Fellow Midwesterner here with neighbor problems, need to vent.

myaaagirls(z5 IN)February 4, 2003

Hi. Sorry to vent to you guys, but sometimes I feel like fellow gardeners are the only ones that "get it". Over the last three years since we moved into our house (we bulit it) we have had numerous problmes with the neighboring kids. I mean I have three daughters (ages 3 to 6)so I know that kids will be kids. Well, before our house was built the kids all used our property as a cut through to get to a common area behind our property. There is a common entrance on the other side of the common area, but no one seems to use it. Right after we moved in we started planting and putting in beds and having our lawn treated. This is our first home and we love seeing the progress from our work. In the beigning we asked the kids nicely not to walk across our yard and to please use the sidewalks. I have taught my girls that unless they are invited then they are not to walk into others yards, and besides that I do not allow my girls out unsupervised. I have been called all sorts of names to my face and behind my back for being so unreasonable that their kids cannot use my yard a s a cut across. I have been hated by one of my neighbors because her daughter came over and was playing with my daughters and started kicking mulch out of my beds and I asked her to stop, she told me no and I told her that if she was going to behave like that then I would have to send her home, she tols me to shut up and I sent her home, now her mom thinks that I am the devil. Things have increasingly gotten worse. I tell the kids not to come into the yard, I mean the walk right through the beds, not four feet from my front door, and then the retaliation begins. They have turned on my faucets and drowned up perennial beds, they have cut down a new hedge I put in to 5 inches. The straw that "has broken the camel's back" is this weekend I was coming home from grocery shopping and pulled in the drive to see that the kids had made a beeline from their driveway (right next door) right through my front flower bed and to the common area. It's completely obvious since we have snow. I called up to the to get their attention and asked them please not to cut throught the yard, flower beds, etc. and to use the sidewalk. Well, the ingnored me and went on doing what they were doing, sleding down a ramp that that made in to my other neighbors newly planted trees. Then Sunday I go outside to check the coldframe and I can see that they climbed my fence to get something and the climbed right back over it, right in the middle of a beds that I filed with new perennials last fall. This fence is an arched shadow box, so climbing it is not an easy feat. Plus, I have told them before that if they lose a ball or something in the backyard to ring the doorbell and we will be happy to get it for them. Well, this time I sent my husband over and had him say something. He talked to them in the living room with their step dad and he felt it wnt fine and he came back home. About ten minutes later their mom came and rang the door bell. She started yelling at my husband telling him to tell me not to yell at her kids. He tried to explain that nothing would be said to the kids if they would just stay out of the yard. She kept on and so I got up and told her that she needed to keep the kids out of the yard (this has been going on for three years!) and she called me a b****. Knee jerk reaction I say you're the b****. I knw not a good thing to do. Anyway she yells have I been taking my medication, huh? and that she will keep her kids out of yard, but I better never yell at them again. I have spent the last two days in bed so upset over this whole thing. Wehn does someone that is trying to make a nice home become the bad guy because others can't control their kids. Anyway, any advice on how to cope would be great. We can't move right now because we would take a big loss on the house becasue of the neighborhood being so new. We are going to try to sell in a couple of years, but how do I make it until then? Thanks for listening :(


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Clearly your neighbors regard your backyard as part of the
"common area." Is there some history or covenant on your
title that defines the common area? To me, this seems like
odd behavior. We have a grade school a block away, and
many children walk through the neighborhood. They rarely
cut across our lawn, and I have never seen them walk through
a flower bed or hedge.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2003 at 5:39PM
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myaaagirls(z5 IN)

Thanks for your response. Yes, there is a covenant and survey of the common area versus private property. We have even had our yard surveyed and then put the privacy fence up in the backyard. That has helped to keep the neighborhood boys from having fistfights and football games on our patio, but now they walk right through the front yard right by the house and through the beds. This is what we are fighting now. The ironic thing is that my husband is the president of the homeowners association, elected this year, and his hands are tied as to what we can do about this. It seems that we have to put up with it and do nothing. I am so frustrated, they call me "her heighness" everytime I walk by. I get along great with most of the neighbors, it's the two to my left that just won't let me live in peace. I mean I feel like I am in high school or something. :(


    Bookmark   February 4, 2003 at 7:15PM
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tadeusz5(z5 il)

Steph; For your peace of mind/health , maybe it's
time for a consultation with the local authorities
if the trasspassing is getting out-of hand. Looks like
a third party is needed to straighten your"supposed"neigbors
espacially the adults-


    Bookmark   February 4, 2003 at 7:24PM
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Bob_Zn5(Z5 WI)

Takes all kinds to make a world & you got "that" kind. Does your fence run entirely down the lot line to the sidewalk? Sounds like it should. The kids will find a new person to aggrevate after a while. Too bad you don't have a dog/ could fling poops over the fence if you did. If these folks are "that" way with everyone, they will have bigger problems than your yard in fairly short order. You just need to be patient & don't let it get too you. There's no law against stupidity & rudeness.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2003 at 9:54PM
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garden_mama(z5 OH)

If you had came to my parents house and said what you said when I was a kid, I would have gotten my butt smacked right there and then. Why do people not want to teach their children any respect? They must not have any for them selfs and I bet their children do not show them any either. Maybe its time for some stinging nettle in the flower beds, that would get them to stop cutting through it....

