Trouble in Paradise

What could possibly go wrong in a place where sunsets like this happen every day in your backyard?


Well, if you’re Chris, you could come home to THIS in your backyard one day instead.


Allow me to explain…

When we moved into this house, one of our favorite features was the privacy of the fenced in backyard. Not only was there a fence for the dogs, but there was high shrubbery all around.


And we loved that. For one thing, it meant the dogs couldn’t see every time a neighbor was out in their backyard, so it kept them a little quieter. But mostly what we loved about it was the privacy. I could squeeze my big ol’ preggo self into a little bathing suit (not unlike a sausage casing, really…) and then I could plop myself down in the pool on eight or nine foam noodles and no one could judge me. Because no one could see me. It also meant that at night, we didn’t worry about closing blinds or anything silly like that because no one could see in through our shrubbery.

A couple days ago, I got a short little email from our property manager. It said: “Hi Katie, the yard crew will be coming by on Thursday and Friday to trim the hedges in the backyard. Just letting you know.”

Wonderful! As you can see from the picture, the shrubs were getting a little fat and they needed to be cleaned up a bit.

We had already planned that when the shrubs were cut back a bit, we were going to put white lights in all the bushes so that at night it would be all lit up real nice and pretty-like. And then Southern Living Magazine would come out and do a photo shoot out in our backyard. And we’d all wear navy gingham (except Chris who would just wear khakis, a white shirt, and a navy blazer) and serve a ridiculously luxurious picnic out amongst the fireflies in our big, private backyard.

Okay, so maybe that last part was really just MY plan…

But today, we came home to mass devastation in our backyard.


Hidee Ho there, Neighbor! (name that TV show staring my junior high heart throb…)


And hello to you, Neighbor on the Other Side…


Now, I ask you. How in the world is Southern Living Magazine going to come out and do a gingham photo shoot in my backyard with this crap laying around and with those choppy, wimpy little shrubs sticking up out of the ground?

While I was sort of bummed about our backyard massacre, I went on about my evening. I had a hungry child to feed and a pack of crackers to throw up, after all. But I thought I was going to have to sedate Chris. Or shoot him with a tranquilizer gun. Or tazer him. (Not that I own a tranquilizer gun or a tazer… Actually, I don’t even have any sedatives, so really my only option was to knock him upside the head with a frying pan.)

He was horrified at our loss of privacy. Horrified. Outraged. Irate. It wasn’t pretty.

They are coming back tomorrow to clean up the mess that’s out there, but hauling the debris away isn’t going to give us back any of the privacy we really loved. And that’s a bummer.



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55 Thoughts to “Trouble in Paradise”

  1. Frankly, I’m with Chris. Not that there’s much you can do about it, but still – I’d be majorly ticked off. Does the owner know what happened? I can’t imagine that any sane person would ask for that butchering.

  2. Don’t worry, Chris, I am as outraged as you are!

    That’s just terrible. Why else would you have all those shrubs if not for privacy? What was the point of cutting them back so severely?

    If I had that great screen from neighbours and then had it ripped unceremoniously from me, I’d be extremely angry, too.

    But, at least trees grow?

  3. People who trim hedges for property managers are basically careless, devils. We had some come and butcher our lawn in a similar fashion–and cut down the twinkling white lights I’d already hung about the yard. AND they chopped down my hydrangea bush. There were some tears and four-letter words, but nothing I could do.

    Sorry about your trees.

  4. Hey, comma. What I meant to say was that they’re careless, heartless devils.

  5. I agree there isn’t much to do about it but wait for it all to grow back, but I have NO idea how that counts as “trimming up the hedges” unless the hedges were practically dead. They definitely went a little scissor crazy over there. I side with Chris!

  6. OMG – I would be so outraged!! I’m totally with Chris on that one… Especially with a pool, privacy is a must! I would send those pictures along to your property manager – and maybe he’ll be ticked off too!

  7. Sandy

    OMG! I would have sat down amongst the carnage and bawled my eyes out. THEN, I would have called that property manager and demanded a couple hundred dollars (at least) be knocked off my rentfalse advertising and all. Lure you in with those wonderful lush trees only to cut them down and make you wallow in the nakedness. =o(

  8. Nicole

    Um…I’m with Chris on this one. Utter devestation. Ridiclious. I know it won’t be back for a long time, so sorry to depress him, but this is absolutely awful to see.

  9. Sonya

    I would have freaked, but I’m not sure my husband would have! That’s not trimming, that’s butchering! I once lived somewhere where they did something similar and I was like what were they thinking!

  10. “Trim the hedges” to me means, eh, they are going to take off 6″ or so of brush to just clean up the shrubbery. They freakin’ lopped off half the bush! I’d be pissed, but not nearly as pissed as I would be if I owned the house and hired these people myself and asked for a “trim.” Then there would be flames, flames on the side of my face…

  11. Sarah

    I would be pissed. And definitely complaining to the property management. That really sucks. I totally agree with the suggestion to send the pictures to them and get something knocked of next month’s rent!

