February 24, 2011

How Would You Handle It?

I have a little problem.

You may recall that the neighbors’ trampoline is right next to our shared fence.  Their kids are out there all the time.

One of their favorite games is to have one person on the ground throw a football “high” to the person on the trampoline, who then has to jump to catch the football.  This game was posing a problem, because the football often ended up in our flower bed.  It was irritating to see a football sitting in the middle of the rhubarb, or to see broken stems that I knew I hadn’t caused…but we didn’t say anything about it.

Not too long ago, the game changed.  One of the basketball hoops was dragged from their front driveway to the side of the trampoline, and now the game is to jump around and "dunk” the basketball through the hoop.  It actually looks pretty fun, and I was happy to see the basketball hoop placed in the way of the football-throwing path…but now we’re seeing basketballs in the flower bed.

Looks fun but...

A consequence of these games has been two “broken” solar light stakes so far and broken plant stems. I say “broken” solar lights because I was able to put one back together and the other one I just shoved the broken stake deeper into the ground.

I’m concerned that any new plants this year as well as the second-season plants will take more damage this summer as they get larger.  And I’m hesitant to put any other decorations or a drip system back there for fear they’ll get clobbered by a basketball/football or stepped on when the kids retrieve their balls.

We also don’t have a relationship with the parents because we never see them, and the kids seem to have a bit of a grudge now that we’ve asked them multiple times to stop jumping the fence (to use the gate instead.)

So……I’m a little apprehensive about how to deal with this.

My plan is to ask the parents if they could put up some kind of barrier to prevent the balls from coming over the fence as often.  Something like a net, or tall pieces of lattice or something, between the trampoline and the fence?

Does that sound reasonable?  I don’t want to rain on their parade or imply that they need to stop playing games like that…I just don’t want anything in our yard damaged by their games.  And I certainly don’t want the adults to feel we’re being unfair.

I could use some wisdom here from folks more experienced than me. 

What would you do?

9 comments:

  1. Asking for a fence sounds reasonable, good luck dealing with this situation.

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  2. Can't they just move the trampoline to another corner (so it's another neighbors issue:)

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  3. Barring any Neighborhood Association issues that may arise with adding any height to the fence, I don't think you'd be out of line to ask the neighbors to do something to keep the balls on their side of the fence. However, be prepared to offer to help pay for materials if necessary.

    Another option, without having to ask the neighbors would be to add chicken wire "roof" over the flower beds getting destroyed. Light, water and air would still get to the plants, but the balls would not. It wouldn't be pretty though (but then neither would additional height to the fence).

    Personally, I would just keep the balls when they land in your yard. Eventually they have to run out of them, and then, have the parents come see the damage being done in your yard when they come to retrieve them. Hopefully they are reasonable people and willing to actually "parent" their children and teach them to respect other people's property a little more.

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  4. Thanks for your suggestion Mall Rat! I wish they could move it, but it's set in a giant gravel sandbox thing, and I suspect it's anchored in concrete. They also have a batting cage in their backyard (can see a part of it in the picture) so there's not much room left for moving the tramp to another location.

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  5. Sara, I'd love to keep the balls. I'm not sure it would go over very well though =( They haven't been exactly friendly so far.

    As for the chicken wire, it's a possibility, and it would keep the balls out...but it would keep me out too.

    I'm thinking one of those net things people use to keep their little kids from falling off a trampoline would work great...

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  6. I'd keep anything that came into your yard. I'm a little bit mean sometimes too though. ;)

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  7. I would point out to the neighbors your concern about someone falling on or over the fence off of the trampoline. Looking at the pictures, that was my first thought. And that way you aren't just complaining about your flowers, but showing some concern for their children.

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  8. Going back to the chicken wire idea, build a cage-like structure around your garden with the open side high enough to provide you access, but slanting down so the fence side is low to the ground. Line the top of it with razor wire so they can't climb onto it to get their balls and tear up your 'cage'.

    So maybe that's a bit of overkill? :-)

    I feel your pain. Our neighbor's children seemed to consider our yard as theirs. At first it wasn't a big deal, but then we had broken bushes, flowers, saplings. Finally, when they and their friends were right up against our house outside our bedroom windows at night around 11pm, I said no more. We also had to say something about bouncing baseballs off our backyard fence thus damaging the fence. I'm sure we are now and forever known as the mean neighbors, and I'm sure they were really not 'bad' children overall, but really, someone needed to teach them about respect. They're grown and moved out now. Problem solved, for now.

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