Neighbor tore out my plants

SusanWIN(z5 IN)August 9, 2004

Didn't know which forum to turn to, but I am so upset I can't see straight. I've lived here on a lake in Indiana for almost 20 years and have built up a rather pretty landscape with a channel and lake view I've always dreamed of. New neighbors moved in next door several years ago. Their lot is much larger than mine, but the openness between all us lake neighbors was so nice. When I say openess, I mean a gorgious view of the lake and channel. We were good friends up until last year and they (younger than myself, if that matters) all of a sudden had nothing to do with me. Their house sits at the very far end of their property, but their property line near me is about three or four feet from my house. What once was the view I bought is now being taken over by a fence they will be putting right in front of my family room window. Yesterday, he tore out my plants that have been next to my deck for, hostas, ferns, black eyed susans just in bloom, not to mention the tulip bulbs I've had planted. The lake view I will now have is a fence and I no longer have access to my lakeside for the lawn mower. I tried talking to him about this before he cut out the sod, but he just said it didn't matter what I wanted. I would think the very least he could have done was to either pot up my plants or suggest I get out the flowers etc. I wanted before he started, but that was not the case. I look out now and see my pretties in a pile ready for the trash can and I'm so sad. Gee, do you suppose this has anything to do with the fact that he propositioned me several times and I turned him down flat? Revenge would be to tell his wife, but I won't allow myself to do that. How can people be so cruel. If one were to boat around our lake, they would see that lake neighbors here don't put fences up to block the neighbor's view of the lake. It just isn't done, but this dork and his wife want their property to look like an estate, I guess. Nothing I can do about it, but just needed to get this out in hopes that it will make me feel better. Anybody had something similiar happen and how do I get over this. Property value is being diminished as we speak.

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lblack61(z5 NY)

Did he have to ask for an easement to put the fence up? Perhaps it isn't even legal for him to put it up.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 7:50PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

To my knowledge, he didn't have to ask for an easement. He did have the property re-surveyed. When he and his wife first suggested that they would put a fence up between the properties, I pleaded for them not to lose the spaciousness and view of the lake. This was early last summer. The only way they said they wouldn't would be if we put a fence up on the other side of my house. I spoke with those neighbors and they were fine with that as it didn't block their view. They couldn't even see it so my husband and I put up the fence.....very begrudgingly. My fence doesn't go all the way down to the lake. I would never, never have put up the fence if I had known that in less than a year, the other neighbors were going to put one up anyway. I asked this neighbor guy last week what happened to our agreement and he wouldn't even answer me....he was about two feet away from me at the time so I know he heard me. These neighbors and I have dogs that play together and there has never been any problem with me when their dogs come play with my dog and the same with them. I'll just try to not dwell on the whole thing, but it is an in my face thing.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 8:44AM
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Hi! Sorry to hear about all your troubles. I live on one of the Finger Lakes in NY. They're beautifully scenic. Unfortunately, there are lake right wars going on with neighbors all the time here. Fortunately, my father in law is a lawyer, well known in town (He's not one of the ones all those lawyer jokes are about). We have some prickly neighbors that put up fences on either side of our lake rights. Our father-in-law said that if they infringe upon our rights, he knows they didn't get the proper permits to build the extensions on their home (not that we've ever used that)! It doesn't hurt to have a little dirt on the neighbors although I hate the fact that things have to be that way. I would still check things out with the lawyer that did the title search on your property and check your property deed. If that doesn't work out, you can move next to me! I love black-eyed Susans, hostas and ferns. I'm trying to get them growing in my yard right now!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 10:17AM
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magazinewriter(z5 Mich)

Your next-door neighbor is a real jerk!! What kind of person digs up someone else's plants? And builds a fence cutting off your view?
If there's no easement law, do you have a neighborhood association you could complain to? They usually have no legal authority to make him remove the fence, but they can give him enough of a hard time that maybe he'll move away.
One can always dream.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 11:46AM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

