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Proximity of shrubs and tress to houses

Does anyone know what size and distance is allowed for shrubs and trees near house walls? I want to plant a small shrub near my boundary but my neighbour's house is four feet on the other side. I was thinking about something that grows to 10-12 feet high but planting it 4-6 feet inside my boundary. That would leave a distance of 8-10 feet to their wall. Is it based on tree height or root width? Any suggestions? How do I work things out?


  • 1 metre in front of your boundary is fine and a considerate thing to do so what you are proposing is fine.  You are talking about a small shrub/tree so I don't think you need to worry about roots but do a search on the tree/shrub you are interested or ask the nursery/garden centre you are buying from if unsure.    If you were talking about trees like maple, lime then that would be a big no with the wall being so close.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,634
    The general rule is that roots extend as far as the canopy so an eventual width of say 4m means 4m spread of roots.  There are, of course, exceptions and it is a very bad idea to plant anything in the salix/willow family near buildings or pipes.  

    The other thing to consider is eventual height because if your tree or shrub is blown over or knocked over it will potentially cause damage and neither neighbours nor insurance companies like that so calculate how tall it may get and how far it will fall and what lies within range and is it brittle and easily broken or shallow rooted and easily toppled etc.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,319
    It’s very thoughtful of you to consider the impact on your neighbours’ house of what you want to plant, although the terms ‘small shrub’ and ‘10-12ft high’ initially confounded me, I think you meant ‘small tree’. You need to consider as well as the height (which may impact more on the light reaching their garden, depending on where the sun is) the ‘spread’, or width of the tree foliage - the outermost edges are called the drip line (think rain falling and dripping off the ends) and this is where the roots usually spread to.

    Your best bet to is to go and look at some small trees at a reputable nursery and ask their advice. Tell them about the aspect of your garden, how much sun it gets, what kind of soil you have, etc., and they will be happy to advise you on your purchase of a tree that will suit your requirements and won’t invade your neighbours garden! .
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,326
    Yes, good to consider the light blocking and moving shade created by the tree for your neighbour and yourself. 
  • mariacpdbmariacpdb Posts: 2
    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Good to have plans checked out. 
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 632
    8ft from their wall for a 10-12ft plant sounds absolutely fine. Legally soeaking you are free to plant most things on your own property so this isn't an issue of legality. 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,461
    Bearing in mind that they are legally allowed to cut off overhanging branches (providing they return them to you) it is a good idea to leave a good gap anyway, so that you don't risk losing half of your tree/shrub :D
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813
    I had a 1930,s house with a single storey with single brick walls and an invasive climber on the extension.Think it was a Wisteria

    I had to cut it down as it was pulling the kitchen away from the main building.
    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
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