24 July, 2009

The "Leave It, Leave It" House

The day lilies I planted in the back yard this year look like this. Lovely, no?

The ones in the front yard, close to the side walk, not so lovely:

That is the direct result of being urinated on ever single day, several times a day, by passing dogs. In addition to several clumps of flowers, we lost three bushes on this same corner.

I really don't understand some dog owners. I mean, what makes them think it's acceptable to let their dogs stomp all over your yard and pee on the flowers? It's hard enough trying to keep anything growing under the parkway trees, and I'm almost ready to give up on those hostas. But what drives me crazy, what really makes me want to throttle people, is when they let their dogs wander all over our actual lawn and foundation gardens. Nobody needs to let their dog out on a fifteen foot retractable lead. I looked out the window of my basement office the other day, just in time to see a little white dog peeing on a flower next to my window. Yup, it had to wind it's way between some bushes, across a small grassy bit, to pee on the flowers in the foundation bed.

Some neighbors have the utmost respect for gardens; when they approach a house with landscaping they reel their dog in, make it heel, and walk by without letting the dog trample anything. One woman laughingly calls our place the "Leave It, Leave It House," because she's trained her dog to leave all the beds alone. When they approach, he automatically walks beside her. So a special thanks to the Leave It, Leave It woman and others like her.

As for the others, nothing seems to get through to them. Not polite requests, not yelling out the window. Nothing. I even caught a guy letting his dog pee on the "no dogs" sign in one of the flowerbeds.

And so we're trying a new strategy of setting up a low fence around the flower bed I'm currently working on. I've never been overly fond of such things, but I am tired of buying new plants all the time.

Remember the eye-sore I told you about a few days ago?

I raked up the rest of the grass and tried to even out the soil. Either the sidewalk had sunk over the years, or dirt built up, because pulling up the grass showed that the top of our lawn was--I'm not kidding--nearly five inches above the sidewalk.

The wrought iron fence I'm putting up is about 9 inches high, and very sturdy. We bought 55 feet or so of it, and I'll get the rest of it up tomorrow, going down the length in front of the purple Diablo Ninebark bushes. I decided to take it in a bit, rather than have it against the sidewalk. We get massive amounts of snow in winter, and I didn't want to be striking it with the shovel.

I would like to plant some kind of ground cover between this little fence and the sidewalk. Something thick and spreading and highly resistant to dog urine and trampling. On my next trip to the nursery I'll ask them for advice, but if anybody has a suggestion, I'd appreciate it. I was thinking stonecrop or something; just need to find out if it's pee-proof.


Karen Anne said...

That must be so frustrating. I used to think it was bad to find piles of dog poop in my old yard, but I didn't have plants dying.

I had the yellow form of Lady Banks rose in my sidewalk area, sheered down to 2-3 feet. It doesn't look like a regular rose plant:

But it might not be hardy in your area.

Joanne said...

Those are lovely.

Andy said...

I think you should call the cops on the people. In your 'burb, they might actually get there quickly enough to catch the person down the block...or at least go out there with the phone and threaten that, and then pretend you're calling the cops.

Maybe that will get through to them.

Andy said...

Another alternative, that my friend's dad once did (but really only works with poo): Apparently, some guy let his dog poop on their lawn all the time. So one time, he went out there immediately after it happened, picked it up in a bag and followed the guy to his house. He then told the guy that the bag belonged to him and his dog and emptied it out right there on the guy's grass.

Of course, my friend's dad is also a cop, so he's a little more brash and courageous than most. :) And that would be hard to do with pee.

Lady Quilter said...

