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Sometimes children prefer to play in a neighbor’s yard rather than their own. Some kids are well behaved, and some homeowners don’t mind. But, in other cases, children wander into a neighbor’s yard without permission, when the owner isn’t home and no one is supervising them, and proceed to dig up the grass, trample flowers and leave trash. If a child is injured on someone’s property, the owner can be considered liable, even if the child trespassed.

How to Keep Kids out of Your Yard
A polite conversation with children and their parents might be enough. Explain that you don’t want kids in your yard because they could damage your property or get injured, or simply because it’s private property.

Another possible solution is to post “no trespassing” or “private property” signs. That might not be enough to deter kids, especially ones who can’t yet read. However, if teenagers trespassed on your property and caused accidental damage or committed vandalism, having clearly posted signs could help you win a legal case.

If talking and posting signs don’t work, you can install security cameras. Try to position the cameras so that “no trespassing” signs are clearly visible. Some states also require signs informing anyone who might enter the property that surveillance cameras are in use.

Another, simpler, solution is to put up a fence around your yard. This is a particularly good idea if your yard has a pool or another feature that could be dangerous to kids. Check your local laws on the type and height of fence you can have, and double-check the location of the property line. If you’d rather not put up a fence, you can plant tall, thick bushes around the perimeter of your yard, but they may be a less effective deterrent and would require maintenance.

A motion-activated sprinkler is sometimes enough to send kids running. Just think about where water would be sprayed, and consider the possibility that it could freeze into ice in the winter, creating a safety hazard for your family.

Another option is to get a guard dog. If you do, it should be kept inside a fenced-in yard. Check state and local laws regarding potential liability for dog bites and requirements regarding warning signs.

Consider Contacting Authorities
If you belong to a homeowners association, there should be rules regarding trespassing on private property. The HOA can enforce the rules and possibly impose penalties on the parents of children who trespass in your yard.

If these measures don’t work, you might have no choice but to call the police. Children who are in your yard unsupervised can get hurt, and you can be held liable, even if you didn’t give them permission to be on your property and you had no idea they were there. If parents are unwilling to properly supervise their kids, you might have to get the police involved to protect children and yourself.

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