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 10:22AM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

Sounds like you need to fence in the front yard too. Or at least on the sides of your yard so they can't walk across it. I would fence the whole yard with a 6' solid wood fence. Not cheap, but effective.

Is there a hose nearby? The next time the kids walk across your yard, blast them with water from the hose. They are trespassing on your property, as well as damaging your flower beds, and you have every right to protect your property. The water will just make them wet, its not like they will melt or anything.

I would also talk to the police. This will just get worse, the older they get, unless you take some action now.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 10:37AM
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floresbellas(z5 MI)

There are motion-activated sprinklers you could try. I don't have any experience with them but it may be a good deterrent during the warmer months. Then again, such brazen kids might think of it as a challenge. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 10:56AM
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Lisa_MI(z5 MI)

I feel for you. Although not as bad, we have had similar problems with our neighbors' kids using our yard to play in, egging our garage, throwing basketballs at the side of our house, cutting through our yard to get to the land behind us which hadn't been developed yet.

A few ideas...
Get special locks designed to be placed on your water faucets. There's a motion activated sprinkler called the "Scarecrow" that's designed for keeping animals out of your yard - could be fun pointing it so the kids get soaked when they run through your yard. Get a few of them and create a "gauntlet" for them to have to get through. Get a dog and let him poop on the lawn for awhile - long enough for the kids to realize they'll have to watch their step and go slowly if they want to cut through your yard. This would work great in conjunction with the "scarecrow," while also fertilizing your lawn for the season. Plant prickly bushes along your fence. Place mouse traps in your beds. Does the association have a newsletter? Maybe a "politically correct" article about what is common area, what isn't, the responsibility to respect others' property, etc., could be placed in the newsletter - unsigned, of course.

I hope things go better for you. Let us know how you're doing.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 11:00AM
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It is time to call in a '3rd party'. Does your county have a Meditator? Call your local Legal Aid society or city attorney's office. You need to stay assertive. We've had problems w/neighbors in the past as well. It is so depressing. I feel your pain, but you need to stay together and fight this out. Why should you be denied the benefits of your home?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 12:14PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Oh, Steph I do feel sorry for you!

No offense to any of the other posters, but it sounds like this is not a problem that any "mechanical" fix (i.e. fences, sprinklers, etc.) will take care of. They have decided to make you miserable and that's that. I would second the previous suggestion to look into a mediator. Call your village or county, as appropriate, and find out what's available.

I've had nightmare neighbors down the road - the guy was operating a puppy factory and letting the dogs run wild. I can't prove it, but I suspect that he was also the one who was poaching deer on our property. Animal Control finally put an end to the puppy business, and the property is up for sale but it's a tough sell because the house was trashed.

Good luck, you've got all my best thoughts. Keep us posted on what's going on!

Peace, V.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 1:58PM
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myaaagirls(z5 IN)

Hi guys. I have some updated info on the problem. Yesterday when I came home from taking my girls shopping for their birthday they were all home and were outside of one of the other neighbors on the court and talking and pointing towards our house. I have no idea what they were talking about, but I just wish that they would leave me alone. Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. We are looking into several of them. Unfortunatly I can't add to my existing fence. Our covenants state that the fence can be no more than six feet and cannot go further on your property thant he front of your house. My entire front yard is open and they take full advantage. I have even had them climb the fence in the back walk across my yard and then climb it on the other side. The really bad thing about this is that they have access to the common area from the back of their yard, but choose to cut through mine instead. I really see no other alternative than to hold out until we can sell. It's just not easy, in their house they have the wife, the husband, the ex husband, the brother, and at times five kids, all living in a one story 1200 square foot house and they all seem to live off of making us miserable. Thanks guys for supporting me and letting me know that I can count on you to lend an ear.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 2:12PM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

If you can't put up a fence, could you plant a hedge of shrub roses, barberry or any of the other really thorny shrubs? That would stop them from walking through.