I don't understand. Were your flowers on HIS land? If they were, you had no right to plant them there and he had every right to pull them up.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 11:47AM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

You said: "What once was the view I bought is now being taken over by a fence they will be putting right in front of my family room window. I don't understand this either. You can't buy a VIEW. And if you don't OWN what you can see, you can't control it.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 11:53AM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

Thanks, littlebug5 and others, for your time. When the neighbors moved in, I had the small flower bed on my property, but these neighbors later on needed to have large equipment brought in to put a new septic system in and needed my portion on the property line for this equipment. Also, they didn't have room on their lawn for the LARGE amounts of dirt that needed dug out, so they asked if it could be put on my yard. As I said, we were good friends and I knew they would make it right when all was said and done, so I didn't give it a second thought and said "sure". When this couple re-did my small flower area, they made it larger and when I brought it to their attention that part of it was now on their property, they were happy to tell me that since I was such a good neighbor they wanted me to have an area where I could put more flowers and plants since they knew I loved gardening. So, I realize they have everyright to do what they want as it is their property. What changed in our relationship, only they know. Their attitude, words and actions aren't warranted, though. It has been hurtful that they haven't said a word to me. Yesterday, I watched as he cut off leaves of the only hosta I have left, that hung over on his property. That seems a little sick-o to me. He has tree limbs with leaves that hang over onto my property, but I'm not going to have someone come in and cut a straight line off them just because they hangover here. Did I buy the view of the lake? Yes, I feel I did. As often on lakes, the properties are pie shaped, with the narrow part of the lot at the lakes edge, so that's why the fence, as nice as it will be, goes in front of my family room patio doors down to the lake's edge. This is long-winded, I know. Should have just vented on a piece of paper, then thrown it away instead of using this venue. If I had it to do over, I would have.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 9:27AM
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magazinewriter(z5 Mich)

Susan: Despite what others say, I agree with you 100 percent. Morally, it doesn't make any difference who is technically the owner of the property. If you don't want someone else's plants on your land, you ask them politely to move them. You don't take matters into your own hands!

And when you buy a house with a lake view or an ocean view, that view is part of the value of the house. A nice person wouldn't deprive you of your view.

Haven't they ever heard of "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?"
It sounds like your neighbors are exhibiting the gardener's version of road rage. Shall we call it Garden Rage?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 10:17PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

Hey, Magazenewriter...I have lived by The Golden Rule all my life and find it so hard to believe many people don't think that philosophy pertains to them. Believe it or not, I did ask them how would they like it if someone did that to them. There is no way to argue with it. Neither one of them answered me. So be it. What goes around, comes around. It won't be by me though. Glad to hear you live by this rule of thumb, also.
And, booberry85, hope you have good luck with your hostas, ferns and blackeyed susans. Sounds like a really nice place you have. Lucky you to have an attorney for a father-in-law. Wish I could visit.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 3:15PM
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Is there such a thing as common curtisy anymore? What a jerk he was to destroy your plants. Even if they were on his property that's just plain rude. The very LEAST he could have done is come over and talked to you about it. My gosh, how childish he was. He's lucky I don't live next to him. He really wouldn't like me or my DH as his neighbor cuz it would be a long time before he got any peace and quiet on his side of the fence! I feel bad for you, really. I hope things get better for you on your side of the fence.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 12:43AM
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Susan......You're well within your rights to be upset, regardless of what one poster might suggest. I think you're on to something when you noted that the hubby had come on to you several times. Sounds like there's a messy domestic situation over on their side that is playing itself out at your expense. (I wouldn't be surprised if the wife picked up on his interest in you and when confronted, he blamed you. And now they're channeling their anger at each other into a weird confrontation with you)....The 'up' to this might be that the couple will be heading toward divorce court at some point and you'll end up with new neighbors who will regard the fence as a drawback.....In the meantime, unless you feel you have even more to lose, you might well want to investigate whether or not he can build a fence so close to your house. Even if the property line is close, that might not mean he can build right on or near the line without staying an appropriate distance from someone else's structure....And, yes, you do 'own' a view of the lake---if only in the sense that part of the market value of your house, or any house, takes into consideration landscaping, viewsheds, etc.......Do what you need to to feel better and more in control of the situation----whether that's making sure, at a minimum, that he's held to the letter of the law, or trying to create new garden 'views' for yourself that will somewhat mute (though never erase) the damage he's done.........If you can, down the line, count yourself lucky that you're rid of these so-called 'good friends.' They've shown their true colors, if only by refusing to discuss the situation. Finally, his calculated destruction of your flowers bears every sign of being a pathetic display of 'revenge' for your having rejected him.

