Q: My new house has 15 feet of space between our house and our neighbor’s house. On our garage side, we have five feet of land, which goes to the lot line. The neighbor has the remaining 10 feet of land, which runs from the lot line to her house.
We have a brick paver walkway running the length of our property from the rear of our house to the front of our house up to our driveway.
The landscapers used a slurry mix of lime and aggregate to hold in the pavers, and new sod was put down on our neighbor’s side of the lot line to help keep the pavers in place.
Our neighbor put in a decorative plastic fence run last summer parallel to the walkway. The posts were dug about 6 to 8 inches back from the walkway and the fence was installed.
We had a strip of sod remaining to help hold in our pavers which was fine.
Last August, while we were at work, the neighbor removed the remaining sod from our side of the fence, exposing the pavers now to the elements and soil erosion. She installed diamond edging along our side of the fence, using our walkway to accomplish this.
The edging runs down the length of the fence and leaves a 3 to 4-inch line of dirt next to our paver walkway.
Once the fence was installed, doesn’t the neighbor relinquish her rights to maintain the side facing us as the property line has been offset by those 6 to 8 inches?
She is under the impression she can disrupt our side as well as the lot line that runs up to the brick walkway. And, she insists she owns those 6 to 8 inches.
Where do we stand on this for a resolution as our walkway is starting to become loose in areas.
A: While I sympathize with your walkway coming undone, I think you’re getting unnecessarily riled up about this situation.
First, we’re talking about your neighbor’s land. In your letter, you indicated that your walkway goes right up to the lot line. That means everything on the other side of your walkway belongs to your neighbor: the sod, the fence, the dirt, and possibly even the edging she put against your walkway to keep it in place.
Just because your neighbor installed a fence does not mean that she has given up the right to her 6 to 8 inches of land running from the fence up to the lot line.
To the contrary, she is actually actively maintaining that property. You may need to talk to an attorney to give specific information on this issue.
Now to your point, she’s not been particularly neighborly in her pursuit of supreme landscaping. A nice neighbor would have come over, knocked on your door, offered you homemade cooking and asked if she could talk to you about some landscape issues she’s having.
Instead, you describe a situation where she may have had the landscapers lying in wait until you popped into your car that August day and headed for the office.
But let’s get back to you: It’s not her fault that whoever installed your landscaping told you that sod would be the key ingredient to a long-lasting walkway. When I installed my own brick paver walkway, we used edging and sod and I can only hope that’s enough to keep it in place.
To be fair, your neighbor apparently made a good faith effort to keep the walkway together, and she may not be aware that it isn’t working.
So, you can bring her a plate of homemade cookies and after she eats one or two, you can bring her over and show her the situation. Or, you can hire a landscaper to come in and drive deeper stakes into the edging to hold it in place.
It sounds like a lack of communication, not to mention calories, is contributing to the situation. But I’m betting you can fix that.
Published: Feb 5, 2007