Those people sound like a bunch of trash. Your best bet is to move as soon as possible.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 4:19PM
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Michiganmissy2001(zone 6 SE Mich)

Steph, You have my complete and utter sympathy, really. I know what you are going through. My husband is so ready to move because of our neighbors. I just keep telling him we might end up with worse neighbors wherever we go and it is better to do what we can here. It really helps to put things in perspective if you read all the posts at the "bad neighbors" post that I started last year. I thought there couldn't possibly be worse neighbors than mine and some of the posts really had mine beat. I felt a lot better (although I still hope they will move.) The kids are not MUCH of a problem in the winter but the two dogs drive me crazy. Why do people have kids and dogs if they aren't going to keep an eye on them and raise them right?
Thanks for sharing your problem neighbors. It's good to know we aren't the only ones. Vent anytime

Here is a link that might be useful: Bad neighbors post

    Bookmark   February 6, 2003 at 9:00PM
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lora_in(z5 central IN)

Dear Steph,
I do feel for you! It's so miserable to not be able to walk out of your house without mischief and grief.
Sadly,if you are in Marion county it can be difficult to get anything done.Your best bet might be video taping the fence climbing and a very quick call to the sherriff.Just the police car pulling up has been known to give a jolt to parents.Make sure to post your property with no tresspassing signs.Not attractive,I admit,but nessecary if you want your complaint to have any teeth.Good luck to you.Our situation has gotten so bad that we are puting our house on the market this Spring.I have 7 years of gardens to lift and move and I feel sick just thinking about it.

Yours truely in south-east Marion county,Lora

    Bookmark   March 6, 2003 at 1:51PM
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weaserbug(z5 IA)

Steph, It's really too bad that some people can ruin things for the rest of us. I'm glad you came here to vent. You needed someplace to turn and we can try to be supportive. We can't fix your problems, but maybe we can help you deal from day to day.

I too think you should post no trespassing signs even though the kids may destroy them. I think you should get the authorities involved as well. At least this way you are putting things 'on record' for any future problems that may occur. This may sound silly and will require work on your part, but you might consider keeping a journal of their misguided behavior; a video diary is another option. Documentation could be helpful to you in case you ever end up in court with them.

My initial reaction was to say you should start tearing up their yard, but I know that's really not the right thing to do; that wouldn't help anything anyway.

You had every right to ask that child who was mouthing off to you to leave your property. Children need to learn respect and obviously that child has not learned that lesson. Playing in somebody else's yard is not a god given right, it should be a privilage.

In the meantime, hang in there and try not to get sucked into their negative interactions. If you're lucky they will be the ones who decide to move out of the neighborhood. ~Louise in Iowa

    Bookmark   March 7, 2003 at 3:27PM
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When I was young we had a family of very difficult unsupervised boys living down the street. My dad had recently planted a tree and one of the boys killed it. My dad walked down the street to talk the boys parent. The parent said he didn't do it. Of course everyone watched him do it and there was no doubt. The parent said it's just a tree, what difference does it make?

My dad, being the not so subtle person that he is, and very strong young man he was, walked over to a 6 ft. tree growing in their yard and pulled it out by the roots. He looked at the parent, handed him the tree and said, it's just a tree.

Every time I think about that I laugh until tears stream down my face. The visual image of my father ripping that tree out is just too funny. Needless to say that boy never came over to our house again :) Of course I'm not suggesting that an eye for an eye would work in this situation, but I hope you enjoyed a laugh.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 1:34AM
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gee i think i'd be tempted to PLANT poison ivy all along my fence- and perhaps a few rashy herbs in the flower beds, since the logical and correct things to do (talking to the kids/parents) havent worked maybe its time for some passive/aggressive manuvers?? Potted cactus in unsuspecting places?? Umm- didnt realize i left that pile of barb wire right on my side of the fence in my own back yard- i cant imagine how those kids got into it?? i would have to do this just to make it more bearable for myself- when the rumors of rashes appear in the neighborhood i would keep perfectly quiet about it- i am afraid any sign of retaliation you show- sprinklers, motion lights ect. will just be responded to w/ vandalism . Please dont think i normally advocate these tactics after all i have 3 growing boys myself(one of wich-the 6 year old- helped a neighbor kid pull up another neighbors garden just days befor harvest!!) I was appalled and went w/ the kids to repair as much damage as possible, the kids apoligized face to face(as well did i and the other parents)this is a whole different story but we are all still "good neighbors" and the boys will never forget lesson learned. Anyway-so sorry for your troubles, consider the back door approach as sometimes stooping to their leval is the only point they understand!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 10:54AM
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Julesagain(Z8 GA)

I don't guess there's a chance you can hop on your bikes every afternoon and ride through their yard on the way to something else? That might be your version of ripping out a tree in their yard (LOVE that story!).

We had a very similar problem in our yard. Before our houses were built, this area was the main cut-through between two large neighborhoods. When we first moved in, we kept the path and just directed kids who cut through to stick to the path (they would ride bikes right through the brand new grass, leaving tracks). As the kids got larger, the intrusions got more annoying - cigarette packs, beer bottles, and other trash, as well as little things moved, damaged or gone (including one of the cats once, I caught that one). Then we got a puppy.

We put up a wire fence (the kind with the 1x2 inch squares) with green metal push in posts. Every day we would find a new place where the fence had been bent over, even though we had left a pass-through between our fence and our neighbor's. Unfortunately, when the fence was bent over, the pup could get out, and being a beagle she would be gone for hours every time.

