Neighbour's garden is out of control
And my DS loves to visit...
, Nov 19 2012 10:07 AM
12 replies to this topic
Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:07 AM
We have truly lovely neighbours.
Their youngest child is friends with my 3 yo DS and frequently plays over here with him. However just recently he has started going to her house as well. Normally I would not have a problem with this as we live in a very small and close-knit neighbourhood. However their garden is COMPLETELY overgrown. Think wandering dew over everything competing with lantana and five foot weeds for a chance to overtake the house, pool, trampoline etc.
They have a dog who they admit is "full of fleas" (I have seen them jumping off the poor thing), plus there is dog poo lying on the only clear path to the house. The grass is waist high on an adult. DS gets allergies lying on plain old Buffalo so I know he is going to come out in hives being in a garden that has not seen a mower or clippers for years.
I will clarify this by saying that I believe there is more going on with the parents than just an unwillingness to garden. I have never been in their house but can see the front verandah and it is piled high with all sorts of stuff (just a narrow path so you can get to the front door.) The same is true of their carport, and anything and everything is just dumped in the garden and is very soon overtaken by the weeds. Perhaps there are hoarding / MH issues - I just don't know, and we are not really close enough to ask.
So how do I go about my son wanting to go over there and play? He has no concept of neat or tidy, just thinks it is fun to play with his friend. Which is great except for the risk of allergies, ticks, snakes, spiders and god knows what else. We have seen a brown snake in the driveway so we know they are in this area.
How do I keep an eye on him without hovering and looking like I am really concerned (which I am)? I could flat out refuse to let them play together but how do I explain that when the parents are around? What can I say to indicate I am concerned about the state of their yard? I continually suggest the kids play in our garden - bushy with lots of areas to run and hide, but still very much under control. But naturally they want to run around the fence and occasionally end up at her place.
For those of you who think I am overreacting I say again - brown snake hiding in the long grass vs 3 year old? Who do you think would win that battle?
Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:10 AM
Sorry - should have posted this in WDYT? Can anyone advise me how to move it? Thanks.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:15 AM
Snakes next door just as easily means snakes in your backyard, you can just see them coming! That asn they do like to bask on mowed lawns too.
Snakes are attracted to rats and mice, and love piles of things to hide in, so I would speak to neighbours about the yard and your valid concerns, and offer, sincerely, to help clean it up.
Should that not work, at last resort I would contact council to request they do something, as snakes are not somthing you want to encourage in your neighbourhood.
Edited by Flaxen, 19 November 2012 - 10:19 AM.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:26 AM
Thanks Flaxen, you are right of course that the snake/s can just as easily be in my garden too but as you note we would definitely see them lolling about a bit more because we have cut grass, clear paths free of weeds on either side etc. But in their garden you could quite easily lose a small-medium sized child in the weeds, letalone miss a snake or some delightful paralysis ticks.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:35 AM
I just wouldnt allow a 3 year old to go with out me present to anyone house unless I knew them so well I was happy for them to babysit.
We have neighbours who have a little girl and they invited DD1 (age 5) and DD2(age 3) over to play when we first moved in (i had only met them once for 5 minutes). The first time I went over too but got the feeling the mother didnt really want me hanging around - she was happy to let the kids just play. The next time she rang to see if the girls could come to play i decided to be honest and up front with her. I said thanks for the offer but I wasnt comfortable with leaving DD2 as she is only 3 and still very little. I said I was happy for her DD to come over if she wanted to. Her DD came over and she hasnt asked us over again.
To me 3 is too young for playdates without the parents.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:36 AM
I think any snakes are likely to stay well clear of 3 year olds! I'd be more concerned about any refuse - particularly any rusted metal objects, or unstable piles of junk that the kids could pull down onto themselves. And a disused pool - is it fenced? Empty?
It's a difficult one, because an overgrown garden can be an absolute paradise for kids if there aren't any significant dangers.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:57 AM
I would discretely call your local council and ask for them to issue a clean up order if there is a risk of snakes etc.. as they could quite easily move to your yard too. Sounds like it maybe a fire hazard as well...
Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:01 PM
I have moved this to WDYT for you
Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:06 PM
If he suffers from allergies from grass, then simply explain this as a reason he is unable to play in their garden. And explain your concern about his reaction to the fleas and his tendency to break out in hives.
Any reasonable person, would understand this. They can then choose to do something about it, or simply accept their child can only play with your son at your house.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:45 PM
I wouldn't let my 3yo go on playdates without me anyway, unless it was someone I knew and trusted. At 3, it's babysitting IMO. They need supervision and can't just go and play like older kids.
Edited by EssentialBludger, 19 November 2012 - 12:46 PM.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:35 PM
I would just be saying to my child, "sorry but you cant go over there and play as you will get sick because of the long grass, how about he/she comes here to play".
That way you arent having a go at them AND you are protecting your own child.
If the parents say anything, just tell them honestly that he has grass allergies and its healthier if he doesnt come into contact tall grasses at the moment.
fwiw - there is no way I would be sending my 3yr old over to a place where I didnt know the parent well enough to know if they would supervise adequately or not.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:47 PM
I wouldnt let my kids play at a house like that. So dont feel bad about your instinct. At the end of the day OP, you need to trust your feelings about things and if you are unsure dont do it.
I was recently living interstate and knew noone. We lived in a small street and I had seen a van with a mum and small kids across the road a few times. One day they knocked on the door and invited DD over for a play as their DD was the same age and really wanted a 'street friend'! I was a bit taken aback but said yeah sure but wandered over, kind of stuck my head in, chatted to the mum for 10minutes while the girls played. Anyway it was enough.....I knew my DD was going to be great! They were lovely people, normal home (not freaky tidy but not dirty), nice kids kinda naughty but normal.....you get what I mean. I had a good feeling. I left her for an hour, came back got her and then next time I had her DD etc etc. it was great but we were 2 mums with very similar parenting, DD's with similar interests, I knew the mum was always supervising etc. i would never have done it if it didnt feel right. Sometimes you have to trust your judgement.
Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:51 PM
I would be phoning the council and asking them for advice re a clean-up order. Our vacant next door neighbour's house was being auctioned recently with dead birds in the swimming pool! I rang the council and a health inspector came around and had a look over our fence and called the real estate agent and that same day a boy came around and fished out the dead birds. I hope they paid him well......
Edited by luke's mummu, 20 November 2012 - 09:52 PM.
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