to wonder if it's too late to stop my neighbours walking through my garden

(261 Posts)
whydidhesaythat Mon 16-May-16 16:19:02

We live in a row of houses that backs on to lovely moorland and the best thing about my house is that our garden has a gate on to the moor. most of the other houses do too but one house doesn't.

There's one small private spot, on a bench, inside a sort of half shed, where no-one can see you I like to potter in the garden

The previous owner of the house-that-doesn't became a dear friend of ours over the years and after we'd known each other about 8 years I told her she shouldn't keep walking round to the end of the road to get on the moor but should just treat our garden as the route.

So, a very pleasant new set of neighbours have moved in and DH, in a fit of welcoming enthusiasm, apparently said "oh feel free to go through our garden" to this complete stranger.

Consequently, I am finding that the family (mum and two girls, mum with friend, au pair with girls) just routinely walk back and forth through my garden.

Yesterday I wanted to go and garden but saw them setting off (after spotting acomplete stranger - the mum's friend, having a good look round) so locked the back gate whilst I was in the garden so there wouldn't be too much of shock when the gate opened (I know it's not a shock shock but some people will understand).

The garden was somewhere I felt safe. Having a family go through it is too much. But what the heck do I do? Dh says he is sorry and will tell them it was a mistake but that will just make me sound like a bitch.

DH of course never uses the garden and has no idea what it is to potter quietly in your safe place.

To explain it, it's not like having someone coming through your bedroom, but it is like someone walking through your hall.

The neighbour is going to think I'm a right cow if I say anything isn't she? Shall I just start accidentally locking it?

what do I do?

CaroleService Mon 16-May-16 16:22:59

Could she put a gate in, or does she not back on to the moor?

whydidhesaythat Mon 16-May-16 16:24:44

that's correct, unfortunately she does not back on to the moor. It's the only house that doesn't and it's a big downside of the house.
She is obviously thrilled that DH has said she can do this.

To make it worse, the garden is often full of my children't older friends, but that's somehow different - these are children I knew as babies, not people I'm still at the making conversation with stage.

limon Mon 16-May-16 16:26:56

Can you start to lock your gate so she gets the picture?

Smurfling43 Mon 16-May-16 16:27:27

Get dh to tell her .

milkingmachine1 Mon 16-May-16 16:27:36

Maybe it would come across better if you spoke to them, rather than your husband. Unfortunately, if you (or your husband) dont say anything it will always bother you.

Say something now before it goes on for too long and then you'll really be stuck!

whydidhesaythat Mon 16-May-16 16:28:21

I was wondering about that.

Is it passive aggressive or is it the only way?

Bloody DH! We re quite close to the other families on the street so I don't want to be a cow but it takes me a while to feel comfy with people.

ThoraGruntwhistle Mon 16-May-16 16:28:49

Put a padlock on the gate. If confronted, say you don't feel secure anymore now that so many people are walking through your garden and it's not a public right of way.

Cocochoco Mon 16-May-16 16:29:08

Yes just say you hadn't realised your dh said that but prefer not to have people walking through

ABCAlwaysBeCunting Mon 16-May-16 16:29:19

I think I'd wait till I next see her and let her know that you're sorry DH gave her the wrong impression, but she can't use your garden to get to the moor any more (heh). No need to make a big deal about how it's your safe space, it's not normal for neighbours to expect to use your garden for access so it's not at all an unreasonable thing to ask.

I wouldn't like it either and if she kicks off then she's the unreasonable one, not you.

whydidhesaythat Mon 16-May-16 16:29:23

do you think we should do something then?

It's the height of rudeness isn't it - to offer something then withdraw it sad
the neighbour hasn't done anything wrong after all

milkingmachine1 Mon 16-May-16 16:30:22

I suppose it depends on what you care more about, having the garden to yourself or how they feel about you.

dudsville Mon 16-May-16 16:31:04

Ooh, that's awkward. I think your obit recourse is to smile loads, apologise loads and tell them exactly what happened, that your dh was being friendly and wad excited to learn how nice they are but didn't realise the impact it would have on you when you want alone time in the garden. This way you are saying everyone meant well but it was your dh's blunder.

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Mon 16-May-16 16:32:48

Poor you. I know what you mean about getting a shock. It's a standing joke in our house that I never hear people behind me and jump in the air when I get a fright! It's funny with the family, but not with strangers.

I'd start locking the gate, if I were you. They might never address it with you and get used to a slightly longer walk.

Or, if they do bring it up with you, act surprised, as if you had no idea DH had offered this and say something like, "Oh goodness, I'm surprised he said that, but no, I'm afraid with the children/the dog/my precious plants (whatever), I couldn't really have that. Let me know if there's an emergency and, of course, I'll let you through. Smile.

If they ask him, he could say something like, oh, I thought you meant as a one-off.

That's what I'd do, although I'd be nervous as I'm such a wuss with confrontation. But you smile, they'll smile and, even if they think you're a bit bonkers, they'll know you're within your rights to say this.

Good luck

redhat Mon 16-May-16 16:33:24

Just lock the gate. Having the conversation will make things awkward. Locking the gate will just make it look like you're security conscious and after a few attempts they'll get used to walking around.

dudsville Mon 16-May-16 16:33:46

Ps,I think in order to have piece of nice you need to make a decision. Imagine the rest of your lives with them walking through your garden!

TheHiphopopotamus Mon 16-May-16 16:33:47

I agree - get DH to tell her. It would piss me off having strangers walking through my garden all the time.

Not the same, but I used to live in an end terrace where next door had right of way for bins etc. through our garden. Except they never used the front door, to the point of blocking their letterbox so the postie had to go round the back, through our garden to deliver. Her kids used to dump their bikes in our garden and never shut the side gate so it banged in the wind. Used to piss me off no end.

whydidhesaythat Mon 16-May-16 16:34:08

dudsville, you may be right.

but this isn't going to end well. fucking husband. how could he make this offer without consulting me? Even having my dear friend suddenly lift the latch used to make me jump and now I semi avoiding the garden

TrickyD Mon 16-May-16 16:34:40

Try lying and say you need to lock it because you have had suspicious looking strangers coming into the garden and resist any attempt to let her have a key.

whydidhesaythat Mon 16-May-16 16:35:12

I'm desperately hoping she is on mumsnet sad
[but doesn't post saying "yes it's me I get the message how rude of you]

OneLongDay Mon 16-May-16 16:37:22

Could you say something due to your new house insurance policy your gate has to be locked to make it valid?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 16-May-16 16:38:44

I think that you might find that if you let people do it too long that they then get presumptive access rights and that would be a PITA if you were going to sell. You could post in legal and check and give that to them as a reason - just say that someone mentioned it to you. It is ok occasionally if they are with you or a guest but just not as a free for all. You would need to apply to all neighbours though.

Nairsmellsbad Mon 16-May-16 16:40:03

Tell her the truth, smile, apologise, move on. Do it sooner rather than later.

weirdsister Mon 16-May-16 16:44:44

I would hate this.
Tell them that you'll be keeping the gate locked in future for security reasons. They can't possibly be annoyed by that. Do your neighbours keep their gates open?

NeverbuytheDailyMail Mon 16-May-16 16:45:45

Your husband told the neighbour that THEY could use the garden - not their au pair, sister, granny twice removed. It's not being precious to expect to at least RECOGNISE people entering your property - how on earth can you distinguish between people who really shouldn't be here and her friends and family! Lock the gate and if anything is mentioned say that you spotted a complete stranger in your garden and it startled you so you are locking it now for peace of mind. That certainly isn't unreasonable!

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