Block Walls in Arizona ~ the Bane of Community

One of the things I noticed most about Arizona neighborhoods Arizona Block wallswhen I moved here from Wisconsin, was the lack of community.  People here drive into their garages, put the door down and you never see them again.  Want to say hello to your neighbor from your backyard?  Grab a chair or a ladder to stand on to peek over your block wall.  I proclaim  ARIZONA BLOCK WALLS as the “bane of community relationships”.

Granted.  I speak from the Midwest mindset.  Oh, sometimes there were fences between our properties back home in Wisconsin, but they were usually the short picket type, or chain link…or maybe just some shrubbery divided our backyards.  You could barbecue and enjoy a conversation with your neighbors. Yep…you actually spoke with your neighbors!  You knew what they did for a living and what their kids names were.  Sometimes, you even shared a meal with them <gasp>.  I remember feeling highly insulted when one of the neighbors installed a “privacy fence” which was made out of 6 foot tall wood slats.  Made me wonder what I’d done to illicit such a fence. 

I admit, there were times I really didn’t want to talk with my neighbors but….

Then I moved to Arizona and found Arizonans experience no separation anxiety.  In fact, they like separation so much they build a serious fence. A big concrete block wall fence to separate them from their neighbors.  This means you never have to speak to anyone who lives around you.  If you’re feeling especially friendly, you can casually wave at your neighbor as you pull into your garage and quickly close the door behind you before you exit your vehicle. 

As I show property and look out the back windows of any 2 story home, it looks like a series of State Penitentiary exercise yards.  It made we wonder, who started the block wall phenomenon in Arizona?  Was it started to keep people out or to keep people in?  Do we really need a fortress wall around our backyard and if we do, why not a moat too?

Just wonderin.


  1. Steve says:

    I agree with you Amy! Only someone from the Midwest would have the foggiest idea what you’re saying! I have made the same observation when I visit my family in Phoenix. They really don’t “know” their neighbors; in fact they rarely see them! It’s no wonder really…..with the Great Wall of China separating them in all! I asked them about the purpose of the block walls that bordered every home on the block. Their response was interesting! After much consternation and contemplation, I was told the purpose was to keep undesirable insects, like scorpions, out! Hummm….! I just shook my head and made no comment. 🙂

  2. Amy having come from the north east and only being here three years I had the same opinion. One of the problems is each house is right on top of each other. If you didnt have the walls its not like one or two neighbors could see into your yard and house, its that 10 could.

    While I dont like the walls, I like the size of the yards even less

  3. Steve~ Oh…if only block walls could keep out scorpions, but alas…scorpions climb. That’s a good one though!
    Dean~ True..the yards are a bit close together in some neighborhoods. Walls aren’t required in my neighborhood and I didn’t have one for the longest time, but then I adopted my 3rd little dog…and had to finally fence the yard as the dog run was a little crowded. Privacy I guess is nice, but I do miss waving at my neighbors in the back.


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