One night I woke up at 3am for a potty break. As I went back to bed (I will never know why but I think God did it) I looked out the window into our backyard, at the kid's treehouse. I saw a flicker that should not have been there. I kept looking and realized it was a fire! I woke up DH and we ran out and put out a small, but smouldering and spreading fire.

That was it. We posted signs, intercepted and re-directed anyone we caught, and made the fence larger and sturdier. We still kept finding bent down places where kids would go over. So we dragged all the dried up sticker branches from where we cleared out the line for the fence, and draped and twined and hedged them all over the most strategic and likely climb points. We also had the ability to go outside our yard and remove all traces of the path that we could, placing fallen trees and limbs in the old paths and making the whole area impenetrable. I don't know if this is an optio for you, but if so use the poison ivy option here, transplanting with care! Use very hot soapy water to get rid of all poison ivy oil, it lingers and that is how the rash keeps getting transmitted over and over, not the blisters. If you can plant blackberries back there, those have some nasty stickers. Every time we found something nasty, stickery or itchy we tossed it on the fence. It only took about a month for traffic to completely cease. Since a lot of this climbing over activity took place in the dark, I hate to think of the nasty surprises those kids found, but we had certainly bent over backwards to allow the path and it was abused. Don't feel bad, if you had allowed the kids to pass through they would have found some other way to be boorish brats, its obviously how they were raised.

Some ideas for nasty plants that hurt:
Spanish bayonet
climbing roses
holly bushes (also make a great screena and birdfood)
juniper ground cover (hard to kill and also hard to walk on)
I would not attempt poison ivy, tempting as it sounds, because the consequences are too far removed from the act. Unless its painful immediately, they won't get it. You can twine whatever you want on the inside of your fence, and the association can't say anything about it, since they can't see it. I don't know what the reaction might be if it was draped over the top edges and on the outside, but if you can get away with it, do what you can. Some of the plants listed can be nuisance plants, but at this point your situation sounds more frustrating than some runaway roses will ever be.

An electric line or barbed wire run along the inside top edge of your fence might not be a bad idea. Plantings can take the place of a fence in the front yard where a fence isn't allowed. Might I also suggest a dog, but only if you want a dog already. Don't (for the dog's sake) get one just to act as a guard dog. Make sure to post "Beware of dog" and "dangerous dog" signs to protect yourself, and ask a local lawyer about your liability if the little hoodlums climb your fence into your yard and get injured or bitten, some states are more reasonable than others in this area. In this scenario, building a history of harassment by these families is even more important.

I would also put some iron rebar or equivalent into the turf in the front yard, or embed some large rocks (too heavy to move, like an iceberg, with most submerged). People walking or riding bikes will be tripped up on a regular basis, until going around is easier than going through. You have to think in the same terms you do when burglar proofing your house - you can't make it completely burglar proof, but you can make it frustrating enough that they give up and go to the next one. Of course you will bark your own shins and ankles on the rebar! Just weed-whack around them to mow.

Also a couple of fake cameras and some signs saying "premises are under 24/7 surveillance" might keep some of them out. Motion lights will make it seem like the cameras are coming on, and those can be had (double-bulb floods with motion sensor) for about $25-30.
Best of luck, and I sympathize. Best thing of all you can do is lose the fearfulness and shame about the finger-pointing. They are the ones in the wrong here. Stand up for yourself, even if just in your own mind. "This is WRONG what they're doing. I deserve the use of my own yard." Then you might feel less intimidated.

If policing does not work or can't be called upon, you can always resort to the way we civlized people have to deal with this now that shooting them with buckshot is out of the question - sue them. Include city officials in the suit for not dealing with the problem, and you might see some action on it. Be sure to always be civil in your own dealings, esp. on phones and in writing. Assume that anything you do or say could show up in court one day. But I would definitely contact a lawyer if you get no help from the police. You sound frightened and that is not right.

May God bless and help you get through this:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 2:35AM
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kids WILL BE kids..just make a mulch path for them and get over it. Since you are the adult you should be the bigger person.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 10:03AM
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...and kids will be inconsiderate when their parents encourage that behavior. That doesn't make it acceptable, or necessitate one putting up with it, unless that's what you choose.

You might see if your community has a mediators program. It would help document your goodwill efforts to resolve the situation. And who knows--it might even help!

Good luck to you...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 10:44AM
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Sojourner(Z4 WI)

