Dear Blake,

I need advice on how to deal with a friend/neighbor’s messy, unkempt backyard. We are getting ready to put our house on the market, and I’m concerned their yard may be a deterrent to potential buyers. Their pool looks like a swamp, and various pieces of lawn furniture are strewn about the yard. Tables are turned upside down and random items are thrown about. They are friends of ours, but I have no clue how to broach such a sensitive topic without upsetting them. Please help.

Signed, Wendell

From Fort Worth, Texas

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Dear Wendell,

Trying to sell a home is difficult enough as it is. But living next to a pig sty makes it even worse, unless your neighbor is a pork farmer. Ok, I think you have several options. Try dropping a subtle hint, like telling him that every time you look at his property, it reminds of the 1970’s sitcom “Sanford and Son”. Pass out flyers to homeless people that says they can camp in your neighbor’s backyard. Once the police are called and order them to leave, those same people will take everything with them that’s not nailed down, to be later used in a local tent city. Or, you can post something on Facebook informing nearby college students that there’s a party next door. And it will be just a matter of time before one of them gets drunk and starts a bonfire, which will hopefully consume all of your neighbor’s trash. But this is probably the best option, shame them into cleaning their place up. Put a for sale sign up in front of their home, with a sign that reads, “This place is perfect for hoarders who genuinely enjoy filth. We come highly recommended by large rats”. And to emphasize your point, you should be able to run the exact same ad in any “rodent loving” PETA publication. I hope this helps.


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