Neighbors Playing in Our Yard

Updated on June 01, 2011
C.J. asks from Sachse, TX
24 answers

The children in our neighborhood have always played out in the front due to our backyards being very sloped. This past fall we had our peach trees removed which made our yard the only one in the neighborhood with no trees in the front yard. Before the removal of the trees most of the play was out in the street, or in the yard of one of the children playing. Now the play is in our front yard. We are not all too happy when the children are playing in our yard. Both my husband and I were taught not to go into others yards when we were growing up. We have no problem with them playing in our yard if they are playing with our children, or if they were coming into the yard to retrieve a ball that got away from them.

Our main concern is if we are responsible for any injury that is obtained while playing in our yard. We don't know the parents of all of the children so we don't know what the chances are of someone taking action against us if their child does get hurt. Our ground is not level all the way across the yard, and their favorite game to play is football which ends up becoming tackle football. (Which our children are way to young to play.) Tonight we had to dodge them to just get out our front door to go on a walk, and dodge them again to get back into our house. Then we had to go to our backyard to play with our children because our front yard was already taken by the bigger neighborhood children. Also, if our grass is going to get worn out by being played on we would like it to come from our children. We take time and pride in trying to make our grass look as good as we can.

Does anyone have a good way to let the children know that they are not welcomed to play in our yard without sounding like the old lady with the rolling pin chasing the children off her lawn? Thank you for any ideas to help us resolve this situation.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the suggestions. We are relieved to see that our feelings on this subject are not too off. We really like the suggestion of telling them they are not allowed to play in our yard when we are not outside. This is a great way to start to handle this situation. We also feel this is the best way to keep encouraging them to keep playing outside since most children like to stay inside to watch television all day. If this does not work then we will have to take it to the parent level. We really hope we don't have to go that high because the parents we do know could care less as to what their children are doing as long as they are not in their hair.

As for putting up a fence it is not possible because our town doesn't allow fences in the front yard that would be high enough to keep them out. Thank you again for all of the wonderful suggestions.

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Embrace the Old Lady within. (I love my inner Old Lady.)

"Hey, Kids,I'd appreciate it if you would go play at your own house. Our yard is private property and we don't want kids playing in the yard. No more playing in our yard guys. Thanks."

Then watch them until they leave.

I don't think you can be any more polite and direct. If you are having a difficult time managing your own space, it might be time to watch where the kids head home to, and then just talk with the parents. I'm sure they would understand that their children are not being considerate.

And yes, if you know the kids are playing on uneven turf and don't put a stop to it, you could be sued.

Another remedy would be to print up a short, neighborly letter explaining the situation and claiming that you will not be responsible for the safety and well-being of the children who persist in using your yard, despite your requests not to. Perhaps these parents will have a nice conversation with their children about private property and what that means. And this might protect you legally, if neighbors had been informed.

Fences make great neighbors.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Turn on the sprinklers... nicely tell them not to play in the yard without your permission and explain why... seriously, if you want to play in your yard just yell, "Okay everyone, you all need to go home and play at your own house, those are our rules." If it doesn't work then talk to their parents.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Politely but firmly tell the kids that they are not to play in your yard. You don't have to give a reason. It is your yard. When you give reasons, you're opening the discussion for arguments. for example: we'll leave when your kids come out or we won't sue.

You will have to do this several times. As long as you remain friendly there shouldn't be difficulties. If you know any of the parents, or now might be a good time to get to know your neighbors, talk with them about wanting kids to not play in your yard.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Just go out and talk to the kids nicely. Kids I know you like to play in the yard buy I am sorry to ask you to play at your house or a park. Sorry but we prefer you play at your house. Gently remind them of this 3-4 times as needed. If they ignore you or are disrespectful then go to their parents. You really don't have to give them a reason. Just say that you prefer that they not play football in your yard and ask that they talk to their kids as you already have. Start off gently and go from there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

