Published On: Sat, Mar 18th, 2023

Mumsnet row over neighbour wanting to use someone else’s garden for her children to play

A grandmother in her 60s told other Mumsnet users how she has a “fairly small three-bedroom house” but a “huge garden” with “quite a bit of land”, and it seems her outside space is the envy of neighbours, as one asked if her children could use the lady’s garden to play.

In a new forum, the grandmother said she bumped into the neighbour in their local supermarket, and the neighbour mentioned her “beautiful garden” and how she had “loads of space”.

The grandmother thanked the neighbour and added her garden “is a good size”.

The neighbour then went on to ask if the owner of the house and garden had any children living at home, which she doesn’t, but she does have grandchildren.

The conversation continued with the neighbour expressing sadness for the grandmother because her grandchildren lived too far away to enjoy her garden.

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In a turn of events, the neighbour decided to mention her autistic children, who “love tree houses and big trampolines” and would “love to use [the women’s] garden if [she’d] be happy” with that arrangement.

The grandmother told the forum: “I was so shocked and said something like ‘We will have to see’. And one I went with my day. Am I being unreasonable to think this is cheek of the highest order?”

Hundreds of Mumsnet users reached out and commented on the situation.

One user wondered if the neighbour had no outdoor space herself, and lived in a flat, hence the request for her children to use the garden. The grandmother explained how the woman “lives in a house” and has a garden which is adjacent to hers.

One comment suggested the grandmother needed to set firm boundaries: “Very cheeky yes but I sort of admire her brass balls of not only tracking you down, but outright asking you.

“You need to tell her straight though otherwise she will continue doing what she wants to. She certainly seems the type.”

Another told the grandmother that the neighbour’s “family situation is not your problem”, and said “whilst it might be a lovely idea on her part, it could cause all sorts of problems”, citing possible injuries.

The initially small request could then lead to more demands like “drinks, snacks and the loo”.

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The comment continued: “A trampoline today, paddling pool, a swing? It could turn into a playground. Don’t start then you don’t need to stop anything. It’s your garden and it’s for YOU to enjoy, not everyone else’s dc to trample over.”

Someone else said: “You didn’t say no. You left the door open. Time to approach her and tell her you’ve thought it over and decided that it’s got to be a no.

“If she wanted a big garden she should have bought a house with a big garden. Not your problem.”

Other users suggested the neighbour was trying to reach out and offer the grandmother with the large garden some company.

Someone wrote: “Cheeky with house/garden envy. Maybe she thought you may like substitute grandchildren…”

Another wondered: “Maybe she thought you were lonely with your kids/grandkids not nearby and was trying to be nice.”

A third chimed: “I don’t think it’s cheeky of her to ask, she has obviously noticed that you have play equipment in your garden and no kids using them. She may think you are missing your own children/grandchildren and would enjoy having kids around. If you’re not happy with the idea you need to clearly say no.”

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