Next door neighbor/friend has ugly lawn

chicagoerinMay 10, 2009

Hi, so what would you do? I live in an upscale neighborhood and my next door neighbor, who has become a friend, doesn't believe in treating their lawn and it is 80% weeds. Not kidding. She has made several comments that they are worried they are hurting the sale of my house or that the home owner's association will come after them, but they still haven't done anything. Up to this point, I have not said anything but it is really starting to bug me. I wouldn't want to buy next to the ugliest lawn in the neighborhood...What would you do???

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Does she keep it mowed short and edged? That makes a huge difference. Since she has brought it up several times you could ask if she could keep it mowed and edged if she doesn't already. You could even offer to edge it for her if she won't do it.

If the reason she doesn't kill weeds is that she is just too busy or lazy then you could also offer to put some weed killer on her lawn, too.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 11:59PM
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Perhaps a call to your HOA will help take care of this problem for you. In ours, when a house is built, they have 6 months to establish a LAWN....might be worth a try.
But having said that, we have the same problem with our neighbor....they seeded a front yard, but the side and back is nothing but weeds and it is a stuggle trying to keep them out of our lawn....I did mention it to the Pres. of our HOA, but so far, nothing has been done to correct the it depends on how strong your rules are enforced. Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:48AM
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Can you clarify the reason she "doesn't believe in treating their lawn"?

If it is for environmental reasons: most people on the GW Organic Lawn forum do not use chemicals on their lawns, and know organic ways to control weeds (corn gluten meal, vinegar, using a weed hound, encouraging healthy grass to crowd out weeds)

If it is for water conservation, there are other options besides grass, which require little or no watering.

If it is for financial, physical or time management reasons, maybe you could help out temporarily (or persuade the HOA to provide some assistance?)

I don't know that any of these options will be useful in the short term, as it takes time to establish a decent lawn, but perhaps potential buyers would be reassured that there is a plan in place.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:27AM
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I don't believe in chemically treating or fertilizing either so I can relate to the neighbor. However I moved out of a manicured turf grass neighborhood into one with woods, native plants, prairie restorations, etc. so no longer offending those who prefer the manicured look. In my experience if you water at least a bit you'll have something green and if you mow it regularly it doesn't look that bad. It's when the weeds sprout up that even I think it looks unsightly. I would try to strike some kind of deal with the neighbor without passing judgement on her choice not to weed and feed. Tell her you understand she's free to choose what she prefers but you want to find some way not to impact the sale of your home since buyers might be influenced by the imperfections of her property. If she's not environmentally opposed maybe she'd let you come over and spray some weed b gone.....

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:08PM
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They don't believe in chemically treating due to fears about the chemicals, which I am empathetic to..I don't like to use them with my dogs, either, but when you choose to live in a neighborhood like mine, you are obligated (and I think the HOA does have rules around it) to keep your yard looking nice. If you can't find a way to control weeds, then you don't belong in a neighborhood..move to the country :) I said something to her and she was apologetic and said she would work on digging them up..Good luck, there are thousands :(

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 2:30PM
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I don't use weed killer. I buy organic fertilizer, and mow at my highest setting. Sure, I have some weeds, but you really have to get out there and hunt for them.

I find that most people with weeds mow their grass too short. (This if for northern grasses like KY Bluegrass and Fescue.) The guy across the street from me mows his down to about an inch. He has a lot of weeds and the grass is very patchy.

Anyway, I would sneak over when they are at work, or out for the weekend and spray some weed-be-gone (hose end sprayer). But nothing bothers me that much.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 2:56PM
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& what do you think the legal consequences might be for spraying poison on the property of another person who has already voiced his/her opposition to poison?

Violating another homeowner's property rights is not the way to get your home sold.

If this were my situation, I think I'd tell her I'd be most grateful if she would mow the yard more often, at least until my house had sold & closed.

maybe even offer to buy the gasoline or help her edge.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 4:18PM
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Sylviatexis, it would be wrong to spray her yard if the reason she doesn't is because she doesn't want to use chemicals on it. But if she is just very busy or lazy about it then asking if you could spray when you do yours is okay. Of course you should ask first.

We spray the front yard of our next door neighbor's yard. We also trim her shrubs. She knows and is okay with it.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 4:39PM
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"Anyway, I would sneak over when they are at work, or out for the weekend and spray some weed-be-gone (hose end sprayer)."

This is the comment to which I was responding.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 11:44AM
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I swear, there's one in every neighborhood. Last house we sold there was a perpetual yard sale going on across the street. When it rained they covered their tables up with when on and on and on :(

We never said anything, and finally sold our house in the winter after their sale shut down. I guess I probably wouldn't say anything about your situation either. It's just not in me to do so.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 6:50PM
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If the weeds are killed/removed, then what's left? Dirt? Will the neighbor re-sod or re-seed immediately? Just a scenario that I am currently faced with and don't yet have an answer for ... but, sometimes a situation CAN get worse!

As others have said, keeping weeds mowed can make the lawn look okay - and at least it will be green.

Good luck with the situation.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 1:32PM
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"If you can't find a way to control weeds, then you don't belong in a neighborhood..move to the country"

Not all neighborhoods in subdivisions require a monoculture of grass. Many just require that it be mowed and trimmed regularly. This is the case where I live, and I appreciate that.

Negatives associated with creating and maintaining a grass monoculture include chemical runoff into streams (via streets & storm drains) during heavy rain events, increased water usage, decreased biological diversity above and below ground, and decreased food (pollen, worms, seeds) for wildlife.

If one of my neighbors was trying to sell his or her home, then I would try to keep it mowed more often in the spring and maybe recommend waiting to sell it until after the dandelion and clover season was over. Since we all have lived here a long time, they should already know that tip.

The issue of a healthy lawn (and planet) is not so simple as the television commercials would have you believe.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 3:20PM
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If it's neatly mown, there's nothing you can (or should) do. One man's weed is another man's wildflower.

Personally, I live in an upscale neighborhood of organic gardeners. Most of us would be horrified if an anti-"weed" person moved in next door and started spraying poison on their lawn.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 8:46PM
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This is really quite easy to deal with... get out, and read the covenant restrictions. If it says that the lawn is to maintained in a certain way and it is not, then turn them into the enforcement part of the HOA. If it does not address this issue, then you are stuck.
Every homeowner had the chance to read the restrictions before purchasing the property, so there is no excuse that they have if they are breaking the rules.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 8:55AM
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