The destruction to your property is vandalism... call the authorities every time they do something to your yard. Find out if there is a trespassing law in your community. If so, contact the police every time they are on your property. And I like the prickly plant ideas... go for it.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2003 at 1:56AM
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DON'T post Beware of Dog signs! You are proving their accusations of having a dangerous animal even if the animal is not mean. In Iowa, that is what Animal Control and the police will tell you. Strange as it sounds, you are wrong if they get hurt. Yes, if the kids trespass, even if you have no trespassing signs and the beware of dog, you are only admitting that you have a bad animal. Even though they are trespassing, you will be found in the wrong. I found this out after being bit when I was a meter reader for the utility company I work for. Our company has taken this so far as to if there is a known bad dog, and we enter the yard anyway, we will be reprimanded for a "preventable accident"! I think the best thing is to go with reporting them to the authorities, take pics when you can to help them put an end to it. We live behind an elementary and also a junior high school. Know about the cutting thru thing. Actually, I caught one kid scaling our locked fence one night, and it got the better of me and I let my two labs out to "help" him over the fence. They would have never hurt him, but, he never did it again. Also be careful with anything that can actually hurt the kids, you may find more misery in be liable than what you are already going thru. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2003 at 7:53PM
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Hey guys, if there are as many people living in that house as you say... father, mother, ex-husband, brother, and kids. Or, whatever that list was. Well, most areas have an occupancy ordinance. You can call whoever runs the occupancy standards (I don't remember if it would be the police or who) and report that you believe there is an unreasonable number of people living in the house. In this case a one story house of 1200sq. feet it would almost definitely be a code violation. Most places also demand that each child of a certain age have their own bedroom, which goes to the occupancy issue. Sounds to me like you have a very problematic household living near you and they have decided that you're the one they are going to vent their general feelings of anger from their home life on. I don't see how that many people could live in that small of a space without having a constant level of anger and tension developing. Good luck.

P.S. I like the obnoxious plant idea, but I bet the kids would just get gloves and rip them out again. It's become a contest of wills between you and the kids, with the parents aiding and abetting bad behavior.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 3:31PM
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loniesmom(z5 (6?) NE OH)

Hey Steph;

I had a vaguely similar difficulty which "ended" (because it never ends, does it?) with the neighbor-mom in question ranting through my partially opened back door (good thing I had put the chain up!) when the police arrived to advise her that I had requested they arrest HER for trespassing she didn't even hear the THREE cars pull up because she was so hysterical. The door is about 25 feet from where the cars pulled up. . . . you tell me. Anyway, after they took 10 minutes convincing her it wasn't a joke she spent the afternoon sending her 4 kids in shifts on their battery operated jeep to drive doughnuts in my front yard as I was trying to mow it. Then I strategically located my van so as to prevent that and she called the police to report that I was blocking the sidewalk!! The cop tried so hard to take his job seriously until I mentioned how relieved I was to live in a city that apparently had no CRIME for him to be handling! Two years later and her kids still know darned well that I'm the lady whose yard you don't go in if you don't want the police to arrest you. Your stuff lands in my garden and it's gone. Yeah they say snotty untrue things both to me and behind me but Whatever! They're not bouncing their balls on or driving their cars over my shrubs, flowers and new trees anymore.

When I was growing up we and several of our adjacent neighbors had pools and our city required 8 foot solid security fences so whether the neighbors were friendly or not we lost our stuff if it went in the neighbors yard - WE LIVED. Simple lesson worth learning IMO.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 6:59PM
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loniesmom(z5 (6?) NE OH)

Be sure, as mentioned above, to call the police each and every time your yard is damaged. "Turf damage" counts as vandalism as well as all the other messes they've made. I don't know if I'd tailor parts of the garden with the intention to harm (or at least annoy) but I echo the suggestion that you find a way to videotape or at least photograph EVERY SINGLE TIME, then even if the local police do stop driving out every time you will have concrete evidence to wave under the nose of a judge WHEN these punks escalate the situation. I'd dig in my heels and determine not to be afraid to show that whole family that bad behavior has negative consequences. Too many people nowadays seem to think that it's only wrong if they get caught, and then most likely they won't be punished anyway. Stop letting them steal your yard-joy from you figuratively as well as literally.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 7:23PM
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I like the prickly plant ideas too.How about a row of wild roses that are very thorny, followed by a row of low growing barberry so they can't cut through without getting stuck by either.
I do have some poison ivy that keeps coming back.I could send you some when I send your other plants.
I like the idea of spraying them with the hose.
In the end I think the authorities need to be called each and every time there is a problem.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2003 at 8:03PM
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brdldystlu(5b Mo)

