Neighbors! We all have them. They may be five feet or five miles, but basically we all have neighbors. Most people try to get along with their neighbors as it is just easier that way. I have lived in several neighborhoods in my life. Growing up on a farm, my grandparents were my neighbors. They were wonderful people so that was a great experience.
When I lived in Manhattan Beach in California I never met one of my neighbors. When one neighbor’s mail accidentally came to our house, I knocked on the door and the person asked me just to put it through the mail slot. Not so friendly, but luckily we did not live there very long.
Living in Del Mar, California my neighbors became friends. Some of them remained friends till they died. There were no boundary disputes or view disputes. The lot next to us sold and we lost most of our ocean view. We did not buy the lot, so knew there was nothing we could do. Would you believe an ocean view lot in Del Mar back then sold for $40,000?
Moving to Bainbridge Island we had wonderful neighbors that are friends to this day. They had four children that closely matched the ages of my three, then they had two more. My youngest son and one of their daughters still spend time together and they are in their thirties.
Moving to waterfront on Bainbridge it got a little edgier, with a shared driveway, boundary disputes and even sharing part of a sport court. I sold that house fifteen years ago and they are still having boundary disputes. I will never do a shared driveway again. One neighbor put their trash on top of my trash, so I paid for extra bags till I finally called Waste Management and they went through the trash and the neighbor started paying for their own trash.
Having neighbors can be challenging or nice. It depends on a lot of factors. When you live on low bank waterfront in Kingston, your neighbor is ten feet away from you on each side. There are view covenants so you don’t destroy the view of neighbors and they can’t destroy your view.
Building the home in Kingston where I now live I knew we had a fabulous view and I knew if I set the house back twelve more feet than allowed it would not effect my view. I did it to be nice to the neighbor. Luckily I did, so now I am allowed to add a privacy wall to my patios. It is within the view restrictions.
As you can see by the photo, the neighbor two doors over built a deck on the side of his house, as he could not build on the water side of the house because of the view restrictions. He sits and smokes and talks loudly on the phone, so we just completed this wall upstairs and pictured below the wall we built downstairs.
We can finally eat and entertain with a little bit more privacy. We no longer see the huge Sea Hawk colored basketball/tennis court or the red caboose. Nice!
Bamboo. Bamboo. Several years ago we planted bamboo along our property line. There is a cement wall supporting our neighbors fence, so we knew the bamboo would not spread in her direction. Her house is set back, so we also knew it would not affect her view. We do have a deep barrier on our side of the bamboo, but still fight the spread of it. When my granddaughter is here, we do the “Bamboo Hunt” and when she finds another baby bamboo, she calls out:Bamboo Bamboo”. I cut it back.
She spent the summer with me, so we did a lot of bamboo hunting. It always made it fun. Yesterday I was working in the yard, cutting back the new growth, when I noticed I was getting a “hole” in the bamboo that I had not noticed before.
As I walked closer I realized that quite a few stalks of my bamboo had been cut off at four feet or less. I decided to remove them, as there were so many cut off ones.
Now, I know I did not cut these off, and my gardener had not cut these back, so how did this happen? I think my neighbor must be doing Midnight Gardening? Legal?
This is about two-thirds of stalks that were cut short, and I plan to remove the others today.
I walked down to the beach to see if the bamboo was hanging over in the neighbor’s yard and it was not. I was still a little puzzled. I know she does not like my bamboo, but can she reach two to three feet into my yard and cut my bamboo? Is that legal?
If you live on the beach, legally you cannot have a wall more than four feet high within the first 200 feet of the water, but you can plant anything. I do find it an interesting law, but it is the law. When I lived on Bainbridge one neighbor planted juniper plants right on the property line, blocking my view of the Bainbridge ferry, and there was nothing I could do about it. I could not even cut without that neighbors permission. That is my understanding of the law.
So here I am fifteen years later and I am guessing my neighbor is not only cutting my bamboo, but reaching into my yard and cutting it. What do you do? You want to try to be a good neighbor, but what does that entail? For now, I will take the remaining cut bamboo out and just keep an eye for any more cut. Confrontations do not make good neighbors and I have had one too many confrontations this summer already.
So here are the three to four foot remains of what my neighbor cut the tops off. The fire pit is about 2.5 feet deep. There are about 30 stalks here. Pretty gutsy neighbor.
I think when we move in a few years I will give up waterfront living and move somewhere, where there are less neighbors.