  12. Lisa

    O….M….G….. I would have flipped out. The property manager definitely needs to see what happened, that is not a little “trim” of the hedges, they cut the trees off at the knees!!! Its like they took the easy and lazy way out and instead of grooming them, felt it would be easier to just chop the whole thing off. Terrible, terrible, terrible. I’m so sad for your naked little garden.

  13. Sarah H.

    Katie that is just obscene! Who in the world would think you wanted that? I’d have to say I am more with Chris on this one, what a terrible terrible thing! I would call the company and make them plant tall trees on their dime..really. I am so sorry it happened, but I guess in the grand scheme of all you’ve been through this summer this is hardly important. And if I could mail you a tree I would, but I can’t afford the postage…or the tree probably.Ha.

  14. Oh my gosh, how sad!!! It was so much prettier before, plus the privacy! In our old apartment there used to be these great trees where the branches would kind of drape and overhang so that when you looked out our window all you could see was green, and I LOVED it. And then one day maintenance cut them all and I was sooooo sad. I feel your pain.

    This just looks like a mistake, though. And why would they leave them just lying in your yard like that?

  15. Beanie's Nana

    Don’t I feel stupid. As many times as we’ve visited, I didn’t even know you had neighbors! VOILA! Never would have guessed.

  16. I am so very sorry that they sent the guys on crack over to do your yard! I am speechless. I cannot even imagine what they were thinking.
    Seriously. What were they thinking?
    I can’t wait to hear the end of this story. Like, once Chris gets a hold of someone and makes them fix it.

  17. Howdee Ho neighbor… obviously Wilson from Home Improvement. And your teen heart throb was non other than MY love, JTT. I’ll let you have Brad or Mark, I get Randy!

  18. Heather M

    Wow – I would have been irate too. That is a massacre!! You need to do a follow-up on the aftermath with your landlord 🙂 Were they expecting THAT much pruning?!

  19. allison

    Holy trim!!! That really stinks. I would be throwing a temper tantrum if I were you!

  20. Tell them you are deducting 100 gallons of Miracle Grow out of your rent & your husband’s therapy bills, that is TOTAL CRAP!

  21. It’s like telling a hairstylist “just a trim” and you walk out with a pixie. Oy with the poodles already! (name that show)

  22. i would be so mad, i would ask for a reduce in the rent as thats one of the reasons you picked that one, how dare they! im mad for you lol

  23. Oh man – what a difference it makes (and I agree with you – not in a good way!). I can’t believe she said they were coming just to “trim the hedges.” Was there a miscommunication or did she just not want to tell you that they were chopping down the trees?

    Love the pool, btw!

  24. Lee Ann

    Agh! The only bright spot I can see is this: Thank goodness it’s not YOUR trees that were decimated. It’s only a rental (which may not help Chris’ peace of mind), but can you imagine if you, as a homeowner, had paid someone to “TRIM” the shrubs, and you came home to YOUR trees and found this?? Oh, man!

  25. ughhhhhhhh that suuucks….but they’re grow back???

  26. Shannon

    Dude, I’m as outraged as Chris – that’s HORRIBLE!!! Who do these ppl think they are?!?!

  27. I hope you show the property manager these pictures! That’s ridiculous!

  28. Tressa

    I’m coming down there and holding these guys so Chris can beat them with the trees/bushes/shrubs they cut down!!! 😉
    I’m pissed, there went the privacy for our pool party!! Trust me, you didn’t want your new neighbors seeing me in a bathing suit LOL

    I’m sorry this happened to you. Don’t know how long your going to live there. So you may not see the privacy again.

  29. Meredith

    I am pissed and it’s not even my house. They hacked half those shrubs off!! wth?? I’m obviously with Chris on this one…I’d be calling people up giving them a piece of my mind.

  30. I think I would be that irrate as well!! That’s just rude! Well at least next time you will know to tell them to TRIM not demolish =/ Hopefully those bushes grow quickly

  31. C.D.

    Deavstatating! And could you please post sometime exactly what the name of these shrubs are? I have been looking for something just like that to plant to give us pool privacy. Beautiful new home you have!

  32. Shana C.

    THEY KILLED EVERYTHING…You need to call your property manager and send them these pictures. This is disgusting. OMG

  33. Well that just sucks! So this is what “trimming” looks like these days. Crazy!

  34. Oh my goodness! I would be outraged too. That is crazy!!

    Home Improvement! Loved that show!!

  35. Oh no! That stinks! Are you or Chris going to call and give ’em a piece of your mind?? I had another question for you… is the New Guy gonna have his or her own blog, too? You know, since Bean has one! I love following you guys!

