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What to do about neighbors?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My husband and I moved into a relatively new suburban home where everybody has exactly 2 trees and 4.5 bushes and everybody has lawns.

Well, we got a nasty letter from a neighbor who said our house was an "eyesore" and that if I didn't care about the value of our house, I should at least care about the home values of the neighborhood. Why the note?

Because we have dug up our front lawn and insted of grass we are planting wildflowers. We put rocks around the edge of the sidewalk so that the dirt won't run onto the sidewalk. And we are careful not to let the flowers get messy. But, still a note.

Any advice?
post #2 of 10
There really isn't much you can do about the neighbor. You can continue to beautify your own yard, with native landscaping and hope that eventually others begin to see the beauty. Give some order to your natural landscape, without compromising your dedication to native, low impact plants. You probably already do this.

Make sure that some of your wildflowers are not considered "noxious weeds" in your town ordinances or subdivision rules.

Have you already made sure that you didn't buy into any set of subdivision rules about lawncare, what you can do for landscaping? I suspect that you have or your neighbor would be doing more than nasty notes.

I hate grass too, but luckily no one is too worried about it in our little town.
post #3 of 10
I would write to your neighbor about the impact of grass on the ecosystem, and how you are trying to create an earth friendly front yard. Also remind him that landscaping takes some time to "take root" and it will look great in a year or two...

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you, both, for your advice and encouragement.

By the way, the note was ANONYMOUS.
post #5 of 10
Perhaps you could post a response on your door. They will be back I am sure. Perhaps you could have someone else make a drawing of what it will look like when everything fills in.

Be sure the boundries between your garden and peoples yards are clear and that your plants aren't hanging over and be sure you keep flowers that are done blooming trimmed and looking nice.
post #6 of 10
I have a friend who has been battling neighbors for 10 years over the state of her yard. She has trees, and flowers, she wants it to look like a natural forrest area. Everyone else has plain grass. She's getting very tired of the harassment. (And they have resorted to harassment -- telling animal control she's starving her pets, etc.)
post #7 of 10
Is there an area garden club that you can join- (not that your neighbors are actually gardening)? You could educate others on the type of landscaping that you are doing.

Do you think that all of your neighbors hate your yard, or just one anonymous person? I'm envisioning an older white male who loves to fertilize, mow, and chemically treat his yard.
post #8 of 10
Ruth, it sounds like your front "lawn" is going to look beautiful. If your neighbor is too cowardly to identify him/herself, then he/she doesn't deserve your consideration. Maybe you could do a little research about sustainable landscaping, so that if this person ever does identify him/herself you'll have some good responses ready. My own front lawn is also grassless. It's a series of beds, with flowering shrubs at the front for privacy and a mixture of wildflowers (daylilies, rudbeckia, echinacea) and cultivated flowers. Good luck and stick to your guns, it's YOUR land.
post #9 of 10
Lilyka, I like your idea about drawing a picture of what it will look like. Non-gardeners often can't see the potential for beauty in a young garden or landscape. You could put up a sign saying native meadow under construction, or have tags to identify plants. Of course, maybe only I get excited when I start learning about the plants in an area, but it would be one way of sharing your project with your neighbors.

Of course, it's your lawn, so (barring lawn care contracts) love it as you like. It amazes me that in this country where we talk so much about independance and liberty we are still so bent of conforming. Particularly in the suburbs. Isn't everyone tired of that stereotype by now? I live in the city and it's so refreshing to see a house or 2 one every block with an ivy lawn, or some are solid violets, or what are those... hostas, or there's one around the corner that's all crazy explosions of flowers with lots of odd garden sculptures.

Best of luck to you, enjoy your flowers (and your neighbors, I hope ).
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
These are good suggestions. Of course, I knew I could get some here!

We planted seeds this morning with our dd. She had a blast, explaining to us what her garden was going to look like and asking us not to step on certain areas. She loves it so much. To me that is enough to stop thinking about the neighbor for a while.

I like the "native meadow under construction" sign. We are learning as we go about sustainable landscaping. I bought a book about "wildscaping" and it has befor and after pictures, of course, before looks like our house when we moved in. I have a great book called Gardening for the Future of the Earth. Our goal is to have the area certified by the state as an Organic Landscape and Garden or a Wildscapes Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program. I think they are two different programs. I do want to post some response - maybe we will less likely be harrassed. I went bike riding with my dd Sunday and we talked to most of the neighbors that we saw. All seemed as friendly as ever so I am hoping this is just one neighbor who is a not-so-brave note writer and is an "older white male who loves to fertilize, mow, and chemically treat his yard." One neighbor that seems a little less friendlier than usual, warmed up to us and then laughed and laughed when my almost 4-year-old dd asked him, "Sir, can you tell us if it is Winter or Spring? It is such a nice day, we are confused."

We have always wanted to garden and we finally finally have our own house! We did our vegetables in our back yard last year with our organic vegetable gardening books. Our food was SOOO good.

Thank you, again. Keep the ideas coming. Your gardens sound beautiful, too!
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