Ali Asks: What Would You Do? 

I’m at my wit’s end, readers. I’m hoping you can help me. I’m about to show you my house and describe it in such a way that if you are in my city you’ll know where I live. So please don’t rob me. I actually have no money – I’m unemployed after all. And don’t stalk me either. I’m really not that interesting.

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We live on the corner of a street, directly across the street from two large elementary schools. There’s no sidewalk on our side of the street, but there’s one on the other.

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And there are clearly indicated crosswalks at the intersection where we are situated that will safely take people across to the sidewalk.

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The issue we are having is that people like to use our property as a through-way to get from one street to another. Next to us is an abandoned church and we have no other neighbours so I guess they assume our lawn is also public property.

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Granted, the side yard is completely undeveloped, largely I think to the fact that there are no windows on that side of the house so nobody’s looking at it. We plan to rectify that in the future (both with windows and some landscaping).

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The side yard will have a full raised-bed vegetable garden, with bunny fencing, of course.

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And a few more strategically placed hedges to keep people from cutting the corner.

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This little shady spot is a popular hangout for people making phone calls and smoking. Which is very annoying as they leave their butts on my lawn. Again, the Pie and I are planning our gardening next summer in such a way that this becomes an awkward place for people to trample across.

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But the huge issue is my driveway. Does it look like a sidewalk to you?

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Because people will use it as such, walking right up and down it, even with my car parked in it and me standing next to my car, ignoring me completely. People will even walk between the car and the house, pretending they don’t see me standing at the huge window staring at them.

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Of course this drives the dog absolutely nuts, which can sometimes interfere with LongJohn’s naptime. Short of sitting on my front porch with my extremely loud dog and a shotgun (which, this being Canada, would get me arrested really quickly), I’m not sure what would be the most effective.

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I’d put up a sign, but nobody would read it. I’ve asked the school to remind their students and staff that the houses in the neighbourhood are not public parks but they’ve asked me to photograph all trespassers for proof (so easy to do when I’m carrying around an infant). So how do I make my driveway unappealing to pedestrians?

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Author: allythebell

A corgi. A small boy. A sense of adventure. Chaos ensues.

36 thoughts on “Ali Asks: What Would You Do? ”

  1. Hi Ally
    That sounds totally annoying and it would drive me crazy!
    If it is at all possible, install some sort of sprinkler. A motion activated one on your driveway would be ideal, except when you forget and walk out there yourself…but a wet grassy area, and a sprinkler that goes on randomly, (especially when people happen to be trespassing!) will deter them a bit. And if you are out there watering, give em a big smile and hello as you don’t shut the water off but maybe sort of absentmindedly, accidentally, kind of hose em a little…well you get the idea.
    Otherwise, may I suggest a fence.
    Good luck, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
    – Nancy

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I feel for you! I am not one to propose fencing, but that is what my advice is to do. Now, for fun: sprinklers. Run your sprinklers at certain times when human traffic is high. The pretty hang out spot (future garden) area will need sprinklers as well and maybe a camera posted. What about talking to the city council? What about air horns to get rude trespassers attention? (If your baby and dog are not happy- sounding that hopefully will get the attention of people, plus it isn’t a shotgun) I found confronting people works- but I understand your child is with you- so bang on the window, go outside and on a bullhorn order traffic to “get off my lawn”. Some extremes : silly string for quietly getting someone’s attention or even mace. Yes: check laws about this first. Booby traps: leave dog poop specifically placed around hang out tree until fence, garden, or cameras can be put up. Compost is good,too. Have you ever considered bee hives? You would need both with your upcoming garden. Also check with the city about these. Those are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Try to keep your beautiful sense of humor. 🙂

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    1. As for planting something tall, pointy, and refusing to be ignored … I would say to plant bouganvillia (spelling?) we had one and it grew with one inch thorns – and caused a wide berth even in winter. Just a thought.

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  3. Hi, have you tried calling the city? I live in Toronto now but was born and grew up in your neck of the province. If you call or email them (attaching a copy of this post) maybe they can at least put up some official signage or chip in for some fencing along the perimeter. Aside from planting poison ivy on your side lawn and leaving a minefield of dog poop in your driveway, not sure how else you’ll keep the trespassers away.

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  4. Oh no! That’s so annoying. I think you’re probably going to have to fence and gate your boundaries and as there’s no sidewalk on your side of the road, people will probably assume that your driveway is a sidewalk. Not that that makes any real sense….

