| By Dr. Gelasia Marquez

My Neighbor’s Garden Is Taking Over My Yard

My neighbor put in a lovely garden this year, but half of it has encroached over the property line into my yard. Is there anything I can do and still be a good neighbor?

Recently, I read an article about an organization in Vancouver, British Columbia, called City Farmer, which helps residents set up urban gardens. It matches people who are looking for space to grow a garden with those who have a back yard or garden plot they would like to share. Although this sounds like a great initiative, you seem to have the problem of “forced garden sharing.”

It is best to handle a difficulty or disagreement with a neighbor by confronting the issue, as soon as it arises, with respect and honesty. In your case, if the plants are seasonal, you can begin by praising her “lovely” garden and suggesting that the next time perhaps she could plant her garden a few feet inside the property line to avoid the plants spilling over into your yard.

If the plants are present year-round (after you have congratulated your neighbor’s good taste expressed in her lovely garden), you could suggest that she use a decorative screen as an attractive way of holding her plants and containing them so they don’t trespass onto your property.

If your respectful and honest communications do not produce positive results, you always have the right to fence your property. Prior to fencing your yard, of course, be sure to inform your neighbor of your decision. And don’t forget to smile.

Dr. Gelasia Marquez is a psychologist and family counselor.