Buy YOURSELF flowers to make a good impression on your new neighbors

Guest post by SonyaG
Window box, black shutters, and marble bust, Legare Street, Charleston, SC

We moved into our new house — proud first-time home-owners — a few years ago. I know my neighbors (now!) and they are good people, although of an older generation. A confession from one of them, a few years later, really surprised me, and I thought it deserves sharing. It concerned a tiny detail I had actually forgotten, until my neighbor reminded me of it…

When we moved in, my friend’s mom, who has an enormously amazing garden, kindly gave us four flower-boxes as a house-warming gift.

In the midst of moving, and un-packing and re-organizing our lives, I didn’t think much of it. I hung them from the balcony rails and tried to remember to water them. (I am a horrible gardener, but I figured; I have them, might as well try!)

Without my knowing, those straggly flowers paved the way to good neighbor relations.

See, we didn’t know my new house had previously been rented. To despicable tenants. The kind where drugs, vandalism, and 2am police visits are the norm. They created havoc in a calm neighborhood, and were eventually evicted by court-order. The experience was so horrifying to the home-owner she immediately put the house for sale, rather than risk renting it again. This also explains why we got it so cheap, as she was in a hurry to get rid of it, and to forget a year-long battle with the tenants-from-hell.

My (now) friendly neighbor admitted that the whole street was collectively preparing a “no-nonsense” stance against the new guys moving in (us!). And they were understandably on the defensive seeing another young, possibly wild and disruptive, couple arrive.

Those four plastic containers of colorful blooms apparently put everyone at ease. They gave off a friendly, “we care” vibe that allowed the neighbors to give us a chance.

So if you’re moving somewhere new, I recommend adding a few flowers to the outside of your house. Just a hanging flowerpot or a flower box, like we (not purposely) installed, is reassuring and welcoming to those watching anxiously through their blinds. It really IS the little details that have the biggest impact.

A good first impression just might facilitate your integration into your new neighborhood!

Comments on Buy YOURSELF flowers to make a good impression on your new neighbors

  1. I have been a life long gardener and I have heard through my next door neighbour, (she knows everyone around us) that people are very impressed the transformation our front yard has gone through since I have expanded and added flower beds. The older neighbours all see us as a very motivated young couple because of the things we have done to improve the house and yard.
    We have even been complimented on our crazy choice of trim colours on our house (turquoise with orange details) from some very beige house neighbours and I think it is because they like the fact that we care enough to pay attention to the things happening on the outside of our house, in an old neighbourhood were there some rather neglected houses.

  2. What a great post!

    We are new homeowners too. I have found that spending time gardening can be way to start a conversation with neighbors. Some of our neighbors had roses and raspberries that were growing on our side of the lawn. It was nice to get permission to trim some off for ourselves! Through this conversation we learned some of the history of our house from our neighbors who have lived next door to it for 30 years.

    My parents love to tell the story of their first home in a run-down part of Oakland, California. The first things they did were: 1) fixed the broken slats in the fence, 2) relentlessly picked up all litter within a block of their house, and 3) painted their front door. Apparently, others in the neighborhood started following suit, and the neighborhood transformed within a couple of months.

  3. It’s just nice to see people take care of their plot of earth. It’s encouraging because maybe they’ll extend the same courtesy to my plot of earth and to me!

    I’m in a new development and really enjoy seeing what designs people have for their house and garden. And getting to know all the new neighbors as their houses are completed and they move in. My children are mostly interested in all the machinery that comes our way

  4. Yes! For us it was tearing down the rotten, broken old fence on the front of our property and putting in something new that seems to have really made an impression. While we were mostly focused on having a secure yard for our dog, it also screamed “we care about this place.” We got so many compliments about that fence, and I have no doubt neighbors were relieved to see the days of living next to a vacant property were over.

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