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Your neighbor's yard is an eyesore - wwyd? - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I'm not worried about a yard looking perfect. We don't put chemicals down, so we don't have nice grass as it doesn't really grow here without chemicals. But what we have is fairly tidy.

I'm more concerned about having a bunch of stuff around the yard for vermin to breed in. Their kids don't pick up after themselves and the stuff just seems to stay out there forever. And then there's so much stuff out that they can't really mow unless they pick it all up. And I don't expect a yard to be perfect, but when it hasn't been mowed in along time you can get critters living in it, particularly when there are all sorts of things out to use as shelter, and they try to move into other people's yards.

I think there are minimum standards people should keep their yards at. Not perfect, and nothing requiring chemicals, but just making kids pick up after themselves or going outside every day or so to pick up what they've left out, and then mowing when it starts getting really long.


Well, this is more a safety issue than the "eyesore" that seemed to be the scope of the OP.  I don't know what part of the country / world you're in, but the "v" word would really bother me -- I'm thinking poisonous snakes, rats, something along those lines?  So, ugh.  I think if things started getting to this point, I'd consider some of the more compassionate approaches above posters mentioned; something along the lines of reaching out for starters.

post #22 of 36

We were those neighbors. Sorry.  We were in over our heads with that house.   We did NOT live in a diverse neighborhood (really good point), we were the only ones with a run-down yard. All the rest were big and well maintained.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mama24-7 View Post
 

Unfortunately, this house we bought had a lot of landscaping & for some reason that is not known to either of us, we didn't discuss how we'd care for the yard when we bought it.  We did that twice.

Oh my word, this was us. We bought this big, lovely house on a third acre and THEN discovered that dh is allergic to the great out doors and can't mow the lawn or trim the bushes without collapsing and gasping for breath, rashes up and down his arms.  Neither of us are handy, so when sprinklers broke they basically stayed broken. We tore out the ivy that covered the hill in the front yard when we discovered rats living in there. Always with the intention of re-landscaping it. But our income dwindled severely, so in 10 years, we never did re landscape. Just a big, ugly dirt hill for our poor neighbors across the street to look at. 

 

We moved into a rental and, hallelujah, mow and blow gardeners come with the rent.  When the fence gate came loose, the land lady had someone come fix it.  And there is plenty of diversity.  There are lovely, neat and tidy yards with meticulously painted picket fences, as well as overgrown yards with dead grass and tires stacked next to the front door.  YAY! We're not the messy ones!   And there's someone down the road who's been building a nice retaining wall, for 2 or 3 months now.  The whole area is torn up, and messy.  I kinda don't like it, but whatever, I'm impressed he's doing this himself. We'd never have the gumption to do a yard project like that.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
 

If property values are that important to you, you should live in a HOA area. If I lived somewhere with such petty neighbors who took the time to make my life harder, I would then take the time to make my yard as obnoxious as possible, while still staying in code. ;)

Who's petty?  Not all HOA's restrict what color paint you can use or whether you can put garden gnomes in your yard.  Many of them simply are for keeping the yard in decent condition.

 

I felt horrible and embarrassed when it occurred to me that our personal home owner issues might be lowering the value of our neighbors' homes.

post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
 

Quote:

Who's petty?  Not all HOA's restrict what color paint you can use or whether you can put garden gnomes in your yard.  Many of them simply are for keeping the yard in decent condition.

 

I felt horrible and embarrassed when it occurred to me that our personal home owner issues might be lowering the value of our neighbors' homes.

 I guess I'm crazy, I believe if you spend your hard-earned money to buy a piece of property, you should be able to do whatever you want with it. I don't believe in bothering other people. 

It's a moot point though as we live in the middle of 25 acres where no one can see the house. ;)

post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
 

 I guess I'm crazy, I believe if you spend your hard-earned money to buy a piece of property, you should be able to do whatever you want with it. I don't believe in bothering other people. 

It's a moot point though as we live in the middle of 25 acres where no one can see the house. ;)

 

No, not crazy.  I'm just looking at the flip side of the same coin. I don't think it's okay to bother nice neighbors with a really unsightly yard. I guess it just feels like a social obligation.

 

But- I never felt like I belonged in that neighborhood anyway.  The middle of 25 acres sounds lovely. 

post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
 

Quote:

Who's petty?  Not all HOA's restrict what color paint you can use or whether you can put garden gnomes in your yard.  Many of them simply are for keeping the yard in decent condition.

 

I felt horrible and embarrassed when it occurred to me that our personal home owner issues might be lowering the value of our neighbors' homes.


