Neighborhood etiquette (advice too, if you have it)

I live in a nice, relatively upscale neighborhood (no gate or anything, but well-kept homes, etc.)

My house was the last house built in the housing plan. It was wedged between two existing houses. It was always supposed to be built, but the folks on either side of us had lived in their homes for 3-5 years before we got here.

So, they took advantage of the space. I can understand that, as I would have too. It was basically an open field. So, their dogs were allowed to “do their business”, trash, grass clippings, dead tree branches, etc. were all deposited on this lot. When we moved in, the builder had cleaned up most of the trash, but some things have been hard to change. Like my neighbor’s dog taking a dump on my yard.

I have mentioned this to him on a couple of occasions, but it doesn’t seem to register. So today (I’m embarrassed to admit) I finally lost it. I threw the doggy do over his fence into his yard. I didn’t care if he saw me or not, and I was hopping mad and ready for an argument. It never came. But dammit, I should be permitted to mow my own yard without stepping in his dog’s crapola. Especially since I don’t have a dog.

That’s just one gripe. Both neighbors on either side of me seem to have a “we were here first, therefore we can do anything we want. You, however, must take our advice.” Well, that’s just crazy. My neighbor across the street (an older gentleman, in his 60’s) tried to explain it this way… “They were there first.” Ah, so what??? I pay my taxes, I have a property line. I have a right to my space.

Here’s the question I have. My one neighbor has just been too much, and we’ve had it. So we’ve decided to build a natural wall out of leland cypresses (or something of that ilk) to shut them out. I don’t want to see them any more. I don’t want to see their kids any more. I don’t want to be friends. I just want to block him out and be left alone. So I’m going to. I’ve already checked with my township zoning office, and I’ve been given the thumbs up.

But I’ve been told that this is rude of me and I shouldn’t do it. After all, it will be close to his property line (exactly! I want him to stay on his land, I’ll stay on mine), and that doing this will brand us as “stand-offish” in the neighborhood. I don’t understand. Both of my neighbors have done landscaping that has been right against (and in one instance completely over) my property line, and they never asked me for my opinion. Why should I give anyone a courtesy that wasn’t given to me and my wife?

Are we being rude by doing what we want with our yard? Is there some unwritten neighborhood etiquette that I’m not aware of? Just because we were the last ones to move in doesn’t mean a hill of beans in my book. I want their pets, their kids, and their toys out of my yard. That’s my right. And since I don’t want to call the police on every occassion the property line is breached, I think this is a reasonable solution.

I would appreciate any thoughts.

Well I’m with you. You should try to get along with your neighbors as well as you can, but the way you describe them, I don’t know what else you can do. They’re being pretty rude by still using your lot the way they always have. I wouldn’t worry about anyone who thinks you’re out of line.

Good fences make good neighbors.
And if that doesn’t work, at least you have a good fence. Build it.

Wait, you mean their dog poops in your yard and they don’t pick it up?? THAT is rude, unsanitary, and, I believe, illegal in some states.

Go for it. I would do it in a heartbeat.

I think being “un-neighborly” already has a precedent, if your neighbors have been such jerks. Build the natural fence as quickly as you can.

People are INSANE about this. La familia just moved into a house in a neighborhood where everyone is an original owner or inherited the home from their parents. They get their panties all in a knot over where we park on the curb (we don’t like to park in front of our house because of a shedding tree, for which we have no recourse right now) because “I’ve been here for forty years and this is my space!” Fuck you, asshat, we paid MUCH more for our place than you did for yours and we pay more taxes, too; we own that space as much as you do.

And there’s plenty of room for everyone’s cars, and then some. It baffles me.

You don’t owe them nothin’. Obviously neighborhood etiquette is not important to them, so they’ll understand. Put up your trees, and if they still give you problems (the dog still finds a way into your yard etc.) call your local PD’s non-emergency number and ask them what you can do.

And it’s also highly dangerous for their kids if their kids play in the yard too (which seems to be implied), and especially if they also leave their toys strewn about. Dog poop has lots of nasty bacteria that can really rock a small child’s world.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Who has told you it isn’t?

First, thank all of you who have responded so far. I was actually beginning to think I was being unreasonable.

The neighbor across the street (the 60+ year old man). He gave me the “rules of the neighborhood” one day. To make a long story short, I was told that I upset my neighbor (the one I’m planning on planting the trees between) because I planted a tree too close to a tree of his. Only I didn’t plant it, the builder did, and they put it where the township told them to plant it (it’s a street tree). My asshat neighbor planted his tree without township permission, and he planted his tree very close to our shared property line *before *the builder planted my tree. Therefore, he was pissed off that my tree was too close to his and apparently he complained loudly to a number of my neighbors. The older man across the street shared this with me, and when I mentioned that maybe the best thing to do was to put a natural barrier between the properties, I got the speech about "they were there first, you’ll look standoffish, etc., etc.)

Well, I feel I’ve been reasonable. I’ve made no waves, and I’ve made no phone calls to the authorities about my neighbor and his dog, or his kids and their toys. I’ve tried to be a good neighbor. I’ve reached my limit.

