Frauds Force Fence in Border War

I have my second set of bad neighbors. Dogs peeing on my lawn because they can, calling me names for taking pictures of their bad behavior, swearing at me. I surveyed and fenced and now the whole street hates me because my fraudly disabled neighbor had to put his camper on his own property and it made it hard for them to park. If they respected my property the fence would never have moved. They put a closed circuit tv on their house and watched me all winter then just cut back trees so they can still do it. I put security cameras up as I have retained a lawyer because they told me they are going to "make me move." Pellet guns, fraud disability claims...just disgusting to watch.
—Guest ko idiot alley

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How Bad Neighbors Can Banish Backyard Serenity

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