  36. Definitely a company not to use in the future in your own house! I’m reading this at 8am and I didn’t hear about any murders of tree ‘trimmers’ in your part of the world so Chris must’ve taken it well?

  37. 1. Why in the world…? Was that the intention of your property manager, to cut it all down?

    2. Home Improvement. Heart throb: JTT.

  38. Brooke

    Yeah, I would have freaked out too. Oh, and I totally had a crush on JTT back on the day too. 🙂

  39. Oh man that sucks! I’d be so pissed (though as someone above me said, I’d be way more pissed if I was the owner and found out that my property management company had done something like that – you don’t just cut down privacy shrubs like that! WTF were they thinking???)

    And yes, I’m pretty sure JTT was everyone’s crush. I actually just caught a rerun of Home Improvement the other day and was amazed by how little he looks at the beginning of the show!

  40. Maren

    WOW…I’d be pretty pissed too. There’s a big difference in the trimming up you were told was going to happen and the shrub massacre that occurred.

  41. Amanda

    HOLY CRAP. I’m so with Chris here. If I chose that place and they whacked those shrubs like that, I would have come home – FREAKED OUT and then moved. Packed up and moved.

    But you can’t move. So if I were Chris I would fight the property manager and tell them that since they removed the ‘privacy screen’ in the backyard that they should be forced to erect a taller fence or plant new shrubs or possible enclose your yard in a large plastic mirrored bubble. This is pretty much breach of contract – this is equivalent to moving into a house with three bedrooms and on a whim the property manager come in with a wrecking ball and removes one of the bedrooms.

    Total crap. Get ’em Chris !!!!!

  42. Amanda

    **comment extension**

    NOT ONLY is it a big deal for you guys – but think of the neighbors! I bet they enjoyed having privacy on your side too and not seeing the tenants of your house. Now all of a sudden their yard is totally changed as well ! What if they think its your fault and now have bad neighbor vibes?

    Money off the rent would absolutely not satisfy my need for justice. I would demand that a suitable replacement option be put into place. I would somehow involve the neighbors. I would somehow involve my congressman. I would somehow involve a very loud southern baptist preacher.

    There would be justice.

  43. NOT ONLY is this a huge blow to your privacy – They have just devalued the property BIG TIME! And who leaves the debris behind like that?

    I am in shock! What stupidity! I hope your property manager has these photos to send to the property owner. If it were my home/or rental, I would be P*ssed beyond belief! As a tenant, I would immediately find another place to live. This is unforgivable!

  44. Jen

    OMG. OMG! I would flip OUT! I’m flipping out for you! I side with Chris on this one. I would make sure your property manager knows what “trimming” means to who he hired. Hopefully they will grow back soon.

  45. I would have lost it too. Those poor bushes were beheaded not trimmed. I’m hoping they’re some rare fast growing tree species that will restore your privacy in no time!

  46. Trust me when I say, I feel your pain. When (i was still living with my parents) the landlord came to do weedwhacking, he chopped off at the base, some flowers I was growing, that were just about to bloom. I cried. Hot, heavy tears. I screamed and shouted and punched the sky. I wanted to pour a gasoline msg on his lawn that read “flower killer,” so that he would be reminded of it for years. Clearly, I needed friends, during that sad lonely time of my life. But boy, was I MAD!

  47. Becky

    Holy whack job! That is NOT a professional job. You should demand some money off your rent. It looks like my dad trimmed the shrubs for you… and we don’t let him near the power tools!

  48. Ahhh!! That is so awful! I can’t believe they did that to your yard, my husband and I are mad for you! At least it will grow back.

  49. Shelley

    Sadly, this is not unusual. It’s classic Florida property management yard maintenance. It’s MUCH, MUCH cheaper for them to hire some illegals to hack, and that’s what it is, hack, down the shrubs rather than actually TRIM them. Trimming requires regular maintenance and they aren’t about to cut into their profits by actually doing what they should. They only have to do it 2-3x a year max as opposed to regular bi-monthly or monthly trimming. That’s why the shrubs were so high and bushy to start with when you saw the place.

    I doubt there’s anything you can do about it, but it wouldn’t stop me from complaining to the OWNER of the property. The management company doesn’t give a damn.

  50. Lindsey

    I would die!!! Looking at it just makes me pissed and I don’t even live there. I would have rented that house just because of the private backyard. I mean seriously, they should have just knocked the damn fence down while they were at it.

  51. Amy

    I am with Chris on this one. I would be so ANGRY! I would have some very choice words for the people that did that. I would demand they pay to replace the bushes. I hope the bushes stay alive sometimes such a severe “trim” like that can kill them. Please do a follow up post on what happened.

  52. Oh man, that would have ticked me off, too!

  53. I would be freaking out just like Chris! All the while knowing that there is nothing I can do about it…what’s done is done…but I would be madder than a hornet. Thank goodness they will eventually grow back…but it’s heartwrenching to see those pictures!


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