 Don't feel horible!  If the tax bills are calculated there the way they're calculated here, you were keeping the tax bills down!  ;)

post #26 of 36

Unless someone is cooking meth, selling drugs, or making a huge amount of noise, it's not my business. ETA: this list is not exhaustive.  Obviously things like getting drunk and passing out on the lawn, throwing massive parties on the reg, having so much trash your place stinks - these are neighborhood problems that can impact your quality of life and in some cases, health.  If the person (elderly, overwhelmed) needs help, offer to help.  Tall grass and shaggy flower beds don't bother me, nor do toys on the lawn and bikes in the driveway.  Once you start to stink and attract raccoons, you've probably crossed a line ;-)

 

Most people who can physically or financially keep up their lawns will do the best they can.  If they don't have the equipment, time, or money to do it, what is the point of complaining?  My neighbor has three small children (two under three with special needs and frequent hospital stays).  Her husband left about six months ago.  She can not afford to pay someone and does not have the time or equipment to do it herself.  One neighbor is giving her hell about her yard every other week.  WHY?  Other than getting her kids to cut the grass with safety scissors, she really doesn't have any options.  No one on our street is trying to sell a house so "bringing down property values" isn't really all that relevant. 


Edited by NiteNicole - 11/20/13 at 12:29pm
post #27 of 36

The people who live to the East of us have had problems with their yard. When we first moved in 21 years ago, they never mowed, and never took their garbage to the curb. I saw their then teen aged son grab a dead animal their dog had killed and throw it into a discarded microwave oven that was lying in their yard and leave it there, laughing. The smell was coming into our house, so it WAS our business. Plus, we were worried that it would attract rats. We were given some excuse that the husband had "hurt his back" and he couldn't take out the garbage (why the teenage son or the wife couldn't do it, I have no idea.) My DH offered to do it for them, and they told him to go (%#% himself. Then they told the neighbors that they had "lived here longer than" we had (so?) and we were getting in their business. We've never really been on good terms with them. They did eventually take out the garbage, but it piled up often.

 

We don't put chemicals on our lawn, nor do we do much besides mow, But it isn't difficult or expensive to keep the garbage off the lawn, keep the house looking like squatters aren't living there and mow the lawn once in a while. We live in a society, we're not islands.

 

We live in a area that was going to be sold to developers (which would have been amazingly great, as we would have gotten top dollar for our house and property, plus a bonus) then the economy collapsed and the developer pulled out. So a lot of the houses were on the market and one guy bought them up (he lives in the rich part of town, NOT here)  and he's a slum lord and he has pretty sketchy renters that take NO interest in the houses or their surroundings. These are "Domestic Disturbances on the Front Lawn, Screaming and Yelling and Drunk and Firearms" people. Lovely. It used to be a nice neighborhood. It's gotten better in recent months. Maybe his renters all went to jail, I have no idea. :mischief

 

I believe it IS somewhat one's business when your neighbors don't take care of their property, because the lack of care for your neighbor's property has an impact on your houses' value.

 

How to approach it is an other story. If people can't do it themselves, maybe offering to help, if you can is good. But, if they just don't care, dang, I'd call the Blight Council in your town. Most towns have laws against having poorly maintained property and uncut grass. If worse comes to worse, and it will either effect the value of your house or there is a risk of rats and other things like that, I'd call the Blight Council.

 

Of course, we don't have a Blight Council. We live in a unincorporated area, and the county pretty much just pretends we don't exist. Our house broken into some years ago (it  was a squirrel who had left the house in shambles, we found out, when I found her, but we didn't know that when we can home to a trashed house on afternoon) and the police took 40 minutes to show up. When I called for the 4th time, I was told, "But, you live so far from the Sheriff's Station." Really? Aren't they supposed to drive around every area? OK. I'll shut up now.


Edited by MaggieLC - 11/20/13 at 10:09am
post #28 of 36
I agree with MaggieLC. Yes, your yard belongs to you, but if your negligence effects me in a negative way then I think the considerate thing to do is make an effort to fix it. Her story reminds me of my parents, whose neighborhood totally went down hill when folks moved in who didn't care about how their yard or houselooked. When it came time for my mom to sell, she barely got anything. The whole tone of the neighborhood went down and crime went way up. It was sad.

Like I said, it's not about being perfect, just about being considerate and doing the best you can. Of course it's best to offer help if you see someone struggling rather than immediately calling authorities.
post #29 of 36

I wonder if the responses would have been different if the question in the OP was phrased a bit differently.  I think most of us would agree that drifting garbage and catering to vermin (critters don't understand property lines) is a reason to be concerned, while there's much more debate about whether the appearance of a yard is anybody else's business.  By the time it became clear that the OP was referring to the first type of problem, the thread had turned into a debate about the second type of neighbour's yard.

post #30 of 36

I'm reading some of the responses on the first page and I don't know if some people don't own houses and are just guessing at what it takes to just mow a lawn or what. I don't care if people own or not, but "taking care" of a front or back yard isn't that much effort. We never fertilize, kill weeds, edge, plant sod etc. My DH cuts the lawn. (Now, all of our acre with a push mower, because our riding mower broke and we can't afford a new one.) That's it, cuts the lawn and once or twice a year we get out the hedge trimmers (person powered, not electric or gas) and cut dead branches and some hedges that have gotten out of line. It's just part of owning or living in a freestanding house. Not doing it to me would be like owning a bed and never washing or changing the sheets.... only that wouldn't bring down your neighbor's property values.

