Garden Law and Order

Thoughts and musings

Garden Law and Order

Lewis | March 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

I’m sure we are familiar with arguments with certain neighbours surrounding issues like overhanging branches, hedgerows and the ilk. A lot of you may have a good relationship with your next door neighbours; some of you might even call them close friends! But that is not to say you, at any point in your life, have not experienced or witnessed an argument with a neighbour regarding garden issues. You may recall a blog post from us last month regarding leylandii, the evergreen tree that is very popular in the UK as hedgerows as they grow very tall. This has sparked argument, too! When we go into detail, there are many reasons why neighbours may have issues with the other’s choices or actions in the garden, but here are laws governing a certain number of these. Read on to find our more!

Obviously, something on your land belongs to you. Say, it’s your swimming pool, or your hanging baskets. The same applies to trees and shrubs. They are the property of the one’s garden in which it grows, even if it overhangs into another’s. As these branches are intruding on another garden’s air space, that neighbour would be allowed to cut the branch back to the boundary between the gardens, but they would have to return the cut branches to their neighbour, along with any fruit that may have been on them. The law is very clear; the owner of the tree can be sued for trespass, nuisance and/or negligence, if it is evident. This may seem extreme, but under The Theft Act 1968, it is illegal to take this fruit and sell it for commercial gain. This would be theft. So the law is based on common law, and should be obeyed.

A law I’m sure you’ll all itching to read about is that relating to high hedges. Possibly the most common argument occurring across garden fences all over the UK, local authorities have the power, thanks to a Government Bill, to issue a “remedial notice” on the hedge owner if a neighbour issues a complaint. These complaints can lead to these notices if:

  • a hedge is evergreen, or semi-evergreen;
  • it is over two metres in height; and/or,
  • it is “unreasonably restricting” light to the property.

The punishments for ignoring these notices from the authorities are rather strong, too! Say your neighbour complains about your hedgerow – they think it exceeds two metres in height – and you do not rectify it after being issued one of these notices, you can be fined unto £1,000, and a daily fine for as long as the failure continues. No doubt that’s got your attention!

There are other laws as well; they relate to tree roots, garden walls and boundaries, and even those surrounding subjects from bonfires, all the way up to garden burial! You can find them all out online; they are easily accessible, which baffles this writer more as to why the laws aren’t common knowledge amongst the UK population. Some of it may seem over-the-top to some, others may see it as bureaucracy gone mad! But it is the law – make sure you don’t get stung by a fine, and stick within the regulations!

We hope you enjoyed this article. We know law isn’t the most exciting subject to everyone, but we feel you should know it, as it is definitely of interest to our readers! Don’t forget to find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and if you would like your say on this blog post, leave a comment in the comment section below.