Are you lucky enough to have an outdoor shared living space? Imagine neighbors working together to create, and maintain, a lovely backyard or garden for everyone to enjoy. That’s how it’s supposed to be!

Sometimes, though, shared spaces can create tension. There are the neighbors who throw parties, but don’t like to clean up their messes. There are the three couples that like to stay up partying until 3 am. And what about Fido, the neighbor’s, not-so-friendly, free roaming dog?

Knowing how to deal with communal spaces can be tricky, but the payoff can be huge! There are some guidelines to follow that will help make your outdoor community space more enjoyable for all.

Be Respectful

It can be quite frustrating when neighbors flick cigarette butts into the yard or leave piles of doggy doo-doo in the pathway to the garbage can. Also, remember everyone deserves some time to enjoy the common area.  Depending on the number of residents in your community, you may want to limit your use of the area, so everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the space. Always remember to pick up after you and your friends.

Furniture

Remember that furnishings in common areas are not yours. Take extra care of communal items so everyone in your community can enjoy the benefits the space has to offer. Consult with the neighbors before making changes. While you might consider a new, rearranged, area an improvement, your neighbors may not agree. Make sure everyone is on board before making any real changes on behalf of the community.

Usage

Particularly in the summer months, you and everyone sharing your outdoor space, may want to have friends over frequently. Perhaps you can all gather at the same time? If this is not feasible, planning a schedule may be beneficial. Always let your neighbors know if you’re planning a get together a few weeks in advance. This may help avoid issues on the day of the party.

Privacy

Respect the privacy of those living around you. Try to use common sense where “your” space ends and your neighbors’ space begins. Perhaps enjoying a glass of wine outside your neighbor’s bedroom window at 2 am is not the best choice. Even if your unit is not closest to the common outdoor space, try to imagine that you are in that unit. Wrap things up earlier on weeknights. Introduce yourself to neighbors that may be affected most by noise in the common area. Consider their work schedules and ask if they have requests regarding time restraints.

As any city renter will tell you, outdoor space in an urban environment is a major plus.  Setting a few guidelines and using some common sense, will help everyone in your community enjoy the benefits of having a shared outdoor living space!