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Proper Lawn Care Etiquette

Sure, the summer is made for the beach, but it's also made for taking care of your lawn. However, some folks are too lazy to make their lawn presentable, which can create neighborly tension. Here's what to do about it.

By
Richie Frieman,
July 12, 2013

Mowing your lawnI'll be the first one to admit that I'm not the best at keeping my lawn in tip-top shape.  It's not terrible, but it's not going to win any awards either. But since I love my house and want to keep it looking great (and maintaining its property value), I do my best. And what I can't do, I hire someone to help me with.

I also have some additional incentive because the guy on the end of my street keeps his lawn looking like a PGA golf course!  So I can't just sit back and let my lawn turn into the set of Jurassic Park, Unfortunately, that's not the case for some of my neighbors who have turned their lawns into something that could house safari animals. 

Needless to say, these people are resented by everyone in the neighborhood. So how do you handle a neighbor with improper lawn care manners? 

3 Tips for Bad Lawn Neighbors

Tip #1: I know mowing the lawn can be tedious. But if you look at it as a form or exercise, it's actually not so bad. One way to convince a fellow neighbor to maintain their lawn better is to propose this as an idea. Something like, "Man, this weather is brutal! But when I'm out here - even just for a half hour - I'm sweating more than when I run on the treadmill. I don't even need to go to the gym now. What about you? You should join me. We can work out together." 

Tip #2: Another way to deal with someone who refuses to do their part is to let them know that you need their help, and are willing to help them in return. Allow me to explain. Whenever you're trying to get someone to change a bad habit, the key is to make it seem like you're doing it out of pure generosity. You can't just say "Hey Tom, your lawn looks hideous. What are you going to do about it?" That will not work (and may even get you punched in the nose). Instead, try somethingf like, "Hey Tom, I'm going to Home Depot this weekend to pick up some lawn care items. Can I get you something? Maybe some weed killer or more mulch? I only say this because my lawn is getting eaten up this season and figured you may be having the same issue." This way they feel you are commiserating with them, but really you are giving them a much-needed kick in the rear. 

Tip #3: Lastly, sometimes you have to pick up the slack for your neighbors. If your neighbor clearly has no care in the world, it doesn't hurt to do the work for them. Hear me out, I'm not saying to literally mow their lawn for them. What I am saying is that if your lawn is connected to theirs, it's okay to let that lawnmower move slightly onto their lawn. After all, it's partly yours anyway and this way maybe they'll get the hint that theirs can look much better if they just followed your lead.

In the end, this may not be an overnight win. It's an uphill battle. And with all battles, you'll need to stay in the fight until the end. Keep on them with the tips I provided and make sure they understand that their lawn is their responsibility and it affects the entire block.

Do you have a great story about improper lawn mowing etiquette?  Post all the details in the comment section below.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

And if you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's available for pre-order now!

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