 

You don't have to "control weeds" if you mow often. My DH has a saying "as long as it's green." It if's clover, it's clover, if it's grass, it's grass, if it's crab grass, it's crab grass. It is at least all green. He does seed little patches in our side yard once a year because we get bare patches because of lack of sun. But, if nice pretty moss grows there, we just leave it. We don't use chemicals at all, EVER and our lawn is never watered (it would be wasteful with an acre of land, not to mention I can't see the point. Grass is made to withstand some drought, unless you fertilize and add chemicals, then your lawn will turn brown if you go a couple of days without watering.) or fertilized. It's just mowed and it's green and presents nicely.

 

We live in unincorporated, so I'm not asking for much. Just clean and short so that rats and other vermin don't hide out in it. It really does effect property value, in some cases curb appeal can add or take away 20% of the price of your house. I don't think that's fair to cause someone else to lose 20% of the value of your house. There is usually a nice boy in the neighborhood or town who is willing to make some money to mow the grass or worse comes to worse, a landscaping company can come out every 7-10 days in the summer and never in the winter (at least where we live.) Home ownership has responsibility. I'm NOT a neat freak, but I don't want to lose thousands of dollars and have a hard time selling my house when the time comes because some neighbors have every excuse in the book to not follow simple rules of etiquette and respect for the other people who care about how their neighborhood looks. I don't think many people need a lawn edged and perfect, but at least short and not strewn with garbage. Rats are nearly impossible to get rid of once you have them. It's best to not invite them with tall weeds and places for them to hide. It is a problem that effects one's neighbors. 

 

We did look into growing a prairie (as we live in what was once long grass prairie land) but that would have taken a lot of weed control and hand pulling of non-native invasive species, planting many plants by hand ALL over the entire acre, careful weeding out of any seed that fell onto our lawn by accident, etc. It was easier to grow grass, moss and flowers in containers. A friend of ours told everybody at once point he was "growing a prairie" but he didn't do any research and thought all you had to do was let the stuff go. No, he got nothing but thistle and stick plants and bare spots and when I brought up a question (because at first I thought he was serious and was interested) about how he was controlling non-native invasive species and whether he was going long grass or short grass prairie he just looked at me as if he didn't know what I was talking about.. Growing a prairie is a lot of work. MORE work than a lawn. It turned out he just didn't like mowing the lawn or paying someone to do it. He "developed" an allergy to grass to try to get out of mowing, but the village told him it didn't qualify as a prairie (because in our area you can get a permit to have prairie, but you have to do the research and do the work) and they said they could cut it for him.... at $200.00 a mow, once a week. He finally just paid someone to mow it.

 

A friend of mine grew a prairie on his parent's lawn and it took he and all his 7 brothers and sisters to take care of it properly. So, it's not a solution for people who don't have the time or inclination to mow the regular grass.

 

As for the people to our East, they now have what looks like an open roof in a few spots. They had some guy come by a few years ago and slap some shingles on it, but animals or... something rebroke through the hole. I have no idea what's living in there, but heaven help me if I see a rat. My DD said she sees "things" going into and out of the hole" at night, so who knows what's living in there. So help me if I see a rat. I've lived in Chicago and had to deal with rats in our alley, terrified that they would get into our apartment.  I cannot abide rats! They are horrid creatures, they urinate constantly, are filthy, will eat anything and they bite and carry disease.  I just want to know how our neighbors can live with.... things  living and running around right above their heads. It's a one story house.

 

My husband and I have decided that if we can no longer maintain a freestanding house with property, we'll move to a townhouse. There the work will be done for us when it gets to the point where we can't manage it anymore. Until then, I think we have a responsibility to both ourselves and to our neighborhood. I'm into Community and I think this is one of the bases of Community: caring about your neighbor's safety and home values.

 

Rant over, Boy, I really didn't know I felt so passionately about this. I guess losing a third of the value of our home five years ago effected me more than I thought.

post #31 of 36
It does suck to own a home and care for it, but to have people in your neighborhood not do the same. And I'm not talking about pristine well manicured lawns here. It doesn't take much effort to mow the lawn every so often, and weed whack now again, or pay kid in the neighborhood $20 to do it for you. I have little kids and a DH who traveled, and I managed to keep it reasonable. I think most people do, and I don't think that a yard that is not perfectly kept up brings property values down.