Ok I just have to chime in here with my stupid neighbor story. the property line on that side runs down most of my driveway. She has decided that it is her job to take care of it by using her edger then coming back with the weed eater and throwing her grass all over my driveway. This is the 3rd summer with this issue and I have tried to be nice about it the last two. Well when I tried to talk to her about it before the next thing I knew she was trying to contact lawers and was going to sue me. So this year I called the police. She came back she was afraid of me pressing tresspassing charges against here. The officer told her then he guessed I need to press destruction of priviate property. I do not want her crap all over my driveway. Well this weekend she edged the front of her yard and washed it all down right in front of my driveway. The next day after the police paid her a call my chain link fence on that side had been un-braided to where I had a nice hole in it. So this week my plans are to line that side of my fence with 1 by 1/2 hardware cloth, which this is some old stuff that looks horrable. The latest thing I have heard through the grap vine is they have been contacting the local fire department because I burn daily. Ok we are in an unincorporated area, as long as the fire is contained I can burn 24/7 if I want to. Once I heard that one I have made sure I have a nice smoky fire going all day long. I have installed a couple camera's and the neighbor on the other side of the stupid one has a couple camera's going also. We have made them to where they can be seen and we talk about them all the time. The neighbor on the other side of the stupid one is making plans to build herself a cinderblock fire pit also and we will just smoke them out. We are hoping they loose the house, we have no clue as to what they do for money as they don't work. Husband has a job as a fireman for a differnet county, however he has not worked in at least 6 months because he had something done to his heart, a stint put in or something like that. Now he says he can't work because he is dizzy. However he can go fishing all day with his firemen buddies, he mows grass and who knows what else. She is trying to get disablity because she is to depressed with life to work. However she will spend 10 hours a day working in her yard. She does most of the mowing and all of the garden work. Oh and spends time bad mouthing everyone and doing stuff to our yards. They are funny, the lawn company they hired out told her the yard was to wet it was dying with mold because she waters it to much to stop. She waters it daily.
Sorry I got on a roll, they are just stupid over there. I won't be the one moving, have 16 years invested in fruit trees, and my gardens.
I am glad there was a place to vent like this.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 12:01AM
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sheri(St. Louis/zn 6)

Hi Steph!
I was just scanning through posts and just noticed who this was from! I'm so sorry to hear about your situation! Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary, the place we go after the work, grocery shopping, traffic, etc. How sad that you have this to deal with at home.

I don't have great advice for you. I can't say that I've ever experienced much of a neighbor problem, and right now I have pretty great neighbors. The worst I can complain about is the neighbor to the right who is afraid everyone is out to sue them, so no one is allowed anywhere on or near their property.

I don't think you want to start the one-upmanship games. The problem with that is good people will never stoop to the level of bad/stupid people, so the good people will always lose. At minimum, don't worry about the finger-pointing or other gossip. Some of it may even be imagined.

I like the idea of involving the authorities, as well as documenting everything you can with photos or video. This is strictly to protect yourself. At some point, without actually knocking on the door, let your neighbors know in no uncertain terms, yet as briefly as possible, that you don't want them or their children in your yard. To that end, you are documenting/videoing everything, and that when it comes time to take them to court, that you will be sueing them to pay for ALL of the damage they have done via the documentation, down to the last 35-cent marigold! You can even offer to give them periodic running totals.

Get some old, broken video cameras and mount them in conspicuous places, so they can see evidence of how serious you are.

And lastly, remember that kids will be kids, and the real fault here lies with the parents. If they have that messed up a home-life, it's not reasonable to expect that they would do better. It's not personal. If it wasn't you living there, they would be doing it to someone else.

Meanwhile, you have my condolences!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2003 at 11:27PM
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Also remember that kids grow up pretty quickly. In a year or so, they will be "too cool" to be pulling that kind of crap....or off in jail somewhere ;-)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 2:56AM
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anorton(Z6 NC)


Sorry to hear about the trouble with your neighbors. One question though: In your second post, you mentioned "The ironic thing is that my husband is the president of the homeowners association, elected this year, and his hands are tied as to what we can do about this. It seems that we have to put up with it and do nothing. I am so frustrated, they call me "her heighness" everytime I walk by." Did your husband run against someone in your neighbors family or one of their friends? If so, this may be the root of your problem. Also, it could be something between the kids. Maybe your children just donÂt want to tell you. If nothing like this happened, then you have to rack your brain and think what, in the past, would the "neighbors" have found something you did as offensive. Some things happened to piss them of and until thatÂs solved the situation will only worsen.

I know that somewhere deep down you think "what did I do" or "what can I do to make it better."

ItÂs not you itÂs them.

Every time something happens, you have to repeat that to yourself.

You have to make a couple of decisions:

1. How important is your sanity?
a. Eventually, you will find yourself waking up at night because you thought that you heard something. This paranoia will grow if you donÂt come to terms with it asap.
2. How far are you willing to go?
a. Conservative
i. Do the annoying plant thing, shrubs etc.
ii. DonÂt do the dog thing, they will provoke it until it bites them and then you could be sued, no matter how minor it was.
iii. Kill Âem with niceness. If it was the whole ÂPresident election thing, making them apart of the Âdecision making. Bite your lower lip and start going over and asking the parents opinions on how to make the neighborhood nicer. Keep it up and you could actually make some great friends.
If that doesnÂt work you may have no other option but to Âfight fire w/ fire. And this means to me that you canÂt back down until they do. Read Sun TzuÂs "The Art of War", great book. It could give you some ideas on how to adapt his war strategies to your own.
i. Contact a lawyer about the situation. Explain the situation and get his opinion. If itÂs causing problems, ie, b/t you and your husband or stress on the kids, etc. Put the house on the market and sue the neighbors, due to mental stress, for the difference b/t what you sale it for and what you think it should sale for.
c. Last Resort
i. Call Social Services. If there is smoking and drinking behind your house the police and Social Services should be contacted.