How strange!!! I've never heard of such a thing. What do the kids say, "Hey mom, I'm going to play in the random neighbors' yard!" I don't know why this strikes me as so odd, but it does!! Totally not appropriate for them to be playing on your lawn. I could see it if they were small kids and their yard adjoined with yours and they didn't always stay exactly on their lot, but this sounds ridiculous! You say they're bigger kids, so I think you should tell them that they need to play in their own yards - you should not have to dodge footballs to get into your own house! Hilarious... I still can't believe parents are allowing this!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we have the same problem in our neighborhood. we have swings on our tree and all the neighbor kids swing on them. i do not know the parents of many of the kids and they have totally destroyed our lawn. so, when we are not outside no one is allowed in the yard and i simply tell them that. "sorry kids when we aren't out you have to find somewhere else to play." they all say ok and go. it's ok to sound like the old lady with the rolling pin so that your own kids can enjoy their yard:) good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would not turn on sprinklers or put toys out or pay for a fence. I would simply and politely tell the children, the next time they all come over, that they may not play in your yard unless they ask permission first. Occasionally, let them, when it is convenient for you. Maybe even introduce yourself and your kids and get to know them a little bit. If you respect them, they are more likely to show you respect. You may even have a whole group of kids who will look out for your little ones when they are old enough to be out alone. Turn this into something positive for everyone. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would voice your concerns with the parents. Explain it to them exactly how you laid it out here. Ground rules are the basis to a happy neighbor hood. When we had neighbors next door to us last summer it took about two weeks to get it through their heads they could not walk into our garage just becuase the door was up. I then had to speak to their mom about it.

I have since gone as far as making all the neighbors sign waivers that I am not responsible in the event their kids are hurt on our property. I dont mind being the neighborhood house to hang at. I just had to learn to put my foot down. I was major concerned one of their kids would walk into our back yard with out my knowing and get hurt. they never felt the need to tell me if they were back there. There were a few mornings that I was shocked to hear them out chattering by our fire pit.

Chances are these kids dont have alot of ground rules to follow at home. They have not been taught to stay out of others front yards. It is not fair you would have to fence your yard in, to keep this from happening. If you see them out there, give them one warning. If they choose not to listen, escort them home and have a firm yet calm talk with the parents. The kids are only part of the equation. It starts with the parents.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i would not call the cops, put in a sprinkler or make up lame excuses.
why can't simple honesty be the default position?
kids aren't stupid, and most of them are reasonably deferential to adults. simply go out there and say 'hey guys! glad you're having fun on this pretty day, but i need you to go play in your own yards. thanks!'
no excuses. no lies. no rudeness. no drama.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

build a high, pointed, iron, gated fence.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

i would put up a fence. are you on the corner? or just one of a row of houses? It is absolutely not your responsibility as part of a neighborhood to have all the kids in your yard. kids should play in their own yards. would my neighbor like it if I decided i wanted to hold a cookout in his yard instead of mine? I don't think so. yes kids are part of a neighborhood but that doesn't meant they own it or your yard. go out each and every day and tell the kids they have to go play in their own yards. Send them home repeatedly and do it now while they are young enough to listen. dont wait till they are all teenagers and expect to have the yard to play in. your not wrong for wanting to have your yard to yourself.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

How about planting some inexpensive bushes here and there in your front yard? That way you could ask the kids not to come play because you're growing things.

