Opinions wanted on privacy options

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SunsetSonata, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. SunsetSonata

    SunsetSonata Broken Dreamer Supporter

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    Some introduction.... I live on a tiny 1/4 acre lot in the suburbs. Would love to live on a farm, farmette, homestead out in the country, but I'm stuck here for the time being. I've read up on all your invasions of privacy on these here boards. Poachers, shortcutters, houndsmen, neighbor's dogs, predators... people and animals up to no good, as well as the occasional trespasser who doesn't mean any harm... all have been discussed and occasionally argued about.

    So when I think about my own trespassing problem, I think about yours. After all, I don't have chickens to guard, tractors to steal, or strangers with loaded weapons wandering about. My livelihood and safety are not threatened. My problem is nothing compared to yours.

    My trespassers are little kids. Feel free to laugh. :rolleyes:

    But I value my privacy - especially in my back yard, which has a slightly wooded corner. None of the adjacent properties have this little wooded area, so my property line is clearly defined. Last year the kids next door started playing there. At first I just attributed it to isolated incidences, until they started coming over every day, with other neighborhood children to boot. The boys are young (5 and 6?) and don't understand why I wouldn't want them to have fun, from their point of view. Mom and Dad will keep them in their yard when I am outside and start saying something, but I think for the most part they have given up as the little wooded area is such a draw for them.

    I've lost my private back yard, and it's been really making me stew inside - this is the only piece of land I have and I want it respected. It's hard to get mad at them to their face - they're nice kids, really, and the parents are neighborly. When spring weather comes and the kids are outdoors again using my yard as their own, I planned to let the parents know just how much it bothers me to lose my privacy, even though I like the kids. But then I thought I could probably avoid this scenario altogether.

    The kids enter through a 6-10 foot area. Any ideas for barricading this as inexpensively as possible? Inexpensive, meaning, $40 or less! I'd rather avoid a fence which might come across as hostile, though I would if I had to (and it was cheap). I'm leaning towards shrubs/trees/vines filling up this area. Problem is it's all shade there -the only sun it would get is sunset, and haven't found any fast-growing shadelovers at the garden sites. And no thorn-bushes - I just want to protect my privacy, not injure the kids or upset the parents. Too bad I can't make a wall of grapevines there, but there must be something that will work in zone 5.

    I have thought to myself, this whole thing bothers me way more than it should, and yet I can't rationalize myself out of feeling invaded. Maybe it's because I grew up here and never had a problem before. I'm fairly stress-free these days (finally!) but this one problem makes me tense enough for my blood pressure to rise. Then I read about you guys and say to myself wow I think I have problems, lol!

    Thank you for letting me vent, but seriously, any input would be appreciated. I think you fine people should have some good ideas!
     
  2. botebum

    botebum Up the Creek

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    If the parents are as neighborly as you say then invite them over for coffee, cocktails, whatever and explain to them as calmly and peacefully as you have here how you feel. They'll see your situation and help you out by talking with their kids and controlling the situation. Have faith in people, they tend to respect that.

    Doug
     

  3. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    Trespassing is Trespassing regardless of how old you are. One visit from "officer friendly" to the childrens' folks should take care of the matter. And if it doesn't PRESS CHARGES. That ought to get their attention.

    donsgal
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    when I was a kid, I remember we used to climb a fence over to a certain yard where the people had an apple tree. We'd sit in it and eat green apples till we got a belly ache. I'm sure the people saw us, but never drove us off. I know we'd have deserved to be told to not be there, and would respect that by not coming back. So, if the kids are 'nice kids' as you say, simply tell them you don't want them on your property. You don't have to be mean about it, just let them know and let their parents know. :shrug:
     
  5. botebum

    botebum Up the Creek

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    Back in the day, moonwolf would have been right. These days, you talk to the parents and let them talk to their kids.

    Doug
     
  6. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rugosa roses. You said you didn't want thorns, but they will work. However, if you put up a few bushes where they are coming in, they will just come in from somewhere else. I think a fence is your only option, but only if you have a "mean" dog inside of it. A six year old can climb a fence pretty easily, unless it's electric, which you probably wouldn't be allowed to put up.

