Fences and Plants Make Good Neighbors

We have friends who have said that fences and plants make good neighbors. Recently, we had an experience with one of our neighbors that proved this to be true.

For some time now, we'd come home from work to find toys scattered throughout our yard from the young children next door. We'd always toss the toys back over our fence without much ado. However, when our dog discovered large crayons in our backyard and decided to eat them, that's when we determined that enough was enough.

My husband made a point of returning the recovered crayons directly to the parents with a firm -- albeit friendly -- request that their children keep their toys to themselves in their own yard. During the course of the conversation, my husband learned that the mother had actually been lifting the children over our four foot fence to recover the toys themselves while we were away at work. Aside from not being a safe practice, it was also one that didn't set a good example for the children to respect boundaries and other people's property. What was the point of having the fence at all???

We installed our fence years ago because we wanted to be sure that our dog could run safely in the confines of his own backyard without fear of getting loose and doing harm to himself or someone else's property. In addition, it sent the message that we did not want others trespassing on our property. Clearly, though, in this case, the fence was not enough. Plus, I was having difficulty trusting that we could take these people at their word that the toys would remain in their yard from now on.

So, we endeavored to install six foot trellises attached to our four foot fence on the side of our property that borders these neighbors. Thus began our beautiful new rose garden. We invested in vigorous climbing rose plants to cover the trellises and provide natural barbed wire, so to speak. Haven't had a problem since, and now everything is coming up roses!

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