Thursday, July 24, 2014


For the most part, neighbors plant & mow the same types of grass. They don't often care where their yard stops and the other begins.
But what if you don't have the same ideas about gardening?
Here are some neighborhood yards and gardens that conjure up some interesting solutions.
This gardener used black star gravel and a metal border. To prevent gravel from becoming a problem for the neighbor's lawnmower, they then cleverly transitioned to a black mulch!
I'm not sure I like the stark all-gravel look with a bungalow, but never mind.
These two neighbors have a dramatically different philosophy!
To solve the problem and keep the gravel in its place, they've used landscape bricks and a metal runner.
Note: The nut sedge has already decided to live in the gravel. (Mother Nature hates a void.)
It pains me to admit that one of my neighbors in the next block has a fake yard. 
You are looking at St. Augustine grass on the left and the fake yard on the right. 
The concrete divider comes standard with the fake grass. By the way, studies have found that the fake grass heats up about the same as concrete sidewalks. I've not tested the theory, so let's move on.
The family on the left wanted to plant natives and do away with part of their lawn. 
Landscape bricks separate their planting from the St. Augustine lawn next door.
I liked this idea so much that I borrowed it for my own border problems (which I'll show you at the end of the post).
A small ditch separates these two different mowing philosophies; longer grass on the left and shorter grass on the right.
Both are St. Augustine grass.
Three of the newest homes have Bermuda grass lawns.
I personally do NOT like this type of grass since it is much more difficult to maintain.
As you can see on the left, weeds are a constant battle. If you are next to a standard St. Augustine lawn, you'll need to install a metal strip to prevent the lawns from battling for supremacy. 
Another example. St. Augustine grass on the left and low cut Bermuda grass on the right.
Nothing divides these two types of grasses and this could lead to problems.
Bermuda grass is on the left and something new is on the right. I'll check back in a couple of months to see what happens.
If both houses have no lawn and lots of shade, homeowners like this one plant under story shrubs in a shared bed (left side). The right side of the property has a fence, then gravel next to the sidewalk. I like when neighbors work together. It looks like one endless garden.
I hope you NEVER have to face a boundary problem between you and your neighbor.
But if you do, hopefully this post will offer some solutions to keep the peace.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Soon they'll rename your neighborhood "(No space to) Garden (and not so many) Oaks"! It's a good idea to keep the garden peace with the neighbors. We did make sure ours were okay with the changes. Our new neighbor is a gardener and would like to copy our yard so there is hope for your dream. The unidentified grass in the one photo might be Zoysia since it is finer texture than St. Augustine.

  2. The pictures are so helpful, thank you, David! I've often wondered what kind of boundary we'll create in the front when we start ripping up the turf... there are strange little slivers that are of course, not in a straight line. I'm half hoping that the neighbours won't mind if I plant the way I choose to on "their" slivers. Great pics! Happy gardening!

  3. I like all the positive examples you gave. You can't keep a good gardener's hoping your new neighbors catch the gardening bug!

  4. It's amazing how many people fall out with their neighbours due to mismanaged boundaries. Hopefully you'll have nice new neighbours that do love to garden. Oh and St. Augustine grass looks the best among the lawns you've featured.

  5. Fake grass ~ ick! I like the "shade neighbors" front yard solution the best. Keeping fingers crossed that you end up with a gardener for a new neighbor.

  6. I hope your dreams come true, David! Neighbors in my area fight over views, which are protected under a local statute. Our 60 foot Eucalyptus tree came down in an agreement reached with one neighbor, who'd claimed our tree blocked her view. (She at least paid the cost of removal.)

  7. Like Kris said I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you to get neighbors who are thrilled at the idea of learning from you and want to garden. I wish I knew what kind of lawn I have, it's just inherited with mostly clover. Our front our boundaries are our driveways, convenient I guess, nobody has to try and keep the other at bay. In the back it's fences, they make good neighbors you know...

  8. Great post on a subject I have never seen covered anywhere! Living in a city with houses so close together (my entire lot is 20 feet wide), it generally comes down to what kind of fence to use...

  9. Those are great lessons - a must-send to others. And that gravelscape in the front fake grass, extremes that should not be, with so many options!

    Out west, people see some need to seperate their properties, like they do to own taller trucks than the next person - fences, walls, even if both rock...and often different rocks. Seems builders and developers really drop the ball on that gravel and continuity issue.

    Your excellent examples of what to do and not do - giving me ideas even here.

  10. I'm a big believer in good fences make good neighbors. It is funny how stark some of the transitions from one yard to the next can be. On one side of us a we have a wooded strip (protected swampy low-lands) which acts as a buffer, on the other side we have some sort of grassy easement, but I plan to put a garden border/island there at some point. Thankfully my neighbor on that side is also somewhat of a gardener and quite nice - I hope you get some good gardening neighbors as well!

  11. I, too, hope your dreams come true, David. I got new neighbors last year. They are nice people and the property looks better than it did, but they are into traditional, suburban, chemical warfare gardening. I use wide pathways along the property line in my front yard to avoid (or minimize) the possibility of chemical overspray. I do occasionally find weed and feed fertilizer in my pathways. Oh, hope you are up hill from the neighbors too. It would not be good for your yuccas and agaves if excess water from their sprinklers flowed into your garden. Good luck!

  12. Interesting and thoughtful. The comment by dryheatblog reminds me off how different I found homes in Kentucky while visiting there. Most places did not have fences but shared lawns that kept on going and made it look like everybody was living in a grassy park. Here in Hawaii, and in California, fences rule...especially ugly chain link ones. I guess people like their boundaries in Texas too. Aloha

  13. This does get tricky and you've offered some excellent suggestions. I'm lucky to have neighbors who have the same grass I do so there's no real difference in where one yard ends and the other begins. But if we had totally different lawns, I'd have to use one of your strategies. But I do have a fence that marks off my backyard/garden so there are no questions about the boundaries.

  14. Interesting survey of different methods. My neighbor's crappy ground cover invades the mulch around my tree and I solve the problem with roundup. I hope you get great new neighbors.

  15. I have never heard of fake grass before . . . that beats all! On my list, that would rank up there with an all gravel yard, which I really don't like. Over the years I've matured as a gardener and have gone from a manicured St. Augustine yard to a native plant / little grass in progress type of yard. Since I no longer use chemicals on the grass, the St. Augustine is slowly disappearing on its own.

    This is a great post. Even though I don't have boundary issues (although one neighbor did spray my entire fence line of vines with poison - which will never happen again), I really like some of these borders. You given me some great ideas. Thank you!

  16. What a fun, interesting post! I think that "rigmarole" is a VERY nice word for ongoing construction all summer! Along with the rest, I hope your dreams come true!

  17. I hope you get gardening neighbors too, David. I'd say there's a good chance of that in an in-town neighborhood like yours, with smaller, manageable lots, especially since they'll have the inspiration of your example next door.

  18. Yes, artificial turf gets super hot in the sun! My brother-in-law installed some around his swimming pool, thinking it was safer for small children to fall on than concrete, and cleaner than grass around a pool. You can barely walk on it barefoot in the summer sun!

  19. I found this post through a google search, and am trying to find a boundary that works between neighbors and doesn't cause more work for either of us. I'd like to do a stone border like yours, but that would require that either I weedeat on her side, or that she does. Also, I'm not sure exactly where the line is.

  20. Oh, I meant to ask how it worked out with your new neighbors.

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I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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