Good luck and hang in there........

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 5:21PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

What nice words of support I am receiving. KathiCville, are you a psychologist? You seem to have zeroed in on some very interesting theories regarding the neighbor's actions towards me. Maybe it is just a matter of time before there is a divorce, since this is his fourth marriage. One encounter I had with him when he first began digging, he mentioned he would like to get out into the country where he could have more space, so they might be moving. As I was inquiring why build a fence if they were going to move, his wife came over and I reiterated my question to her. Her reply was, "we're not moving." At that point, I just told her she and her husband, who was ever so silent now, should try communicating with each other. That's when I threw my hands up and trotted back into my house. Copperlilac is right on when she noted what a childish jerk he is being. I was single when I bought my house and had been for 20 years before just getting married again this past December, so this place is my baby. (never had any human babies.) Hubby doesn't know that jerkface so blatently came on to me this most recent time. Feel it's my battle and there would be no good come of it to tell him. I am working through this fence thing by putting it into perspective by telling myself it's not an arm or a leg. I use that phrase often to keep myself in check, but sometimes................. arrrrgh!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 11:56AM
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I'm glad you're getting some moral support. If you like I can try sending you some tiger lily tubers (bulbets? not sure of the right term). If you can tell me how to divide and conquer the hostas, I'd be willing to send you some of those too. This year was the first year my black-eyed susans actually took hold. I'd like them to get a little established before I try and divide and conquer those.

Cheer up better days are to come!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 1:20PM
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plantsnobin(z6 IN)

You would be surprised how a fence can change your garden for the better. New opportunities for climbing plants!! Not the same as a lakeview, but you can create a new view. I put up fence just to have a backdrop for the garden, and it really does open up a lot of possibilities. I am not trying to make light of your problem, but it doesn't sound like you will be able to reason with neighbors, so make the best of it. I would still tell his wife. Some people you just can't be nice to.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 3:35PM
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bastone(MID IND)

If they are your plants why would they be in his yard?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 3:19PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

Well, bastone, the reason my plants were on their property was because they enlarged my small flower plot onto their property as a thankyou to me for letting them use my yard and access for large equipment they needed for a new septic system. Before this, my flowers and plants were on my own property. There's more detail in my long-winded reply to someone else on August 12th.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 8:01AM
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manifest(USDA 11a, Sunset 24, CA)

well, you can alway release some termites onto their fence posts :-) (just being gleefully vengeful)

wow, FOURTH marriage??? ya think he'll finally get it right when he's onto his fifth one??? people like that never learn, so try not to even give it any further thought. these people obviously need to sort themselves out and it's a good thing they can do it in the vicinity of their own fence, so none of their bad energy will spill over towards you.

look on the bright side - you can grow some wonderful climbing vines...passionflowers, morning glories, sweet peas. or you can build a trellis along the fence and train some ivy along it. just think of it now as an oportunity to create a new garden for yourself, as a new challenge for you to rise to. it's up to you to make some lemonade out of those lemons this neighbor has thrown at you...

best of luck!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 11:55PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

