What Do You Do When Your Neighbor’s Lawn Looks Like This?

IMG_8155, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Now believe me, I have been guilty of this infraction many times. For some reason I have been blessed with some of the nicest neighbors in town. I have one neighbor who from time to time busts my chops in a very good natured manner. Before my lawn mower broke, I’d laugh with my neighbor and then immediately mow the lawn. More recently I have another neighbor who is way too nice to me. This neighbor has mowed my lawn, shoveled my walk, brought in garbage cans…you name it. I’m just waiting for her to do my taxes next year. But in all honesty I try to have my lawn mowed fairly regularly because my neighbors take such good care of their lawns that I feel like a jackass when my lawn gets out of control. So, what do you do when you have a neighbor or an absentee landlord who doesn’t mow the lawn?

24 Comment

  • Tell me about it! I am a renter in Gold Coast and on Saturday a neighbor accosted me about my ‘relaxed’ lawn. I told him I didn’t think it was a big deal. He informed me that the whole neighborhood was noticing my house’s ‘relaxed’ views for lawn care. “How are you gonna go to the neighborhood potluck with a lawn like that?” So, I mowed it. I didn’t like it, but I did it.

  • As renters, our lease states that the landlord is responsible for mowing the lawn. But it’s impossible to someone to fix problems inside the house, let alone outside. I certainly can’t afford to buy a lawnmower, and what would we do with it if we move, etc. I don’t want the neighbors to think we don’t give a damn, but I don’t know what I can do to get our landlord to give a damn.

  • How about contacting your landlord and offering to take care of the lawn in exchange for $150 off your monthly rent?

  • If the lawn is in DC you can call DPW and they will come and assess a fine to the owner. The city has strict height limits on weeds and overgrowth.

  • @Maureen

    Right you are. Just call 202-727-1000 and they will help you get started.

  • My neighbor’s are pretty good about doing their lawns. I guess I’m lucky.

    The thing I get a kick out of is when I drive home and see kids playing in my front yard. Right when they see me, they run over to their side of the lawn. lol

  • I don’t know if the 727-1000 is still being answered. They switch to 311 a few months back:


  • I mow my neighbors laws on both sides of me. The one on the east side is edlery, but a very, very nice man and watches over my place while I am gone, so I happily take care of his lawn. The neighbors on the west side never did squat to thier lawn and were just foreclosed on (that is a story for future posts) and moved out. I am not cutting their lawn so the place looks a little bit lived in. Not sure if that will make a difference, but at least it looks better.

  • @Kevin

    I would think you and your roommates could both buy a lawnmower and sell it when y’all move out using Craigslist classifieds.

  • So for those who might be interested….

    The seasonal grass-cutting rules have, in the past, been the subject of a press-release. The last one I could find was in 2006:

    This release also notes that the rules are from the DC Muni Regs, Chapter 8, Title 14.
    This chapter is located here: http://os.dc.gov/os/frames.asp?doc=/os/lib/os/info/odai/title_14/08.pdf

    The applicable section is said to be 800.10, but section 800 ends at 800.7. So I’m not sure if these section has been rescinded or moved.

    For what it’s worth, I couldn’t find a press release for 2007.


  • Mow it – or ask if they would like some help when you mow yours. Perhaps they are elderly or can’t afford a lawn mower. Lend a hand – it will all come back to you.

  • When we first bought our house, we were the people who didn’t mow their lawn. Our neighbor on one side mowed it for us at least once, and the neighbor on the other side asked if we wanted the guy who does his lawn to do ours, too. We took him up on the offer, and now our neighbors don’t have to worry about our lawn looking bad.

    I’m glad that our neighbors cared enough about the block to see our lawn as their problem, and I’m grateful that they approached us offering to help, rather than in anger.

  • my next door neighbor mowed my yard for the entire first year…I just could not handle it. He actually used to mow that entire block of 8th St…sort of a slacker block for lawn care. But he kept it looking good! Then is mower broke, and I bought one, and mowed his yard for a year. Then I started dating a landscaper, and now neither of us mow anymore 🙂

  • Perry, the crossing guard at 13th and Spring that PoP posted about a while back, does yard work on the side. It’s definitely worth asking him to do yours if you live within a few blocks of that intersection. He has his own mower and other tools, including a seed spreader if you’re in need of re-seeding.

  • what a bitch move that would be to call DPW on a neighbors lawn being too long. maybe talking to them and asking them to take care of it would be a more proper response. or helping if they cannot do it. i dont know but that seems alot more proper than the “lets get them fined game.”

  • i think that asking the neighbors if they would like you to mow their lawn if they don’t own a mower is good. Or, like our awesome neighbors, just let us know that we can borrow their lawn mower/edger whenever we want.

  • *Is* that my neighbor’s lawn? Oh well, ours is just as bad, only much, much smaller (as in, a 3’x3′ patch).

  • I think the decision to call DPW should be based on your relationship with your neighbor. At a minimum I would think one would want to do them the service of first asking them about it or offering to help and proceeding from there. Some may be elderly who may appreciate the help. Some may be renters with deadbeat landlords…they should have DPW hounding them!

  • Wow. So rather than talk to a neighbor and offer to help you’d sic the city on them?

    That sucks. That should be a last resort, not a first option.

  • Wow, we almost bought that house for $160,000 ten years ago… the one that got away. Technically they don’t own most of the yard, but I guess they are still required to take care of it.

  • i used to live in that house in 2002-2003. probably the most amazing house i’ll ever live in, but i have to tell you, the landlord not taking care of the lawn was about the least of our problems with her when we lived there. not sure if it’s still the same landlord, but if it is, GOOD LUCK….

  • does anyone know a small motor repair shop (as in someone that can fix a lawnmower)? weve got a good one from craigslist, but it peters out after about 10 seconds from the first start..then 20 seconds after the 2nd start..finally, after you crank and start it about the 10th time, itll stay on long enough to finish the job. any ideas/suggestions? we are NOT mechanical at my house 🙁

  • I’d applaud them for not wasting gas and water on an artificual surface and instead letting their lawn grow naturally, with some very pretty wildflowers, that more effectively supports a local ecosystem than a manicured lawn.

  • I used to live at the house photographed above. I moved out last October, and I think the house has remained empty November. However, I called the landlord, let her know that the neighbors had been blogging about the lawn, and she said she’ll get someone out there to mow it soon.

    The moral of the story: If your neighbors’ lawns are too long, you should blog about them. That’ll take care of the problem.

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