Jamie Lawson, from Seaham, County Durham, tried to climb over a garden fence at an address in Ashleigh Road, Newcastle, when the owner spotted him, in broad daylight.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 27-year-old then fled but tried to break into a separate garage, which he damaged in the process.
Prosecutor Joe Culley told the court that both victims live on the same road but share adjoining back gardens.
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Mr Callan said: "At around ten past two on July 4 last year the first complainant was in his kitchen.
"He noticed a male climbing his fence. The male was leaning on the fence making his way off it.
"He looked at the man who stared straight back.
"He was able to give a description and on checking his garage he noticed there was some damage to the door frame."
The court heard the complainant then informed his neighbour of the intruder who noticed his garage door had been damaged, to the value of £400.
Lawson, of The Avenue in Seaham, does have relevant convictions and was on licence at the time of his offending for a separate matter.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted burglary.
David Callan, mitigating, told the court that his client had travelled to Newcastle on the day and had effectively fallen into the wrong crowd.
My Callan said that Lawson is a dad to his current partner's five-year-old, who both play a stabilising role in his life.
He said: "He is a good father to that child and of course he has his own baby who he has not seen yet."
Mr Callan added that Lawson, who has been on remand for five months, was sick of this life and was ready to step up for his family.
Mr Recorder Ian Mullarkey sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment but he is due to be released soon, given the time already spent on remand.
The judge said: "You're a new father and that's having a positive impact on you and proving a new determination not to reoffend."