That is correct. My neighbor’s opinion is “what’s the big deal?” Somehow I think if my dog was doing that in his yard, he’d have a different opinion.

What a tool. Thank you all for making me feel a bit saner than I did about 12 hours ago, when I stopped my mower, got my shovel and chucked that dog crap over the fence. I was a bit embarrassed that I got that angry, but this has been going on for 2 years.

The fence is going up. A natural fence. It should be a nice, attractive evergreen buffer. And I can’t wait until I start putting up the silt fence. That’s going to start the ball rolling in the anger department. I’m holding off on that until I have the plants ready to go.

If I were you I’d keep throwing their stuff over the fence in the meantime, be it poop, toys, dogs, kids, etc. Their stuff, they can deal with it.

Go for it. It’s YOUR property. BTW, I think you can call the police if his dog keeps shitting on your lawn.

And yes, by all means toss it back on his property. He shouldn’t have an unleashed animal roaming on other people’s property.

As for the guy across the street, ask him if you can chuck the dogshit in HIS yard next time!

Do you really care what they think? I think that’s what it comes down to. Build the fence, but understand that it might keep you from having a good relationship with the neighbors. Is it right or rational? No. But people often act that way.


Buy yourself a hand-pump sprayer, and make sure your neighbor sees you spraying something onto your lawn. Talk to him afterwards and tell him you just wanted to let him know that you’re using a new lawn treatment and the package says it could be very dangerous for dogs if they get it on their paws.

Tell you what, I had people move in across the street who run their goddamned ATVs at night without lights up and down the street at 50 mph, play horrible mullet rock at all hours, let their badly socialized and aggressive Rottweiler run around loose, the teenage daughter has thousands of boyfriends screeching their cars down the street to impress her and their fetal alcohol syndrome son comes over and tries to steal my bikes, and when he can’t manage it he tromps around in my herb garden freaking out and screaming. If I can’t do anything about THEM, what the hell do your neighbors think they can or should do about you and your eminently sensible desire not to have strange dogshit in your yard?

I say screw the natural fence, build a nice six foot high wood fence with a stout gate and tell Mr Busybody Old Fart across the street to shove it up his anal aperture with his “neighborhood rules.” You bought the place, it’s yours and you can do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t break any laws or ordinances.

If they try to brace you again, tell them you’re thinking of painting your house bright purple with big green and pink polka dots, and that you’re also planning on painting rude slogans in glow in the dark paint all over the whole shebang. Let them know that your desire to accomplish this aim grows greater every time your neighbors attempt to instruct you in your duties as a homeowner. That ought to shut 'em up!

Round here, any animal-at-large that wonders onto my property is hunted and killed, pronto. They only survive if my wife gets to em first, and shoos them out the gate before I can get the gun and 9 iron. (Sand Wedge is also pretty effective.)

Got to protect our livestock investments.

Don’t edit yourself. (like I just did)

Which neighbor are you referring to here? If I told my next door neighbor to keep his dog from crapping in our yard, and I got this response and Fido continued, I’d call the cops. StGermain said it best. You’re behaving reasonably and rationally. Why in the world do you care about the reaction of people who may be offended by reasonable behavior? Last time you checked, you owned the property, right? So, your choice now is to keep some unreasonable nitwits placated or to make yourself happy. Hm, decisions, decisions…

I’d call the cops (or the animal police; whawtever they’re called) after a few tickets and a few threats to lose their dogs; they’ll wisen up. Plus you wont have to shell out the dough for a fence.
Just be prepared to prove it’s their dog doing the shit’n on your yard be it a video cam or what have you.

Our relations with our neighbors improved immeasurably when we 1) paid to have the property line surveyed and put stakes in to show the boundaries (the idiot builder pulled a major screwup that had confused everyone until then) then we 2) planted a line of hemlock trees well on our side but paralleling the line.

Finally when the original neighbors moved out and clueless new ones moved in who let their vicious unsocialized dog wander into our yard where our toddler played we put up a nice high fence (all within the zoning rules…we checked carefully ahead of time). Now their dogs and associated dogshit stays in their yard, our kid and his toys stay in our yard, and everyone is happier.

Good fences really do make good neighbors.

stonewall include me in the crowd that says put up your barrier. There is no neighborhood pecking order based on who bought their house first. Just be prepared to not be friends with these people (no great loss from what I can tell).

This sounds like one of those rare occasions where a neighborhood association would actually be of value. Frankly, if I was in your position, I’d be putting a privacy fence around my entire yard.

And a tree barrier is lovely. Lucky for us, either the builder or the original owner put in a line of nine cypress trees along our back fence. There is an upslope behind our property so the houses above have a pretty decent view into all of the houses below, except for ours.

The cypresses are now almost three stories tall, and effective block all views. And they are beautiful- very Van Gogh! :wink:

We are planning to replace a grapestake fence with a fucking wall, to reclaim some property along the line that was usurped by a neighbor, who also planted some huge palm trees right on top of the line! They will either have to pay for the wall to curve around them (quite expensive) or they will have to come out (don’t want that myself, but…).