If you want anymore ideas, if you liked these, just email me. In the world of "fight or flight", I have always been the one to avoid confrontational situations. I had to learn that you canÂt be timid all your life, hoping that your kindness will win over people. Sometimes you have to fight. If you fight, be fair, but donÂt loathe the fight, thinking that you are a bad person. You have to think that you are teaching someone else to be a good person, even if that means teaching them a lesson in life. Also, if you do Âbreak them, be there for them when itÂs over. Human compassion is easy for some, but itÂs also easy to loose. Think of Star Wars. You have to understand the darkside to defend yourself from it, just donÂt cross over to the dark side, when you do move you maybe the next "neighbor from hell."

Hope this helped.

God be with you.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 7:29PM
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iowa_jade(C 5b H 6)

I am a Bad Boy! The neighbourhood hates my guts!

There is a "Junk Yard Dog" type that lives 3-4 houses down the street. We have a deep valley that the sound banks off of quite satisfactorily.

The dog & I have long conversations. Often, I like to let the dog bark itself out. Then in the quiet stillness I "Bark" once softly. That will set the dog off for another 1/2 hr all by itself until the owner either brings the dog in or yells: Shut the ---- up!"

As soon as he slams the door, we start up again. I am surprised neither I nor the dog have been shot --- yet.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2004 at 1:06PM
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Well, I have a neighbor who is both vengeful and spiteful. He cut his grass about 3 times this whole season. The last time, it was such a mess that he had to go over it every day for 3 days just to get it manageable. This is a person who's always around during the day and doesn't go away on vacation. He's a college educated engineer as well. Just proves my point, the higher you go up the ladder, the more educated the class of jerks can become.

Now in a spite move, he's collected these clumps of grass and is dumping them right on the border of our properties, and it does stink. He also has a patch of weeds at street level to the right side of his driveway that's grown to over 3 feet tall. He's also taken to dumping a load of collected, decomposing clippings there as well. At one point he decorated the weed patch with a yellow ribbon and tinsel. He is definitely a community blight. The HOA is weak and the county has no ordinances that would combat this situation. The only mention in the CCR's is about conducting any offensive activity that the commmunity would consider a nuisance...this might be the only hope, slim, though. Also has an un-inspected, wrecked car on his lot that is a CCR violation.

He also blows most of his grass into the street and leaves it there. He will then wait until I am out cleaning uping the remanants of what has drifted into my driveway, gets into his car, flies down past my property, creates an updraft and pulls more grass and leaves into the area that I just worked on. He's jealous and spiteful and we are not on speaking terms. This guy was once president of the HOA, believe it or not. How can someone not take any pride in ownership? During one storm that brought down branches and leaves, while everyone was out cleaning up, this guy collected his debris and through it over the fence into my woods. Police said, you need to get it on tape, just your word against his, although another neighbor witnessed the event. He even tore off my no trespassing signs and threw them onto my property, and you guessed it, I wasn't around to witness it either.

In addition, to keep him from trespassing, we did install a post and rail border fence inset from our property line. He insists on compiling a mound of branches, yard waste, weeds, etc. along the fence, some of it actually protruding through. This mess is what I see evertime I leave my house. I forgot to mention that some of the branches that he has on the border of my fence are arranged in teepee fashion, upright so that I can have the benefit of this horrible mess over the top of the fence.

Don't get me wrong, I take great pride in my property, and it's not perfect, but I don't try to create problems for the next guy.

Thanks for the vent session!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 10:47AM
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myaaagirls(z5 IN)

Well guys I have an update to my story! Finally the neighbors are gone! They seemed to care about as much for paying their house payments as they did being decent neighbors. The house was foreclosed upon and they moved out two weekends ago. Things have been quiet and enjoyable for the first time in a very long time. I will be happy to mow the grass there until new owners are found. I can go outside now and not hear all the name calling, etc. I am free! Just wanted to update you all!


    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 4:14PM
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    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 6:25PM
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hengal(z5 / IN)

Oh Steph I am soooooo happy for you! I just got done reading this entire post and was sitting here thanking the Lord for the 3 acres we have in the country and the one and only neighbor that we have that is just as good as gold.
I'm thrilled for you - your stress level must have just plummeted when they moved out! Now go out and enjoy your property like you should!!! :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2004 at 1:57PM
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Aaron__IN(Z5 indiana)

what is it with all these red neck indiana people I swear I lived fifeteen minutes away from where i do now I grew up there it was an upscale neighbor hood. now i live in a middle class neighborhood. my neighbors have people living with them and they kep driving and parking on the property line and half there car would be on my grass and in my driveway. I was pissed as this went on all summer long. they where doing home improvments this summer. the guys would park infront of our mail box untill the neighbor across the road told them they needed to move so they parked in his driveway smoth. then they parked BEHIND MY CAR. boy I was pissed. so I called code enforcement on them cause they had a car sitting in the driveway in the middel of it at that. the car did not run for over a year and the women there did not drive. her DH died last year she is nice but her guest are the rudest people i know. well I put in 20 bag of top soil and put down 40$ worth of seed and fertilizer. and a few weeks later they drove through there again to park there car up in there yard I was pissed. ok this time I was done playing around I went out back got a few evergreen dwarf alberto spruces and planted them I got a few two foot long metal stakes and put them deep in the ground incase they felt like running over my bushes and sent an emial to the police ill see if i can scopy what they sent me.
Thank you for contacting the Muncie Police Department. If someone is driving through your yard, that is against the law. Number one, the driver is leaving the roadway which is a traffic violation. Number two, if there is damage, then the driver has committed criminal mischief. Even the vehicle leaving tire tracks is damage.