And yes, you could be held liable if anyone is hurt on your property. It's called responsibility for "known trespassers". You know that these children are on your property, but still have hazards like uneven ground, so you're liable if they get hurt. Even if you send a letter to all of their parents saying you aren't liable, legally... you still are.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I read all the posts before commenting and Momma L said exactly what I was thinking. Put in a sprinkler system and set the timer to come on at the times they seem to arrive. Come summer they might like it and you'll be out of luck, so I'd just go out and ask them to please go play in their own yards and let your grass grow. We happen to be the house on the street with the street light and in good weather late at night we can hear kids in the street playing baseball and skatboarding and riding bikes in the light. It isn't on our property but it sure can be noisy when we have the doors open and want to enjoy a relaxing evening in our own home. I wouldn't like it at all if they were to actually be IN my yard. I'd hose em off!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I don't mean to sound like a b!tch, but you kind of have to deal with it. Part of living in a neighborhood, is having neighbors, which means you will have to put up with some things that you would rather not. If you don't want the kids in your yard, then talk to them and/or their parents about it. Hopefully, they understand, if not, then you will just have to deal with it. FYI, you should carry a sizeable homeowner's policy that would cover any lawsuits regarding injuries that occur in your yard. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

Maybe you could put up some nice looking, but cheap fencing around your yard. Heck, even planting some flowers around the border might deter them from just running straight through. It sounds like they are attracted to the open-ness of your yard, so enclosing it would probably make it not so appealing to them.

When your kids are out, tell them that it's 'family time' and that no one else can play at your house right now. Or if your kids are younger, tell the kids that they are playing too rough for your kids and need to play somewhere else. It's not 'old lady-ish' if it's the truth!

Ooor, you could come up with some stupid excuse... "Hey guys, we just sprayed bug poison all over the grass, you shouldn't play in it for a while!!!" Ooor, "Hey guys, we just put some new seed down, and it can't be walked on for a few weeks". The main downside is then you can't play in your yard either without looking hyprocritical...

Or, one last option.. take it to the parents. Call them up, and politely tell them what you just posted here. Tell them that while it's OK once in a while, the liability and damage to your lawn are causing you trouble. It's their responsibility to keep track of their kids, and teach them respect for other's property anyway.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Up front way: Write up a letter that the parents have to sign saying that you are not in any way liable for any injury that happens on your property and that they are willing to pay for damages to YOUR property based on what you consider a damage and what you decide it is worth.

Passive way: Put childrens toys out in the yard like a play house or swing set or start planting trees in the yard.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

This happens in our neighborhood too. The kids are all around the same age and friends with my children. We have had instances where the kids have just walked into the house to play. I feel like we sometimes have a NEON sign on top of our house saying "WE ARE HOME-COME OVER"!!! I don't think these kids were ever told to respect other peoples property, so when we aren't around or don't feel like entertaining the neighborhood kids - I just tell them we aren't playing today and they just say Ok and go somewhere else. I think you will be surprised at how easy it is to tell them to leave.

Good Luck and I would be as frustrated as you all...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Tracy is an insurance agent in TX and I'm one in AZ. Med payment to others may not be enough to cover the claim and depending on how serious the injury, 100k may not be enough either. So my point is, yes, if they are injured on your property, you can be held responsible. And don't think they won't go after every penny they can get! So I would just step outside and say, hey, if my kids aren't out here, I really don't want you guys playing in our yard. If they kids don't get it on their own, I would just mention it to the parents. Its your right to protect your property. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

try and post SIGNS on your property... stating NO Trespassing.
Or you will call the Cops.
And that it is PRIVATE PROPERTY.

Yes, liability is a biggie!
Since it is on your property, you will be liable.

Or, can you just fence up your property???
I would do that.
Just put up a perimeter fence.

I would be irked too!
You can't even play in your own front yard!!!

Or, simply call the cops and say there is trespassing.
I would.

That would nip it in the bud, real fast.
And you don't have to go outside door to door, like a Politician, trying to explain it to every house with a kid that comes over to your house.
Gets from Point A to Point B, real fast.

You SHOULD NOT have to, DODGE kids just to get out of your front door, on YOUR property.

Don't you see? They are bullying up, your home and property and you all. You are, at their whims and knowing... they are in someone else's property.
And you all can't even be in your OWN front yard and have to be marginalized into your own back yard???
This is.... really, out of hand.
They are bigger kids too, as you say.