    What makes your woods so attractive, what do they do in there? If they are climbing trees, cut the lower branches off or slather the trunks of the trees with something yukky. If they are running around in it, make it unpleasant in some way. When it is muddy in the spring do they go in there? If they have an aversion to mud, keep the area muddy for a while. A nice beehive might do the trick. Put a couple of hives between your house and the woods. Children that age have an aversion to bees.
     
  7. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    A couple of suggestions come to mind:

    Start hanging out out there so it isn't so private for *them*. You can bring a single chair and sit out there and do crosswords or whatever you like and make sure they know you're there - invite yourself into their conversations, play some funky music you like even if you don't think they will, etc. This can work in two ways: you might really start to enjoy their company and they yours and then you've made some new friends, with whom you can discuss appropriate hours/days of visitation OR they might think you're too weird to want to be around you! ;)

    Ask the parents to plant their own wooded area on their own property. It may take a little while to grow up the way your place has, but the parents could involve the children in the design, installation, and maintenance and that will keep them busy.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You simply have to talk to the parents. To my mind, five and six years old are too young to be off their own property and if the parents don't know this, they should! While it's too bad to spoil the kids' fun, they can't be running loose like that.

    Good luck.
    Jennifer
     
  9. Selena

    Selena proud to be pro-choice

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    I'd talk to the parents also. Problem is if the kids get hurt, you are going to be held liable - might even consider your "woods" a nuisance. If parents aren't receptive, get some free legal advice as how to proceed. A letter from you, not the lawyer sent registered mail might provide some protection for you.
     
  10. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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  11. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There's also the issue of liability. If those kids fall out of a tree on YOUR property and break an arm or leg, YOUR insurance is going to take a hit. You could even be sued and lose your house.

    Talk to the parents and let them know that you do not want the kids back there because it puts you at risk.

    Or, you could just let them know that you want your privacy. It's a reasonable and valid request, and frankly, if they're letting their kids run and play there when they know you don't want them to, they're not really very neighborly, are they?

    Pony!
     
  12. brownthumb

    brownthumb Well-Known Member

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    I say let them win. Let the kids play. They have no place else. The reality of it is that you don't really have privacy there anyway. I think you are ALREADY doing what you should. Just don't let yourself get worked up over it.
     
  13. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

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    And THAT'S why I love living on 27 acres in the country.

    Granted, when we first moved here, the poachers were shooting deer in the middle of the night - in FRONT of our house - but they've moved on to other places, or been caught.

    Every so often, when it's a nice quiet night, I like to step outside and break the silence by emptying a 12 gauge.

    It reminds everyone for miles that we're alive, armed and unafraid to exercise our 2nd amendment rights to keep and bear arms. As for my closest neighbor... he likes the idea so much, I hear him rippin' off a few rounds now and then... and the poachers decided it was safer to hunt somewhere else - like the vegetarians down the road that don't like guns!

    IMO - privacy is usually earned and maintained, much like freedom - it ain't free.
     
  14. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    So sad the poor kids dont have any real nature and naturally gravatae to what they did find much like we did as kids Im glad there were unwatched places when I was a kid.
    I have a strict no tresspassing policy here but when one of the neighborhood teens asked me very nicly if he could hunt arrow heads here I told him"I cant give you permission and not give everybody permission" Then I said" Arrowhead hunting by your self is pretty quiet its not likely Id notice a quiet tresspasser that far away"
    had to repeat it a few times befor he took the hint.I wouldnt have done it for someone that I didnt know.Did the same for one town kid camping on creek.

    Id suggest a no tresspassing sign and a talk with your neighbors about them adding some nature tothieryard and casuallymake the point "I have a no tresspassing policy but its hard to notice such small kids in the woods if they are quiet"

    Lets help build a couple more nature lovers ...........and if it helps think of them as wildlife!
     
  15. Old Vet

    Old Vet In Remembrance

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    Boy a fence would do wonders for you. It may not have to be a large chain link but the fence will help.
     
