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Readers Respond: How Bad Neighbors Can Banish Backyard Serenity

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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? 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.
—justin32

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
—Guest LOOKING FOR STORIES

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

Threatening Neighbors

My neighbor was power washing his leaves and debris off of his driveway and blew it to our lawn on purpose, and then my mom asked him, "Why are you doing this to us" and he told us, "Tell your daughter to shoot herself, you shoot yourself and your whole family shoot themselves." We called the cop on him and the cop told us to put a protection order on him and we did that. The neighbor said it again to us 3 months later, "Kill yourself, Kill yourself" while his dumb girlfriend heard him saying that to us outside. We went to court and we had a lot of evidence and the Judge dismissed it because he had a lawyer and we didn't. After that was over, the neighbor & another neighbor are harassing us again. We called the cops again and we told him that we lost in court and he told us, "That is the way the legal system works". The woman judge was very biased. The two troublemaker neighbors have been harassing us and destroying our property and calling us for 7 years. All we want is PEACE.
—Guest Anoymous

My Neighbor from Hell

http://youtu.be/Lf1GklqFtNA Take a look at this video of my bad neighbor. This is just the beginning, there is so much more to follow. More kicking, spraying poison on my freshly laid sod, putting up "No Clown" signs on the property line. Police. Oh yeah, much more to come, please watch this PHD Scientist in action http://youtu.be/Lf1GklqFtNA
—Guest Paul

Townhome Living

I live in a cute little townhome in Killeen, Texas, because my significant other is stationed at Fort Hood. We lived in the same townhome for a year and it was perfect. We have a cute little backyard with mulch and stone landscaping, a fire pit, and grill. We just recently had new neighbors move in and it been nothing but headaches! The first time I met them, they accused me of blocking their vehicles in the parking lot, when it wasn't even my car. Next they have been constantly screaming and fighting with each other all times of the day. Once it was a 2AM, another time at one in the afternoon. They have a little dog that constantly scratches on my wooden fence and yelps all the time. Every time they leave the driveway they rev their engine very loudly. It's driving me crazy, and on top of all of that, they constantly have loud music playing. Trying to keep my patience hoping they are still transitioning from the move. I guess we will see.
—Guest Catie

Creepy Kleptomaniac

We've lived in this house for about 11 years and live next to a hoarder who's a creepy kleptomaniac. In the front yard, his trees and bushes are growing over our driveway and branches have fallen off onto our cars multiple times. He and his girlfriend have around 30 cats, at least, and all they do is shit and puke in our yard. He also always has to park in the shade no matter how far he is in front of my driveway. The problems in the backyard are getting kind of scary now. During the summer I'll be laying in the pool and my dogs start barking and lunging at the fence and when I glance over that way I can see his bald head backing away from the fence. I can't do anything in the backyard without being watched. Recently, I've been noticing that things are missing. There is a piece of plywood up against part of the fence that's falling over and has loose boards. And I've put it back up every morning. It's obvious he has been in our yard and snooping around, looking in our windows.
—Guest Corisa

There Goes the Neighborhood!

I live on a block where everyone loves to keep their lawns perfect. We had a new neighbor move in who loves to collect junk and does it for his only business. Whatever he can't cash in, he sells. The place looks like Sanford and Son, and the front lawn looks like the moon. He never waters the lawn. Brown is the color in the summer. Why can't people who live in a nice neighborhood just be a little concerned and make the place look halfway decent? This guy and his fat girlfriend who owns the house -- or I should say the bank owns it because it's been in foreclosure for many years -- don't care about the neighborhood. When the house was bought 10 years ago, it cost 154k and she owes 360k -- whats wrong with this picture. The house is not even worth 250k. Think it's time to live where neighbors get along like back in the 50's.
—Guest Patty

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How Bad Neighbors Can Banish Backyard Serenity

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