Here are a couple of things you can do. Request a police report by calling the Muncie Police Department at 747-4838. If you witness this act, call the police department right away. Try and get a description of the vehicle and if possible the license plate number.

You can also call the patrol supervisor at 747-4755. Just let him know what time you think this is occurring. The supervisor can then let the patrol officers know of this situation.

If you have any other questions please let us know.


There is someone driving through my yard once a month or so in a car. Is this against the law and if so what can i do to keep these people from driving in my yard. I have spent hundreds of dollars on grass seed and dirt in this one area and its really making me mad. I planted some trees where they drive through to hopefully it wont happen again please email me back as to what i should do about this the next time it happens. there really is no damage but it just upset me that someone would drive through there. AJ

I have not replied to the police yet cause i do like the woment that lives there. but if they drive through there again i know what im going to do!!!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 5:57PM
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Kirbys_Mama(z5 Northern IL)

My mother always said "Don't complain about the neighbors, the replacements could be worse". I don't these could get much worse.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 11:19AM
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I have an update to my story as well.
This guy had an old wrecked car in his driveway for over 4 months. This was a violation of the HOA covenants. He was forced to move it and due to our acrimonious relationship, of course he blamed this on me.
To retalliate against me, he hung a tailpipe and muffler with old dead planters and pots hung from that on a tree facing our border.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 7:17AM
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How about invisible fencing for the front, unprotected area and a BIG mean looking dog??? We've gone through months of neighbor troubles here and the best, and first thing you need to do (per our attorney) is to post your property with NO Tresspassing signs. No, it doesn't look friendly, but you have to have them (as if private property weren't private, but it's the new legal system).
Then, we purchased these "dummy" security cameras and mounted them with motion sensing lights on the side of our property with the neighbor from He--. Guess what, the crap came to an abrupt end!!!! You can get the dummy camera for about $20....well worth the investment!!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 3:46AM
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mscratch(z6 S.E. Mo.)

The first thing you must do is post No Trespassing signs.. this is according to our local law enforcement. That is your first step of telling people to stay out. okay, so little kids can't read BUT there parents can. We never ever had to post signs until 2 years ago.. When we called sheriffs dept. the first thing they asked was, "have you posted no trespassing signs?"

    Bookmark   October 22, 2004 at 9:08AM
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When I go to sisters to visit she tell me that sometime her neighbor harasses her for no reason at all. She is just a small 4'11'' Filipino. This neighbor..He left a note on my car with a bunch of tape stating that I am blocking traffic to their driveway....For one...I am nowheres parked near his property. Two..I am not illegally parked....Three...There is more than enough room for any car or truck to drive through...There is about 2.5 to 3.0 feet clearance on each side of any vehicle that passes through....I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME FIGURE OUT WHAT I'M DOING WRONG....sister tell me that if he bother us again to call the police....I personally think his behavior is grossly inappropriate and uncalled for. I fear for the safety of my car and mostly for my family if their is a repercusssion....I really think this man is crazy....So I put a big poster in my car window saying....

PLEASE....Do Not Touch My Car !!! Go Look For Trouble Elsewhere....We Are Not Bothering You....and Stop Harassing My Family...

If I could post a video of this on youtube....I would.....Then you would have a better understanding of the picture....

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 5:10AM
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When I go to sisters to visit she tell me that sometime her neighbor harasses her for no reason at all. She is just a small 4'11'' Filipino. This neighbor..He left a note on my car with a bunch of tape stating that I am blocking traffic to their driveway....For one...I am nowheres parked near his property. Two..I am not illegally parked....Three...There is more than enough room for any car or truck to drive through...There is about 2.5 to 3.0 feet clearance on each side of any vehicle that passes through....I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME FIGURE OUT WHAT I'M DOING WRONG....sister tell me that if he bother us again to call the police....I personally think his behavior is grossly inappropriate and uncalled for. I fear for the safety of my car and mostly for my family if their is a repercusssion....I really think this man is crazy....So I put a big poster in my car window saying....

PLEASE....Do Not Touch My Car !!! Go Look For Trouble Elsewhere....We Are Not Bothering You....and Stop Harassing My Family...

If I could post a video of this on youtube....I would.....Then you would have a better understanding of the picture....

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 5:18AM
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