We have a house in my neighborhood that has a revolving parade of broken down trailers, boats, cars, slapped together "garden areas" from broken wood items, a pool in fair disrepair, benches, lawn chairs, a carport stacked with stuff and a tarp up to attempt to cover it, and at least 3 pitbulls running around off leash on regular basis. But they were super nice people, and they kept their lawn and weeds mowed better that I did! Did it make some people not want to buy in my neighborhood, probably. But it was for the wrong reason. it's one of the adventures of living in non HoA spot.

I was way unhappier about the burned out house in the neighborhood that took almost a year to fix, or the people that kept having the cops out to their place, because that stuff really lowers property value!
post #32 of 36
Thank you MaggieLC!
post #33 of 36

That's why I like my neighborhood - it's pretty diverse in terms of how people keep their homes. We have some SUPER tidy lawns and on the other end of the spectrum a vacant home with crazy over growth. We bought one of the overgrown homes in the neighborhood in part so that even with fairly lazy up-keep we would still be improving the neighborhood. ;-)  I like being in the middle - the super nice homes inspire me to do a bit better and the more relaxed homes make me feel better when we don't have time or things get out of hand. Funny coincidence is that I logged on to take a break from cleaning the front porch, which was looking PRETTY darned shabby!  

 

ETA: thinking more on this -- we also have a diverse neighborhood in terms of age. We have kids, as do a lot of people. It varies a lot whether families keep toys out or whatever. We're in the middle of this spectrum but there certainly are summer weeks where there are toys out a lot. What may not show, for us, is that my DH also mows my neighbor's lawn all summer because he's a bit older and has some health problems. So, while there may be the passer by who  thinks that we're not doing our part on a random summer evening -- there are other ways we are improving the appearance of the neighborhood, yk?  

 

Also, we live in a city that struggles with vacant properties...so toys in the front yard of an actively lived in home may not be viewed at the same level of concern as other areas. To be honest, I learned that toys left out bothers some people only recently. And, yes, after learning that we've done better. ;-)  It could be that your neighbors are just ignorant that this is an issue? Maybe they just think kids = toys = healthy growing neighborhood. 

post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

That's why I like my neighborhood - it's pretty diverse in terms of how people keep their homes. We have some SUPER tidy lawns and on the other end of the spectrum a vacant home with crazy over growth. We bought one of the overgrown homes in the neighborhood in part so that even with fairly lazy up-keep we would still be improving the neighborhood. ;-)  I like being in the middle - the super nice homes inspire me to do a bit better and the more relaxed homes make me feel better when we don't have time or things get out of hand. Funny coincidence is that I logged on to take a break from cleaning the front porch, which was looking PRETTY darned shabby!  

ETA: thinking more on this -- we also have a diverse neighborhood in terms of age. We have kids, as do a lot of people. It varies a lot whether families keep toys out or whatever. We're in the middle of this spectrum but there certainly are summer weeks where there are toys out a lot. What may not show, for us, is that my DH also mows my neighbor's lawn all summer because he's a bit older and has some health problems. So, while there may be the passer by who  thinks that we're not doing our part on a random summer evening -- there are other ways we are improving the appearance of the neighborhood, yk?  

Also, we live in a city that struggles with vacant properties...so toys in the front yard of an actively lived in home may not be viewed at the same level of concern as other areas. To be honest, I learned that toys left out bothers some people only recently. And, yes, after learning that we've done better. ;-)  It could be that your neighbors are just ignorant that this is an issue? Maybe they just think kids = toys = healthy growing neighborhood. 

Your neighborhood sounds like mine. (Well, where my own home is, I just moved out of state to a rental). I totally agree with your post!
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post

 

We did look into growing a prairie (as we live in what was once long grass prairie land) but that would have taken a lot of weed control and hand pulling of non-native invasive species, planting many plants by hand ALL over the entire acre, careful weeding out of any seed that fell onto our lawn by accident, etc.

 

Yeah, but still, that's very cool. I didn't know people do this.  I assume you're in actual US prairie land? (Or Canadian, maybe.)  Nothing like that in California.

post #36 of 36
Yes. We're west of Chicago and on a lot of land that used to be Talk Grass prairie. I have friends who have regrown iprairie and it was really cool, but a lot of work until sod formed. That takes a few years them the root mass prevents the invasion of invasive and nonnative plamts. Once you get it established its great, it's the first few years that are really intense with pulling watering snd planting.
There's still upkeep, of course, but not as hard as the years you are starting it.

Yeah, no prairie in Cali. Nice desert though. Here any attempts at a rock garden gets overrun with weeds so quickly its a constant battle.
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