Neighbours plants damaging my Mum's fence

In the recent heavy winds in Devon, part of my Mum's fence came down The man who came to fix the fence, told her that bushes in the neighbours garden were severely overgrown and that they had been pushing on the fence and weakening it.

He visited the neighbour on Mum's behalf and asked her if she would cut her bushes back to prevent the damage happening again. She, it seems was very abusive and said she wasn't prepared to do it...but was more than happy if my Mum wanted to pay for the work to be done.

Is there anything that can be done to remedy this situation? I don't see why Mum should pay but she is concerned that there could be reprucussions with the neighbour if she pushes the matter too hard.

Also are garden fences covered by her home insurance?

Thank you for this - i am in London, so am trying to do as much as possible from afar so to speak!!



  • I would pull up fencing, cut back from your side, pull down fencing.  You are under no obligation to do the whole bushes or make it pretty because the back side will be covered by the fence. 

    If the woman is determined to be a pain then you are buggered no matter what you do, this is the cheapest simplest option. 

  • PosyPosy Posts: 976

    Difficult. It's so much better if neighbours are helpful to eachother. Is your mum well and able-bodied enough to call round to this person and have a chat about the bushes? She could talk about how much needs to be cut back and how and when it could be done with least inconvenience. If not, is there a friend or near neighbour who could do that for her? I am assuming that she is not able to do the actual work herself. Failing that, there may be groups in your area who help older people with jobs like this without charge, or for relatively little. The question of who pays is often problematic: it is your mum who has a problem with the hedge but her neighbours ought to show consideration regarding their unruly bushes. Could they share the cost?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,787

    Good neighbourly relations are worth their weight in gold ... the hedge may damage the fence or the fence may damage the hedge? 

    Surely a case for friendly compromise ... If one person wants a fence and the other doesn't care either way, then surely the one who wants the fence will expect to pay for the work? 


    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,137

    Never known of any insurance that will fix a fence, in this area the fences are owned by the householder. I own the South and part of the West facing fence my Neighbour owns the North facing fence which has just been replaced by them, with my permission they took down a six foot fence and put in a four foot fence as we talk and the little dog next door is lifted over into my garden for a change of scenery.  I would never touch anything beyond my border however annoying as it is a minefield of litigation in some cases.

    The options are if you own the fence then replace it, get a couple of estimates from a local installer. If your Mum can live with it put a shorter in height fence in  then chop off any of the bushes that climb over the fence, the neighbour refuses to cut back her bushes so I cannot see her being helpful on any issue. I do not recommend you doing this but as an old soldier a late night foray with a good shrub killer might come to mind, not saying i would but do not tempt me?


  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    If the shrubs are pushing the fence over, they must be crossing the boundary.  You are quite entitled to cut them back, but at your expense, I think.  Don't forget the gift of a bottle of wine (not rot-gut) goes some way to unbending neighbours.

  • IanC63IanC63 Posts: 48

    I have the same issue.. next door don't give a crap about their garden and as result they have a dogwood that is growing rampant against my wooden fence (that I replaced last year - at my own expense without any offer of sharing costs) and over into my garden causing not only fence damage but alot of shade.

    Luckily I have a pair of sharp long handled loppers and over the winter its had quite a severe haircut... and I'll carry on "trimming it" periodically - they'll never even notice. Next door but one had a similar issue with them concerning over-growing conifers - result cut down by tree surgeon but next door didn't even put their hand in their pockets!

    Don't think I'll bother with the wine.... 

    As the neighbour of the OP sounds like a real class act I like Franks idea of shrub killer..

  • Thank you so much for all your replies. Mum is recently widowed, so it all seems rather overwhelming.

    It seems a similar thing happened a few years ago with her next door neighbours fence and the same lady, they actually went round and trimmed back the offending bushes themselves and have actually offered to do the same for Mum.

    I'm visiting her at Easter and i think an evening foray with some shrub killer just might be on the cards!! 

    Thank you 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,787

    Hmmm ... beware ... that could lay you open to being charged with criminal damage image

    It might also result in unpleasant retaliation ... your Mum doesn't need that ... 

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Thank you, it was a slightly tongue in cheek comment. It's just so difficult with me being in London and her down in Devon. She is coping really well, and then has all this. 

    I was going to take some wine down for the neighbours, as a thank you for going and trimming the obstinate neighbours shrubs for her. 

  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 158

    One question - what was there first, the shrubs or the fence?

  • Probably the fence, as it was new housing estate. I don't know if the neighbour concerned was the original owner so to speak, who planted her garden. But as said before I know she isn't much of a gardener. So now it is left to do it's own thing!!

  • You need to know whether the fence marks the legal boundary or whether the bushes do - in other words, are they the remains of a hedge which once marked the legal boundary. Sometimes the face of a hedge - rather than its roots - at a nominal 2ft or so from the roots might be the boundary. The legal boundary should be shown or described in the deeds.

    If Mum thinks the boundary is her fence, but it's not easy to prove from the deeds or other evidence, she could ask her neighbour to discuss it and, hopefully, agree with the neighbour that the present fence is the boundary. Then she could mark that boundary with a line of short stakes and agree that line with the neighbour. The fence could then be built two feet on Mum's side of the boundary, which would give her access to that 2ft of her own land to trim the neighbours shrubs when they grew to or over the fence. The deeds might have to be amended to record the line of stakes as the boundary for the future.

  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 158

    Why should she lose use of 2ft of her garden because of this?

  • Simply because it will take a heck of a lot more than " I think" "He/she thinks" that is the boundary.  If the OP has reasonable neighbours, then a compromise may be reached.  If not, the offer of a discussion or a bottle of wine will be a waste of time.  

    There is no reliable way of persuading an encroaching neighbour to behave reasonably.  Unfortunate but trueimage

  • glasgowdan,

    If you have another read, you'll see that I'm not suggesting that she lose any of her garden.

  • You could just lift the fence panels up and cut the bushes back to the boundry line though. 

  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 158
    Joe_the_Gardener says:


    If you have another read, you'll see that I'm not suggesting that she lose any of her garden.

    See original post


    Having a fence 2ft inside your own boundary effectively negates that space as useless. So losing 2ft of the "useable" garden. But you know that!

  • OK Dan, so she'll have to negotiate with the neighbour, which doesn't seem to be working, and her gardener will have to lean over the fence and cut down the bushes that are pushing the fence - not easy and possibly provocative. I've seen my solution work.

  • ShepsSheps Posts: 562

    Agree with, Learnincurve re lifting the fence panel and allowing the bush to spread out and settle, then any foliage on your side of the boundary ( providing the fence runs along the boundary line ) can then be cut back.

  • Sheps, do we know it's a panel fence. Even if it is it's a lot of work lifting the panels - unless they're so badly fitted that the fence blows down!

Sign In or Register to comment.