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My parents live on a somewhat busy but narrow two-lane road. Across the street from them lives an old couple whom we're on good terms with; in the past, they've helped us out with things, and we've helped them out. I still say hi whenever I see them.

I recently got home for a break, and found that the couple has hired a landscaping service - really just two guys - to clear their leaves on a regular basis; they're too old to do it themselves. Unfortunately, one of the landscapers has, for the past week or two, decided to use a leafblower to blow the leaves out of their yard and into the busy street and the yards of their neighbors - including, somehow, our yard.

It's actually creating a problem, because now my parents have to deal with more leaves to clean up. Additionally, it might pose a problem for cars driving by: nobody wants to have to brake to avoid flying leaves! My parents and I really want to deal with the problem, and do it before we get too far into autumn.

We could do two things:

  1. Talk to the landscaper directly and explain, in more detail, why what he's doing is annoying. My mom already did this once (very briefly), and he did stop blowing the leaves into our yard - but only for about a week.
  2. Talk to the neighbors themselves. I'm reasonably certain they're not aware of what the landscaper's doing, because the landscaping often happens when the couple is out of the house.

Obviously, there could be another course of action we could take that I've forgotten. There isn't a homeowners' association we could talk to, and at any rate, we don't want to escalate this.

We're not sure what choice would be more effective at this point; we just want the landscaper to stop doing this. At the same time, we don't want to be rude to our neighbors, because they've done a lot for us in the past, and we're on good terms - and I don't think that they're responsible.

What is our best option here?


Miscellaneous clarifications:

  • My parents live in the northeastern United States. Right now, we're approaching peak leaf raking season. We don't use a landscaper; we rake our leaves ourselves.
  • The landscapers appear to be a small company (maybe two or three people), but it looks like only one person - the one responsible for leaf-blowing - has been doing this. We don't know what his status is within the company.
  • A township ordinance states

    No person or persons, firm or corporation shall deposit, spill, throw or dump . . . leaves, or other material . . . upon any publicly-owned property, or highway, street, road . . . or upon any public or private land . . . without the permission of the owner thereof[.]

    This means that, yes, what they're doing does violate township disposal laws; we don't know what the penalty or penalties for doing so are. A related regulation covering littering mentions "lawn or garden waste" as litter.

  • It comes across really rude to move the work to other lawns. Is anyone else in the street doing it? – Bookeater Oct 17 '17 at 15:03
  • @Bookeater Not to this extent, as far as we can tell. Other landscapers have done it on occasion, but this is the most egregious case. – HDE 226868 Oct 17 '17 at 15:04
  • 1
    Is that landscaper working for a company? Does he have a boss you could escalate this to? I'm thinking to ask once more, than a threat to complain and complain... – Tinkeringbell Oct 17 '17 at 15:34
  • In the town where you are living, could authorities fine the landscapers for littering (due to leaves on the street)? – Fildor Oct 17 '17 at 15:48
  • What are the township regulations regarding leaf disposal where your parents live? – anongoodnurse Oct 17 '17 at 15:55
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It's no good talking to the landscapers alone. Your parents should speak to the elderly couple first. It is possible that the landscapers are doing less than the couple is paying them to do.

The landscapers have to put the leaves somewhere, and they have only two options:

(1) blow the leaves off the yard to somewhere else -- your parent's yard or the neighbor's on either side, or the street. The problem can't be solved this way -- it can only be transferred to someone else.

(2) bag the leaves.

The second option takes more time, and consequently is more expensive.

Possibly the elderly couple is under the impression that the leaves are bagged and removed. They may even be paying for this service! Your conversation with the elderly couple should ask about the bagging and removal option.

What to do with the bags depends on the disposal service in your parents' neighborhood. In our neighborhood, we have to take yard trash to the county dump, or hire someone to haul it away. The elderly couple may even be paying for the landscapers to remove the bags.

If the elderly couple is paying for bagging and removal, offer to talk to the landscapers with the elderly couple. The landscapers will find it hard to ignore a simultaneous double-barreled complaint from a neighbor and their employer.

  • This is a very good point; +1. We don't really know what our neighbors expected and are paying for. – HDE 226868 Oct 18 '17 at 0:11
  • You gave me an idea, use the leaves as a resource (ie, compost) see my edit – peufeu Oct 18 '17 at 8:56
5

Talk to the landscaper directly and explain, in more detail, why what he's doing is annoying. My mom already did this once (very briefly), and he did stop blowing the leaves into our yard - but only for about a week.

Did she talk to the boss, or to one of the employees? Maybe the following week, it was a different employee blowing the leaves, so the information was lost.

Anyway, you don't have authority over the landscapers (you're not paying them).

The neighbors however do: if they are not satisfied with the landscapers they can simply do business with another company...

Thus the simplest would be to raise the issue with the neighbors. Don't clean the leaves on your parents' property yet, and show them the heap of leaves. Make sure you don't blame them for it, they probably don't know about it. Just ask them to remind the landscapers to do their job. There should be no problems, since your parents are on good terms with them, it's just a civil discussion between neighbors about a minor annoyance.

You're on the neighbors' side, since they pay for work that is not being done (ie, collecting the leaves and taking them out). If their contractor is cutting corners while billing full price, this company is basically abusing old people...

EDIT:

Extra idea in reaction to ab2's answer: there is another way to remove the leaves, run over them with a lawnmower. This also mows the lawn if needed. The leaves are chopped up, take less bags and are easier to remove, but you can also use them as compost, they will decompose a lot faster when chopped up. If they do that and your parents do some gardening, this could be another solution.

  • 1
    +1 for composting, but I don't think showing the elderly couple a heap of leaves is necessary. As for "just a minor annoyance", maybe! It depends on how many leaves. :) – user1760 Oct 18 '17 at 18:47

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