May 25, 2015

Do High Fences Make Good Neighbors?

My husband is redoing our back fence...a "good neighbor" fence of sorts is being created. We are the neighbors and the fence is good for us.

See, our backdoor neighbor is a naturalist...or something like that. He mows his yard once a year whether it needs it or not. He has the remnants of an above ground pool in the middle of his yard topped with dead branches and covered with a tarp. His son is a teen and the toys from his childhood sit strewn about the yard and his maple tree seeds itself down willy nilly. A hose that I have never seen used lays by a broken barbeque and his deck cover is going to collapse any day now.

I have to admit that he was living there when we bought this house. I just didn't see that it would bother me because there was a nice fence and I thought I could cover the lattice board we could see through at the top with planters. But, as it turned out, it was not possible to buy enough planters to conceal what was going on over there. And the neighbor does not want us to fix the fence when it falls apart!

I tried everything to overcome the look of the place. I called is our very own wetland. I tried to feel grateful because he never came in the back yard, did not have a barking dog or a screaming wife. After almost 4 years, the fence came apart for the second time. The first time it disassembled itself my husband cut down the saplings under the fence and reassembled the section that was broken. The neighbor put up a "no trespassing" sign and turned the spotlight on the back of his house so it shone in our bedroom window. It turned out he noticed when my husband cut down the sapplings under the fence. Now we have resigned ourselves to a solid wood, very high fence.

We did not approach him about helping to pay for the new fence because, well, it seemed useless. I began calling him "What a guy!" because he propped up one board to fill the new hole.

Our back deck. We spend endless hours outside in
the summer
The fence that is being restored. The lattice let us see too much
and the bottom part is coming apart.
Now my husband is fixing the fence. Oh my goodness...it is as though we have been let out of prison. Our yard is looking so much better and we can go on with our life.

We learned that if you fix the fence, you cannot go on the neighbor's property. We do that sort of thing because we only want to help. You cannot choose your neighbors. We also have learned that privacy is more important that we ever realized.

Do high fences make good neighbors? I do not know. We will let you know.

b+


17 comments:

  1. Privacy calms the beating heart. Blocking out another's choices can make yours feel even better. I say fences make great neighbors. The higher the better.

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    1. Ours is almost completed and I already feel better! I cannot control my neighbors but I can choose to avoid looking at their choices.

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  2. Yes! In Texas we all had eight foot privacy fences. Here not so much but in the spring and summer lots of greenery between us and good neighbors.

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  3. Yes! In Texas we all had eight foot privacy fences. Here not so much but in the spring and summer lots of greenery between us and good neighbors.

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  4. They do, they really do. For years I would look out over my yard and see the lake and my neighbors yards looking like parkland. Then the neighbors started getting old and "The Neighbor" (not what we call him in private) started buying them and "fixing" them. Worse, he moved into one and filled what used to look like park with a garage that blocks my view of the lake and multiple leisure vehicles. We put up a fence and I can't believe how much better it made my yard look.

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    1. I imagine it removes a lot of stress too. I learned a long time ago to never count on the "view" unless I owned the land. So sad!

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  5. Anything that foils your neighbor's view of you is a good neighbor fence. I also opine that the socially correct response to a neighbor fixing a spotlight onto your bedroom window is a slingshot.

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    1. George, You are my kind of guy...especially if you own a slingshot that I can borrow. He did turn off the light at my husband' s request. We just gave up! We love our fence a lot! I now call him "whataguy!" :)

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  6. The backyard is an extension of ones living room. A high fence is the interior wall equivalent. Yours is beautiful! I have to second the sentiment of Geo regarding that light!
    When I was growing up our neighbor used his backyard as a junkyard, my mother came to refer to his choice by his last name, as if anyone who would choose to do so were afflicted with Deward's Syndrome. To this day when I see a yard that is uncared for I hear my mothers voice saying, "how very Dewardish." Sounds to me as if "what a guy" is in the same camp!

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    1. I love that. I am adopting the "whataguy syndrome" to my vocabulary!

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  7. We have recently moved into a community where there are very few fences with the trend being towards embracing the view of the lake and mountains and ignoring your neighbours or engaging. It is a 50+ neighbourhood and thankfully everyone seems to adhere to similar "rules." However, I find myself planting more trellis's and vines and angling planters since we had a new patio installed that is more exposed. Still, the transition from enclosed city living to exposed small town living is ongoing. Just not sure if our "partnership" can endure another project this summer. Maybe next year we can add another trellis......hmmmm.

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    1. Well I will tell you, the fence tried my husband's patience. I promised not to discuss anymore project but it just kept coming up in the conversation. :\

      Privacy seems to be more important than I ever dreamed and we plant shrubs and position outdoor furniture so we don't "see" everyone. It works for us.

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  8. I had our next door neighbor in Colorado actually had to put 12 foot 2x4's to keep his fence from falling down after the home owner in back of him over loaded rock along the fence line. This happened 4 years ago and they still have not come to terms! I hate to say it but living now in a community where the HOA takes care of the exterior has some real appeal.

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    1. I agree totally. Actually we do live in a neighborhood with HOA protection. However, this "whataguy" is the neighbor to the neighborhood. sigh1

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  9. Gosh, I live on ten acres in total privacy and often think that it gets lonely with no neighbors to talk to. Then I read these stories and learn to appreciate my husband's conversation all over again. The wildlife make good neighbors...if only they would stop eating the flowers! That still has to be better than the spotlight, however! I will regroup and learn to be more appreciative!

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    1. Yes, yours is a good lesson in "be careful what you wish for". However, we do love where we live and the fence was not a big fix. We are happy!

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