Is it important to mind your p’s and q’s when you are landscaping or grooming your property? You bet, as there is nothing worse than starting a neighborhood feud. You need to create your landscape your way, but a little etiquette will make the final product much more pleasant. Good neighbors can be hard to come by, so don’t destroy a long term relationship because of a short term project. Following are landscape etiquette tips that will keep you in your neighbor’s good graces when landscaping your yard.

  1. Don’t grade your yard in a way that pushes your surface water on to your neighbor’s property. Control your runoff on site. It might require the creation of a dry creek bed or a rain garden, but these can become attractive landscape features as well as being functional.
  2. Don’t pile all your junk and equipment at the edge of your property so that you don’t have to look at it but yet is in your neighbor’s line of vision. Do you think your neighbor likes it any better than you? Screen it with plants or privacy fencing.
  3. Don’t create a noise problem with dogs, kids or loud parties. If you need to, mitigate the noise as best as possible with the use of a privacy fence and a dense landscape barrier. Find other ways to minimize your onsite noise, and by all means invite your neighbors when you have an outdoor party. That is a great way to minimize friction.
  4. Don’t install strong lighting that is intrusive. Your neighbors won’t appreciate a flood light beaming in their bedroom window. Be sensitive to their privacy. Many individuals are star gazers and enjoy looking up at the night skies, so be cautious with the use of landscape lighting. Consider installing low voltage path or accent lights that are hooded and cast light downward. They are more than adequate for safety and much more attractive than flood lights.
  5. Don’t spray herbicides or other chemicals during windy conditions. Have you ever had plants mysteriously die and then recall that a someone had been spraying weeds in the area earlier that day? Chemicals don’t know where the property lines are.
  6. Don’t intrude into your neighbor’s yard. If your contractor needs to enter your property from your neighbor’s, make sure you have permission and give assurances that at the end of your project the property will be just like you found it. Also, know where your property line is. If you are at all in doubt have a survey completed.
  7. Don’t allow your contractor and employees to smoke onsite while doing your project. Tobacco mosaic is a virus that is generally transmitted from the hands and tools of smokers and chewers. This can dramatically affect annuals, vegetable plants and some perennials. It’s not worth it.
  8. Don’t allow contractors to begin work too early in the morning unless your neighbors are early risers. There is nothing worse than waking at six in the morning to the vibrations of a bobcat or a load of boulders rolling out of the box of a dump truck.
  9. Don’t use invasive plants if they can rapidly move to neighboring properties. Only use them if they are contained in planters or by solid barriers.

In the rush to get going on a landscape project, people tend to forget their manners. Don’t let the thought of a beautiful landscape cloud your thinking. A few simple preparations ahead of time and remembering your manners will make sure that you don’t start a neighbor feud.