How to address neighbors' gardens / yards creeping into our property?

by Kim
We own 4 acres of property: a 2 acre lot where our house resides and an adjacent 2 grassy acre lot. Both lots are mowed regularly (1 to 2 x week). Our house lot grass is treated with organic materials by a lawn service to keep it looking nice. Our grassy lot is not treated but the grass is hardy, there are a few trees scattered about; overall it looks like a small park. We enjoy it. It has small area habitats for animals and birds. Deer will sometimes graze there if we put in a vegetable garden.
When a development of 1/3 to 1/2 acre lots went in behind our properties, we asked the new neighbors to respect our property lines and not to trespass. (One neighbor was using our large property to hit golf balls not having understood he was standing in our yard.) We were particularly concern with the planting of trees and bushes.
Fast forward 8+ years. The neighbors' gardens have crept onto our property (mulch, etc.) and they regularly mow a yard or more of our grass.

A couple of days ago, one of the neighbors called me over to speak with him. He said "everyone thinks you're jerks" berating me for grass clippings from our lot blowing through his fence, under his bushes and onto his mulch (cussing added for emphasis). Apparently, grass clippings are his biggest gripe. Note that we do not belong to the neighborhood homeowners association behind our property.

This neighbor has never thanked me for keeping our lot behind his house cut. I don't even know his name because he didn't even bother to introduce himself.

As the verbal abuse continued (I'm a woman, he's a man), I kept on saying I was sorry but at the 4th apology I just wasn't sorry anymore. I ended the conversation as nicely as I could and I went about attending our to yard with one caveat. I used our lawn sweeper to pick up our 4 acres of grass clippings (albeit short clippings) and laid it in a strip a couple of yards behind his fence; the clippings, however, are on our lot. Sorry, you call us names (hubby has progressive Alzheimer's plus dementia and is an Air Force veteran from the Vietnam War era) and use cuss words at me adding that you f%^&ing work for a living when I'm a full time caregiver for my husband, I really don't feel bad for doing it. Of course this neighbor (age app. 48), took lots of pictures of me doing it. I smiled and waved for the pictures. He even took pictures early the next morning of the grass trimmings laying on our property. Not sure what he can do about clippings in our yard, but I supposed we'll find out soon enough.

Anyway, I am hiring a surveyor to stake the property lines since that helps my husband visually if and when he tries to help by mowing. It will also clear up whether the neighbor's gardens are well over the property line. Hopefully, it'll send a message that we're not jerks. We just have our own ideas on what makes for an enjoyable green space.

TL;DR: neighbors with small lots have gardens that are creeping onto our 4 acres. One neighbor called us names and cussed because our grass clippings are going through his fence and under his low lying bushes onto the edge of his mulch. Just hired surveyors to lay out the property lines to diffuse issues with said neighbors.

Does anyone else have these issues with neighbors, especially ones who exhibit hostility? How did you handle it? Thanks for any advice you might offer. I just don't get why neighbors with perfect yards living in country settings (chicken farm on other side of our property) expect so much.
  3 answers
  • Lora Lora on May 17, 2017

    Sounds like you did the best thing, just smile and walk away. For some reason he feels put upon. That's like moving in next to an airport then complaining about the jet noise!!

  • William William on May 17, 2017

    After you get the property surveyed consult an attorney and he can advise you. I would also request that he send each neighbor a cease and desist order for trespassing, using, encroaching your property. You can also get in touch ( or your attorney) with the homeowners association and present them with the issue.

  • Kim Kim on May 17, 2017

    Thank you. Just can't understand how people can be so nasty about the preservation of their groomed mini neighborhood yards when they live smack in middle of farm country surrounded by nature preserves.