You are right, manifest, I do need to make lemonade out of the lemons. Just saw on your member page that you and I have the same birthday...December 6. Kindred spirits? With my fence I put up an arbour and planted a climbing rose on one side. Hopefully next year it will do something other than just grow canes. I made a raised bed along my fence and just recently have been planting perennials for next spring and summer. That has been the fun part and I look at the opposite side of the yard from HIS fence. As an update, I found out that our area planning commission laws state that a fence on a "yard lake" can be no higher than three feet from the edge of the water to a 35 foot setback. Hmmmm..his is over 5' tall with the posts even taller. I made a call to the manager of the commission and stated my case. It will be checked into she said. If it was only 3 foot tall, I would be able to see most of the lake again, so I am very hopeful that the commission can make him see the error of his ways. The fence will still run in front of my deck and patio door and family room windows. YUK! Now, he is going to build a garage that will have one side face my family room windows which I will then be looking at. Staring at that blank wall doesn't excite me one bit. Double YUK! From where he has staked it out, it is approx. 10 feet from my house and will further block part of my lakeview, let alone curtail some of the light that now comes in this expanse of windows. Part of the reason I wanted to remodel in the beginning was to view the lake from nearly every window possible. Those days are soon to be gone and this lemonade is turning very sour.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 11:14AM
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gardeners_hands(8, coastal WA)

Susan, any chance you and hubby can come up with a down to buy that property when the marriage goes bye-bye? Seems very likely to me.

My code of ethics is to report to the innocent spouse when a married partner strays or makes a serious attempt to stray. Forwarned is forearmed. I am prepared to lose the friendship (if the couple happen to be friends) as I feel my love for both of them calls for full disclosure. The betrayed (or about to be betrayed) spouse deserves the dignity. I would of course only report what I had first-hand knowledge of.

Try to step back from the garage situation (horrors!) I can't believe the planning commission would allow it, maybe it will be resolved without risking your health and happiness, you've had enough grief. Don't let anyone steal your joy.

And Susan, make sure your dogs stay home. Don't be an innocent, who knows how far this could escalate.

Keep you head up and remember how your Mama raised you, don't sink to your neighbors level (this includes gossip with other neighbors).
(huggggs) GH

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 7:36PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

To all who may have been following this saga: Last week I read in the paper they have filed for divorce! This explains why he has not done anything more to the landscape around his fence. What's more, the building of a garage appears to have come to a halt before it began. Thank goodness. He was quite calculating in his reasons for building the fence as hindsight is 20/20. He has been moving things from the house and I don't know if she will eventually move or plans to stay. There just might be a light at the end of this tunnel afterall. Stay tuned.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 10:51AM
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Just saw your post, Susan---great news! From what you had said earlier, it definitely sounded (at least to me) like there was much more going on over there than met the eye. Fingers crossed that they BOTH leave as a result of the divorce, and sell the house to someone who is much more neighborly!! We're pulling for you!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 2:06PM
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judeth_ann(Z8 PNW)

