Be a good neighbor by keeping your yard tidy. ATTRIBUTION: Bill Smith (Flickr)

Being a good neighbor involves more than giving the occasional wave as you pass by. The ideal neighbor is someone who shows respect for your privacy but is willing to help you out in a pinch. They should maintain their home and lawn to the best of their abilities, be a responsible pet owner, and be willing to effectively communicate if issues arise. We all want to be good neighbors, but it’s not always easy to be neighborly without overstepping our bounds. Here are a few etiquette tips to help create a positive environment in your neighborhood.

Introduce Yourself

Are you new to the neighborhood? Or maybe a family has recently moved in next door? No matter which, take the time to introduce yourself. Your introduction can be as simple as a brief, “Hello, nice to meet you!” Or you can take it up a notch and offer a welcome gift, such as a basket of fresh-picked goodies from your garden.

Be Mindful of Your Pets

You may be an animal-lover, but that doesn’t mean everyone is. Respect your neighbors by cleaning up after your animals, promptly stopping incessant barking, and preventing your pets from wandering leash-free. Consider spaying or neutering your animals if you haven’t done so, especially if your neighbors also have pets. Altered pets are not as likely to roam away from home and are typically better-behaved.

Notify Your Neighbors of Parties

Most of us host the occasional get-together with friends and family. If you plan on playing loud music or expect your guests to get a little rowdy, talk to your neighbors first. Discuss your intentions and let them know what time the party will begin and finish. If you’re on good terms with your neighbors, you may even want to invite them to the party.

Keep Your Yard Neat and Tidy

As a good neighbor, it’s your responsibility to keep your yard picked up and maintained. This includes mowing regularly and picking up any litter or debris that ends up on your property. In addition to maintaining your own private spaces, do your best to keep common areas tidy. For apartment-dwellers, this may include shared driveways, trash bin areas, and yards.

Follow Proper Parking Etiquette

Poor parking can cause a lot of controversy between neighbors, especially for those who live in close proximity to one another. Do your best to respect your neighbor’s space by practicing proper parking etiquette. When you park your vehicle, be sure to never block anyone’s access or infringe on your neighbor’s space in a shared driveway. Also avoid other annoyances, such as slamming your vehicle doors, over-revving your engine, or shining your headlights into your neighbor’s windows.

Lend a Helping Hand

Everyone needs a little help once in a while. Offer to do small favors for your neighbors if you see they’re struggling, such as shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk if they are sick, elderly, or simply going through a rough time. By being a decent person, you may find that your neighbor returns the favor when you need it most.