  16. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

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    I also think it's sad that kids don't have that many wild places, however small, to play in these days. Those 'sanitized' and neatly landscaped yards just aren't the same as a place where sunlight doesn't penetrate during the day, where limbs are to be climbed and everything explored.

    But having said that, I also agree that it is a safety issue, for the kids as well as for yourself. Nothing gets a parent angrier and more radical than when their kid has been hurt, even if it's because the kid was on your property, playing in your trees.

    You certainly can't deny knowing the kids are there, which would give the parents an advantage if they ever tried to litigate.

    I would just tell the parents that for safety and legal issues, you cannot have thier children playing on your property. No other explanations are necessary.
    Good luck.
     
  17. SunsetSonata

    SunsetSonata Broken Dreamer Supporter

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    When I had been outside and the kids started wandering over, I'd just call out hey, whatcha doing, and usually the father (works from home) would call them back home. But if I'm not out, nothing is said unless I specifically go outside to say something. I've also told the mom just in passing that I've planted daylilies around the perimeter (they'll get light from the east) and that next year I'd like to plant hostas in there - as in, I won't have kids trampling them, hint hint!

    I'd been in the habit of watching whenever they entered my yard - fortunately sometimes they stayed only 5 minutes. But when it was happening every day and other kids starting coming - I ran out and yelled to one of them one day - it was an older boy (10?) who looked so mortified I just couldn't stay mad! I simply walked up to him as he waited respectfully, and was just honest - I said I was going to have to start doing something because kids are coming over just too much. I said it's really other boys who keep coming over all the time, but still it was going to have to stop. I never saw him since and I hope he spread the word. Don't think the boys next door got the memo though!

    It's such a tiny patch of woods, maybe 15' x 15' in that area, but its enough for the kids to use it as a sort of hideaway, though I can see them in plain view. Unfortunately the neighbors just removed a little wooded area adjacent to my own, so my area is the only wooded part left. So they are actually removing nature from their yard. :grump: The trees there aren't quite big enough to climb, but still, the liability issue has crossed my mind, after all here I am trying to find a solution under $40 if that tells you anything!

    There is fencing protecting that side of my yard, but it stops a few yards short where it rotted away years ago, and now some of the trees kind of interrupt the property line there. Wish fencing were practical and inexpensive there.

    Rugosa roses! I would LOVE to do this! I'm wondering if I can - I looked them up and apparently they need 6 hours of sunshine. I wonder if they need 6 hours to flower, or just to survive - I'd have to plant them right in the shade, just at the edge - they wouldn't see daylight til sometime in the afternoon. I'm a bit concerned that the light wouldn't be enough and that they wouldn't grow much - I'll look into it more. But hey, they're roses, they're decorative, looks like they can grow into nice bushy obstacles if they can survive with so little light - I hope this can work. Thanks for the idea!

    Hahaha, I don't think village code would permit emptying a 12 gauge, it's too bad! I wonder what else would make it unattractive for the kids back there, but I'm reading all your ideas, thank you and keep em coming!

    Of course, ideally I'd just move to where I want to be with several acres... and if kids wanted to play way in the back it wouldn't bother me so much, instead of right in my tiny back yard just yards from the house.
     
  18. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    They do sale a lawn sprinkler that is a motion sensor. If anything moves within it's sensor range it turns on for a minute.

    For our city property, I have two beehives behind a blind where they can not be seen from the road. You can only see them after you have gone through the bush thicket, but the bees tend to populate the entire thicket.

    I have also hiked along railroad tracks and gathered seed buds from Canadian Thistle. The big blue flowering Thistle. Sometimes called the Holy Thistle, or the Scottish Thistle. Massive thorns! and I sprinkled those seeds all along our back property line.

    As thick you can make that thicket, plus a variety of thorns, plus a continuous population of bees hovering in the thicket; together should reduce the foot traffic some.

    Adding some sprinklers would not hurt.
     
  19. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    There's a product at garden stores called Tanglefoot or something similar. You paint in around tree trunks for insect control. THE STICKIEST stuff you can find. Oops!
     
  20. unregistered6474

    unregistered6474 Guest

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    A sign saying "DANGER! Serious SNAKE infestation! KEEP OUT!"