Paradise lost

Ok, so our backyard wasn’t exactly a paradise. In fact, it’s still pretty disastrous (and more so now!). It has come a long way over the last 3 years, though, and we were finally getting to the point where we could visualize how cute and relaxing it could be (with a lot more work, of course). Well, not anymore. Our neighbors officially ruined it, and just when we completed our deck, too! (More updates to come on that soon, I promise!)

You see, we’ve had this row of boxwood growing along the longest edge of our triangle shaped backyard ever since we moved in. It was incredibly overgrown at the time, along with the entire backyard.

 Back Yard from Right Side

One spring, we cut it back really harshly to regain about 4 feet of our yard. And it looked bare and scary…


And we continued to prune it once it in the spring and once in the fall, and finally we had a nice thick privacy hedge! That apparently wasn’t important enough to me to warrant it’s own pictures or blog post…boy, does it seem important now! But here it is photo-bombing a few other pictures, so maybe you can get the idea…


It was at least 15 or 20 feet high…


And blocked the view of four different neighbors’ houses.


We loved not being able to see any other houses and didn’t bother putting up curtains or blinds in our kitchen since we knew no one could really see through this hedge. And we could barely see the chain link fence either!


We knew technically the neighbors could do anything they wanted with it since it was growing on their side of the fence, but they never touched it and we figured they probably liked the privacy, too.

Until one day, about three weeks ago, we woke up to this (remember, if I had a picture, the before would have been a constant 15′ high wall of boxwood).


They gave us no warning, which frankly, I find a little rude considering how greatly it affected us. We were devastated! How could they not appreciate the privacy it afforded them? When we finally talked to them, she acted as though she had done us a great favor because you know, it just gets so crazy and out of control.

We thought we still had a tiny bit of privacy, until they cut down almost every tree in their yard this past weekend and turned the picture above into this.


Now, granted, one of the trees they cut down was this dead thing that I didn’t particularly want to look at either…


But they also cut down two perfectly fine trees, and now we can clearly see both of those houses and in several of their windows, the street and all cars on the street in front of said houses, AND the house across the street. Boo!

We also get to see this dog even more clearly, and hear his never-ending bark much more loudly. Also boo. Our yard is so small that when he’s against the fence, he’s closer to our house than theirs. And for some reason he seems to like to spend a lot of time there. Barking.


And we also have a clear view of this giant, ancient satellite dish. Why is it even still there? Surely they can’t be using it…right? (And yes, these piles of chopped boxwood plants are still there weeks later, as a painful reminder of what we lost!)


So for now, this is what we get to look at, in addition to four houses I was previously able to pretend didn’t exist.


I really wish I had better pictures of how thick we had gotten the boxwood to grown in, but these will have to do. See the boxwood in the top left corner of the picture?


The boxwood was so dense and thick that it also blocked out lots of sound…of kids playing, the dog barking, and even traffic. Our house is close to the edge of our neighborhood, and close to a slightly busier street. I never realized before that we were close enough to hear the traffic…because we never heard it. Or saw it. Now, we can do both.


Andrew keeps trying to make it better by saying things like “You live in a neighborhood. You’re going to see neighbors.”  Sure, except that for over 3 years we didn’t! Ugh…super sadness.


So now we’re just trying to figure out how we fix our backyard from here. I think it’s is ruined, but surely there’s something we can do to make a little better? We could start saving for a privacy fence, but I worry that would make our already very small backyard feel even smaller. And they’re very expensive…or a ton of work!

Or we could try to regrow shorter boxwoods on our side of the fence, like these along our front fence that the neighbors couldn’t touch. But that takes a lot of time (several years, at least), and they would take up about 3 feet of our yard.


We haven’t decided yet, and I think we change our minds almost every day…although when the neighbor asked us if we wanted them to cut out the boxwood on our side too since “it gets so out of control”, Andrew told them we wanted to keep everything that was left and asked them not to touch it. Ok, enough whining. I’m going go to stand on my new deck and cry over my very not-private backyard.

4 Responses to Paradise lost

  1. Shelly (the neighbor on Cherokee Cove) :) October 31, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    This would make me sad (and a little mad too) as well!! As for the dog-if it bothers you too much, feel free to call the Police (751-4542) and ask them to send out Animal Control, if during the daytime, or an Officer if after hours, and they can talk to the owners about the nonstop barking. You can remain anonymous as well.

    • Simple House Expressions November 7, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Yeah. 🙁 We’ve gotten a few quotes for fences, but wow. Expensive! Not sure what we’re gonna do yet. Luckily, the dog hasn’t been barking as much lately. They must let him inside more the previous people living there (family of theirs). Also there were two dogs before, but they must have taken one with them the louder one! Yay!)


  2. Maribeth November 5, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    We had a similar problem, and we put up a tall wooden fence. It was a really big expense, but it was SO worth it. The privacy makes such a huge difference, and you can put plants you really love along the fence line. It will make you love your yard again.

    • Simple House Expressions November 7, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Maribeth! We are really bummed! We got a few quotes for privacy fences this week, and yeah, very expensive! I’m becoming more and more convinced that we do need one, though, but we might until next spring and do it ourselves to save a little money!