The Golden Question: Should You Let a Contractor Take a Wee in Your Yard?

Gemma Johnstone
Written by Gemma Johnstone
Updated January 3, 2022
lush backyard/ patio landscape
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

When they gotta go, they gotta go. The question is “where?”

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Some homeowners may gasp in horror if they look out the window and spot their contractor peeing in their yard—while others could not care less. Whatever side of the fence you’re on when it comes to contractors taking a bush wee, there are some legal and professional issues to keep in mind.

Here’s what to consider if your contractor heads for your shrubs when nature calls.

Is It Illegal for a Contractor to Pee in Your Yard?

Provided you agree with your contractor that it’s fine to urinate in your yard, and they find a private spot, it shouldn’t be a legal problem. However, it’s a different story if they relieve themselves in full view of a public road or other neighbors, as public urination is illegal in the United States. 

In some states, this includes private property if it’s visible from a public space. It can result in a charge of indecent exposure or vandalism. While the contractor would face the charges, you might get complaints from your neighbors about their actions.

Is Your Contractor’s Urine Bad for Your Yard?

Unless your outdoor contractor is tinkling in the same spot for days on end, they're unlikely to hurt your grass and gardens.

Urine has a lot of the same nutrients found in garden fertilizers (phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium). However, it can be too strong to use directly on plants in its concentrated form. Plus, its high salt content, along with the high nitrogen quantities, means regular peeing on a lawn can result in the grass suffering from scorch marks. If your contractor is working for you over many days and peeing in the same spot every day, it could damage your lawn or plants. If you notice them making water in the same spot over and over, you can politely ask them to change up their territory.

Is Exposure to Pee a Health Hazard?

You don’t need to worry about a contractor's urine creating an unsanitary environment in your yard. Urine isn’t completely sterile, but it’s made up of 95% water. Once it leaves the body, it doesn’t usually carry high levels of harmful bacteria as other—ahem—bodily products can.

What Other Restroom Options Can You Provide Your Contractor?

One obvious option is to let your contractor use your bathroom—especially if it’s a big project lasting longer than a day. It saves them having to take time away from their work to find a suitable public toilet and can foster a better relationship. Of course, you might not feel comfortable letting a stranger in your home or have worries about mud trailing across the floors.

If the project is lengthy, it might be worth renting a porta potty to set up in your yard—and some contractors might even build the cost of this into their contract.

The Employer May Have to Provide Toilets

If you have a sizable outdoor construction project, you might have a contractor’s employees working in your yard. In these instances, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires construction site contractors to provide portable toilets for their workers. They are obligated to provide one readily available and clean toilet for 20 employees or less.

Should I Fire My Contractor for Peeing in My Yard?

gardener cleaning up backyard
Photo: KUBE/ Adobe Stock

It’s always best to be upfront about your expectations. If you have strong feelings about a contractor piddling in the yard, let them know. It’s wise to include this in the questions you ask your contractor before hiring them. 

If you agreed on alternative arrangements, and they still go ahead and openly urinate in your front yard, it’s fair you might not want to work with them any longer. You’ll just have to balance this out with the fact that you could end up with the inconvenience and potential extra cost of a job that’s only partially complete.

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