Garden etiquette that keeps neighbours happy - GulfToday

Garden etiquette that keeps neighbours happy

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Illustrative image. (Image Credit:

Illustrative image. (Image Credit:

There are etiquettes at the dinner table, etiquettes for when you accept or decline invitations and there are etiquettes for when you go to a high-end restaurant. Do anything out of the ordinary for that event or establishment and you have no etiquette at least that is what we have been told. But now there are etiquettes within your own home even when there is no one, other than your family, around. Last week there was a cache of activities in which you shouldn’t engage in your front garden, such as sunbathing in your smalls for everyone in the street to see.

The back garden is slightly different in that, of course it’s your garden, supposed to be private anyway, so you can sunbathe in your smalls and do other things. But, and yes there’s always a ‘but’, there are etiquettes that one should follow so as not to annoy the neighbours. This time it’s not about you being seen doing stuff but about what others see or hear or experience even when you are not in the garden.

For example, we all love to keep our lawns trim and tidy but should we be mowing the lawn at all hours of the day? No. Lawnmowers are electrical machines that are loud. They let off this kind of motor sound, rather like that of a motorbike and that sound can be very intrusive first thing in the morning or late at night when people are trying to sleep. So, if you are going to mow your lawn, you need to do so at a reasonable hour and avoid doing so, especially first thing in the morning on the weekends.

Some urban gardeners like to put down manure to help their lawn grow, if they have one. The smell can be horrendous but some forget that it’s not the countryside where smells like that are a common occurrence and no one will object because they’re all doing it. But if you live in a neighbourhood in a town or city where everyone lives in fairly close proximity to one another, putting down manure is an absolute no-no.

Another no-no is letting your dog roam your garden without supervision. He’ll not only dig a hole in the base of the adjoining fence but bark all day and maybe even all night if you don’t take him in at the end of the day. People won’t object to you sunbathing in your back garden even if you do it all day in your smalls. It’s your back garden after all and the only way it will become an eyesore is if they look over the fence, in which case, they are a peeping Tom, or if they peer out of an upper floor window down at your garden. But what they might object to is the constant barbecuing. It might be the smell, if they don’t like the smell of smoking meat, and let’s face it, not everybody does, or it might be the smoke itself, especially if they have laundry hanging and you didn’t have the courtesy to warn them about the possible smoke billowing over the boundary fence.

Speaking of boundary fences, it’s okay to mend your fence if it’s been knocked over by the wind. In fact, it’s actually not okay not to fix it. But before you go poking around any garden fence, it is important to know whose fence it is. One of them is yours whereas the other is your neighbour’s. Which you do need to determine before painting it or even replacing it. Likewise for any trees by these boundary fences. They overgrow and branches often end up hanging over the garden of your next door neighbour. Whilst your neighbour likes the shade it creates in the summer they certainly don’t like the leaves it sheds in the winter and autumn. It makes a huge mess especially when it rains and the leaves start to rot. Therefore, ask your neighbour how they would feel if the branches grew into their garden and if they’d like it to be trimmed before it did so. Neighbours seem not to mind if the branch hanging over into their garden is a fruit tree. In England they are entitled to that fruit simply because the branch on which they are growing is hanging into their garden. Likewise, if a branch of their fruit tree hung into your garden, you too would be entitled to pick it.

Generally speaking, letting your garden go is a huge no-no as well. Whilst neighbours don’t expect you to spend hundreds or thousands making it look pretty, they do expect you to keep it clean and tidy. Otherwise it is both an eyesore and brings down the tone of the neighbourhood.

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