You are being ousted- from your own property.

Why don't your Husband, go out there and tell them to leave?

Call the Cops.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

That would annoy me. But you dont have to worry about injury or action being taken against you. I'm an insurance lady in Texas, so, I'm just going to address the liability part. Your home owners insuarnce has a bare minimum of $1,000, but probably closer to $3,000 coverage for medical payments to others. If anyone other than a family member hurts themselves on your property that coverage would cover them. It's just a simple homeowners claim. In Texas, they can't legally raise your homeowners rates for filing a claim and there would be no deductible. So, it wouldn't cost you anything at all. If the injury is greater than that coverage and they felt you were negligent, they could file against your liability and that portion is a minimum of $100,000. SO, I think you're covered for any little whoopsiedo the kids might have. Call your agent and be sure you have the higher amount for medical payments. It only costs $15 per year to increase that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

well I just have to say, about what SH said, I would not personally do that, especially if they are bigger kids. They will retaliate!! What I would personally do, is to just ask them if they could please only come play at your house if you and the kids are outside. Explain to them that if you are inside, you are having QUIET time, and the noise outside disturbs the kids when they are trying to take a nap, etc. You said your kids were too young to play tackle football, so I am assuming that maybe they have quiet time. Just be happy go lucky when you talk to them, and you may have to keep reminding them of this until it is a habit for them to go to their next play area. And also if your husband talks to them, maybe a male figure will have a more positive outcome. You know sometimes having a dad talk to you might scare you!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have no advise or help but I do have sympathy and understanding. I agree with you neighbor had a child hurt his ankle playing in their backyard and they were approached by the parent to help pay for the X ray or file it with homeowners insurance. So you are correct to protect yourselves!

On another note I was also taught it was rude unless invited to play on other people property...including driveway! The kid across the street from us always goes back and forth driveway to driveway on his bike...and he runs into our garage door from time to time. My hubby is MAD!

Good luck and I am sure if you approach it from a medical, money, "I would hate for your child to get hurt", so on the parent would understand. I would understand at least.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Sigh* I could have written your post and almost have on several occasions. :(
All I can say is...good luck.
We have tried telling them to stay out of our yard and away from our vehicles and they (and the mom next door) just look at us like we have aliens climbing out of our ears.
I dread having to leave the house if they are all out there because they DON'T LISTEN and I am afraid I am going to back over one of them.
Last summer I told them all to get out of the driveway and stay put so I could back out and one boy is running behind my van while I'm moving.
Same scenario when I pull in.
Sorry. I'm venting.

But I thank you for posting-at least I know we are not alone. DH and I constantly worry we're gonna be taken to People's Court. Lol.
And the insurance info is helpful!
If we stay in our house I plan to plant a oak. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

It is funny that you have experienced unwanted children in your yard. My husband and I have talk to the neighbors kids about playing in our yard. Unfortunately, we had to take it to the parents and the topic offended the parents, when it was brought to their attention. They became deffensive about their children playing in our yard, and made excuses. Apparently, because " they are just kids", their kids have an excuse to be on our lawn. They argued property lines with us, and where very rude.

My husband and I did not back down and we stood our ground. Its as if we where making up the fact that their children have been in our yard. They even made personal attacks as if they knew us. Ha! Can you believe that? We where concern if the children ever got hurt, and we did not want to be responsible. One of the parents made a statement that they would never sue us if their child got hurt in our yard, but how should we know this. It is really sad how a peaceful request turn into a blow up. I made sure I left the discussion in a peaceful manner, but we are definitely keeping to ourselves. I truly doubt that the children will be in our yard again. I wish it did not have to come to a boiling point. People don't respect each other anymore, and they are teaching their kids to do the same thing. My advice if you could get a peaceful third party involved, like the police or Home Owner Association, I would do it. Try and be annoynomous, because people are retarded.

Next question: Front Yard Playset

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

More Questions About