Here’s the scenario: you’re scrupulous about yard maintenance. You’ve got a lawn mowing schedule, and you stick to it. Your neighbor on the other hand…let’s call him a reluctant gardener. Oh, why sugarcoat it? His yard is a mess. His lawn is overgrown, and his flower beds are filled with noxious weeds that threaten to creep into your perfectly manicured yard.

What’s a neighbor to do? This week, one Florida man demonstrated exactly what you shouldn’t do, and that is go over to your neighbor’s house uninvited, start mowing his lawn, and when asked to leave, refuse. What happened next involved the police and tasers.

So if forcible lawn mowing isn’t an option, what’s a neighbor who doesn’t want to live next door to a lawn and garden disaster to do? Here are a few less aggressive suggestions.

  1. Knock on your neighbor’s front door. A little neighborly conversation can go a long way. You can genially suggest that it looks like your neighbor could use a hand with his yard. Next can come a card for a local lawn care service, an offer of help, or your teenager’s phone number (Johnny needs an afterschool job anyway!)
  2. If you have a homeowner’s association to turn to, commencing turning. Some neighborhoods have yard maintenance policies. If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association, take a look at the standards and give the board a heads up about your neighbor.
  3. Build a fence. Good fences make good neighbors, wrote Robert Frost, and it’s true. Should suggestions #1 and #2 fail you, a visual barrier from the unsightly yard can cool your blood pressure and also keep weed seeds from blowing into your yard.