A Renter’s Garden
Hi everyone! I've been reading this community for months, while laying dormant through the winter, but now that Spring is here, I'm getting anxious to start working in the yard. I currently rent a wee apartment with a moderate sized backyard, with areas that I can use for flower gardens. The lawn is in pretty dismal shape, being that the drainage is just not so good, I suspect. The lawn just seem damp always, and the grass isn't very healthy. Hopefully dethatching and laying down new seed will help! I've got a lot of ideas for the yard in general, like amending the soil and putting in some nice plants, as well as possibly building a paver walkway since I currently trudge through dirt (or mud) to get to my door. But I have a few OTHER situations that I'm not sure how to handle. First, there is a pretty gnarly wood fence on one side of the property and just the other day, the neighbor on the other side was complaining to me that my landlord should replace the fence, but then actually said to me "Would YOU be willing to pay for half of the fence?". Now, I have to admit that I was a bit offended. This neighbor owns his property, and knows my landlord, so I wondered why he was asking me to pay for a replacement fence? I know typical rule on this is that each property owner pay half. I would love to see a new fence, so should I mention this to my landlord in the hopes that he contacts the other guy to get one? Secondly, I have upstairs neighbors who are not very....tidy. Last summer when they moved in, directly after I'd done a MAJOR cleanup of the yard and surrounding areas, they dumped a bunch of misc. lumber and building supplies all over the place, and have not touched these things since then. A huge pile of lumber is laying on a flower bed that I'd like to use. Should I ask the neighbors to clean up, or should I tell me landlord to ask them? Would making suggestions to my landlord about their behavior be inappropriate? Finally, I'm willing to do a lot of work in that yard, and probably put much of my own money into doing so...but is it appropriate at all to request a discount on rent if I'm doing stuff to improve the property? My landlord is a pretty nice guy, and he has told me before if I ever wanted to paint the inside or something, that I could take a bit off the rent, but I'm not sure if that extends to the yard. I'm just not sure of the manners around all of these situations. Any advice is welcome. And I really love reading everyone's posts & gardening tips. This community is wonderful!