Andy _ I love your friend's dad following with the bag of poo. I've actually looked out the window in time to see a teenage boy , from next block, let his yellow lab poo and start to walk away. I called out the window "please clean that up!" He said he didn't have a bag, After telling him to wait I ran out to hand him one. Kid look puzzled, like how do I do this? Of course I left him to figure it out. After all I did provide the bag. While the kid struggled with the concept the leash dropped from his hand letting dog trot off, finally coming back. Bottom line . . did he learn a lesson here? No. Next day they were back, letting dog pee on hostas. What's next? Do we need to sit on porch with a shotgun?
Funny thing too is there is a city ordinance stating fines for not cleaning up after your dog. Signs are even posted every few blocks. I wonder if I can get the city to stick one of those signs in front of our house.
Box Mom

Joanne said...

City services do come out here freakishly fast, sometimes even before I get the chance to call. When our flower pots were smashed, the police showed up at the door just as I was dialing, because another neighbor had already reported it for us.

I'm hesitant to call the police about this yet, stubbornly thinking that I'll be able to come to a rational solution. People in this neighborhood seem to stay a long time; 40, 50, 60 years is not uncommon. One person just went into a nursing home who had lived here since the neighborhood developed some 70-80 years ago. I'd like to develop good neighbor relations with everyone, without being the one to call the cops.

However, I do like the idea of following them home, and have contemplated it. I don't know if I have the moxie, though.

Debra said...

Oh, I hate it when the neighbors let their 5 dogs go poop in my yard, cause I have to shovel it up before mowing. (I usually toss it over the fence back into their yard as they don't mow, EVER) I really hate it when I don't see the poop and accidently run over with the mower... eww gross!!

All of my flower are all dead looking too... I didn't even think of them peeing on them... hmmm

Karen Anne said...

It occurs to me, that boy sounds clueless - what about showing anyone you notice what your backyard daylilies look like and what the front ones look like, maybe that will make an impression.

Debra said...

Green Fairy,
Thanks for the comments on my blog. :)

I do have ideas for the other rooms in my future house.

One will be my room, then Jewells room, and a craft/office room. Then, in the back of the house is the maids quarters... it will be my storage room because that way I can show off the house without them having to see all my junk. lol

Right now I never let anyone see my rooms because I have so much stuff! The 3 bedroom rental I have has very tiny rooms. I had to let my daughter use my king size bed in her APARTMENT because the master bedroom here is too small for it! So, it will be nice to have 4 rooms, plus two huge walk in closets. This house only has tiny closets. eeek

modernemama said...

I wish there were a plant that peed back at them!

Jennifer said...

One thought... MOTION SENSOR SPRINKLERS... that sprinkle the sidewalk if there is motion in the garden. :) Bet it won't take more than twice for them to NEVER let the dogs in your yard again.

Or, get a couple of these:

I hate those people, too. I have two dogs, whom I have trained both to poo and pee on command, and who do it either in my own yard, OR on the bike path (city property, totally natural area)... preferably in the dirt area under the city supplied poopy bags by the trashcan. I never let them poo and pee (or even WALK) on other people's property. I don't really understand how other people can be so RUDE about it. Sorry you have to deal with it.

Joanne said...

Jennifer--What a hoot! That's the EXACT sign we have in the yard. Actually, there's two of them, and I've already seen one of the signs get peed on.

I like Modernemama's idea of something that pees back. :-)

Lady Quilter said...

modernemama - I agree with Joanne, something that peed back would be a hoot! We didn't have this problem at our old house, then again people didn't walk their dogs all that much, just turned them loose in the backyards.
Box Mom

Anonymous said...

Since finding something that pees back on them isn't likely the next best thing might be the motion sensor sprinklers - I've seen them for scaring deer out of your yard. Not sure if they would be sensitive to small dogs or only Great Danes & such!

Good luck with it all - hope you can find a dog resistant ground cover. I always like Asiatic Jasmine - but not sure if it will grow up north.


Joanne said...

Oh, I like the Asiatic Jasmine; unfortunately, we're Zone 5, so it wouldn't survive up here. I was thinking of trying periwinkle. My cousin has it growing at his place across town. There's a bush planted in the middle of it that gets peed on by his neighbor's dog every day. The bush is fried, but the periwinkle seems okay.