SusanWIN you can cry with me. I just wrote about my neighbour whose dad lived on the other side of us a bulldozed our lot, claiming it was his. No pictures of the fruit trees or top soil so I couldn't sue. Now I have his son on the other side and is building around his old house right on our line and it will be four (4) stories high, he took our fence down and the grape & trellis down and had footings in to put a roof over the boat ramp that was going to be a patio to his house, he'd have been 14' over the line. My message was rejected and it wouldn't post. Anywhoooo, WE ARE paying a fantastic amount of taxes on a view out of our kitchen, dining room and side living room window, also, basement windows that is now gone. We looked over a bay and the town and town lights. We still have a fantastic view out of the front windows. We caught this fellow before he took two of our hugh fir trees down, he has lots of his own, and he was going to take some of our topped trees down between our house and the fence so HE could put a road from his boat ramp to the main road to take his boat out. He has 152' plus road allowance on the other side of his place. We were "good neighbour Sam" for many years. We came back from a holiday and found he had not asked to get water from a neighbour, he asked if he could prime his pump - sure -- for several years, we found out he was filling his hugh tank from our well when we went out, needless to say ALL my water taps outside are turned off in the house. Our Reginal District has NO rules and our Rep. lives two house on the other side of us and this young lad went over one day with a club (stick like a bat) to beat this elderly gentleman up, he'd done something to upset him. We had been warned when the young lad moved next door not to "tread on his toes" We are going to have a third baby next door and still having to HAUL water. SusanWIN, keep your chin up and make sure you have good House/Fire Insurance.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 12:56PM
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Susanwin, I would take a picture of all the plants in the pile, and take it to small claims court.
This man had no right to pull up these plants, as you stated they were on your land.Even if they were on his land he could have given you time to save them, some people are so mean as if they were raised with no morals. Sorry for the loss of your plants just the thought of how much labor and cost and waiting for them to grow, I would stick it to him.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 11:50PM
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Cheryl_IL(z5 NE-IL)

Judeth Ann, if I understand what you're saying, I'd call a lawyer. Different states have different laws, but just because your region has no specific rules doesn't mean state laws don't apply. I believe he broke the law by removing your fence and you might be entitled to damages. (and that's just for starters because it sounds like there's a lot more going on than just having your fence and trellis destroyed). things like, how long has your fence and trellis been where it was can bring up other issues.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 2:31PM
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Irma_StPete(z9 FL)

So, SusanWIN, how about an update on the August to November 2004 madness? I just read your thread for the first time... hoping your lake is back in view.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 6:54PM
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SusanWIN(z5 IN)

Well, Irma-St. Pete, there has been quite a lot going on since I last posted. Others who have been following this might be interested also. If not, just pass it over. Instead of this being his fourth marriage, I found out it is his fifth! This is her third marriage. Anyway, he has moved out and she is still living there, but we have resumed our friendship mainly because I offered her an olive branch, so to speak. The plan commission checked out the height of the fence and sent a letter to them stating they would have to apply for a varience to keep the fence there. This requires them to notify, by registered letter, all neighbors who are within 100 feet of their property. The wife told me that her soon to be ex gave the letter to her and told her to deal with it. She called the commission and chose not to apply for the varience. Instead, she called me and said she would like to take the fence down and asked, politely, if my husband could help her. I couldn't get him out of the house fast enough to go help her with this. She plans to move when the house sells and said she can use the fence in her new place. All that is left are four by four posts that are concreted in the ground. My hubby told her when Spring came around, he would take those out for her also. She has been very appreciative. NOW, here's a real kicker, he reported to the area plan commission, once he moved out, that MY fence, (the one he told us to put up so they wouldn't have to put one up between our properties, remember?) is over the allotted 3 foot. Of course, I know this is just for spite and his last hoorah. The wife didn't know he reported it. When I told her she was flabergasted and so apologetic. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my other neighbor that shares the property line has no problem whatsoever with it and we drew up, on paper, an agreement letter. I have applied for the variance, which cost $75.00, sent registered letters to neighbors to inform them of this, which cost $10.00, plus another $1.85 for stamps. All my ducks are in a row and I meet with the commissioners on April 11th to find out their decision for my varience. I was told by one of the courthouse employees that it more than likely will be allowed since the neighbor whose property abuts to mine is ok with it and he's the only one it really would make a difference to. Almost forgot, my hubby and I wrote out an offer to the wife of the jerk to buy 12 feet of property from them. This would take care of anyone in the future from doing the same thing once their house is sold and new owners move in. The drawback to this, is since their divorce is not final, the jerk would have to agree to it also. She hasn't replyed yet or said when they will decide if they will sell it to us. It's a substantial amount of money, but it all would be well worth it. That, in a nutshell, is the update on this crap.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 8:40AM
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Hope you get better neighbors!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 9:32PM
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