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  5. What seriously?? People are doing that??? I don’t even understand!
    Are you comfortable going out there to talk to people as it happens? I mean, it’s an awkward situation, but I’m sure adults wouldn’t want others doing this to their property as well.
    My initial reaction aside from talking to them is to plant poison ivy though….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fencing sound like the only answer to me. Don’t wait do it now. If they can’t get to it to walk they will soon get the idea. Being on a corner makes it difficult, people always want to cut across corners. Good luck. I’m sure it’s very annoying. Love the sprinkler idea.

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  7. Since I rent a pile of junk that I call home, I look at your house and only wish I could call that my home. I know that it makes the dog bark but, it looks like others are enjoying your beautiful home too. The less said to people the about invading your space would probably keep your home safe. If people are talking on their cells on your driveway than it looks like someone is home.
    My neighbor next to me smokes more drugs then anyone I have ever known and the guy across the street sells drugs to every homeless person who rides up on their bikes, a lady shot two people a few houses away a few months ago because she didn’t like the people at the party. Why do I stay? Because I have never been robbed here.
    Neighbors, sometimes we wonder where they came from and who raised them..lol

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha I loved your intro! I would honestly do exactly what you said you are going to do.. make a garden, and landscape it all in a way that it looks like it belongs to your home! There’s really not a whole lot that can be done, unfortunately. Definitely take pictures like the school says if you just happen to see someone on your property, but don’t feel like you have to camp out there. Ugh this would be so frustrating if I were in your shoes. I’m sorry!

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  9. Hmm. Putting gates across the open ends of the driveway is a big pain and expense. How about making a 2-brick wide ‘path’ that runs between the ends of the drive? People with baby buggies will still use your drive, tho, as it is wider. And unless the jump to brick and back is totally flat, cyclists will use the drive too. What type of trespassers do you get?

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    1. Mostly families with kids going to the school across the street. It’s just weird because it’s not easier to use our driveway. All the sidewalks are on opposite sides of the street, making it more ergonomic to get to the school.

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  10. So many good ideas here- but until you can get the fences etc, try just stakes with string, marking off the whole corner. You could hang signs from it or not, but they would have to climb over it to get to your yard- maybe they would think twice? As for signs – things that look ominous like poison warnings might work. Like you treated the lawn with something scary? Or typhoid quarantine signs… Get their attention!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My first thought would be to extend the wall beside your garage/driveway out toward the street to make a 1-2 foot high barrier that people would have to climb over. That might be a problem though because you probably don’t “own” that part of the property, your property line is probably about where the wall currently ends, about 10′ from the road edge. I would also say that if your driveway was a different colour (yes it is possible), it might make it clearer that it is private property but that would probably also be quite expensive. I think a sprinkler running at the busiest times and in the most “popular” locations might work and be the least invasive. I’d personally hate the cigarette butts as much as the inappropriate foot traffic.

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  12. I am so sorry! I think I’d go with a fence. My parents have a corner lot, and the bus stop is on the corner. It took years of my dad going out and fussing at the high schoolers before they would stop leaving trash and stuff in our yard (even when I was out there with them!). We still have people who cut the corner through the yard, but thorny bushes and fencing really were the only thing that made a difference. Even though the fence doesn’t go all the way to the corner, it goes far enough that they use the sidewalk (mostly) now. I hope you can get it all figured out!

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  13. I like the motion activated sprinkler idea, my neighbor uses one to keep the deer out of his garden. I would place it in the side yard. The best solution I can think of is removing the portion of your driveway that arches from the street around the tree. This would leave you with a small straight portion of drive that goes from the street to the garage. You could then perhaps do some landscaping in that area. Also, if you can’t build the small wall along the edge of your drive like Cathy suggested maybe some plants that won’t block your view could serve the same purpose. I would be cautious of doing anything that might cause things to escalate. Good luck!

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  14. One more thought: if you do tear up the arch around the tree, try to take a wee while to do it. DON’T be efficient, no one will want to walk over rubble and if it sits for a couple of weeks or three it might be long enough to reprogram their pattern. 😉

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  15. That is so annoying. There is a similar problem at one of the elementary schools in my town. The home owners eventually started putting up small traffic cones across their drive ways. This seemed to eliminate the problem. I hope that helps.

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  16. HI there. I like the idea of putting in a moat. But if that’s a bit much then maybe a temporary fence until you can do better. One by one inch posts with string. (I think someone mentioned it already) A sign that says “Please stop smoking and leaving your buts here. My dog eats them and gets sick.” I’ve seen that before and if I were a smoker I’d feel bad about the dog. Or “under surveillance, no trespassing.” or “DON’T WAKE THE BABY!!!” or “Toll $1.00 or stay off the grass!” Some are more serious than others I guess but they get the point across. Still a moat would be nice.

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