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Gravel Boards Query

Hi there!  Our neighbour has just had their fence replaced.  Firstly, all works were done from my side without prior approval due to decking on their side.  Their ground level is massively higher than our side on one half and massively lower on the other half.   The contractors have ruined our grass and plants with no appology or how it can be corrected.  Also, the concrete gravel boards along the first part are so much higher than our ground level which is exposing our side to the underneath of their decking.  They said they couldnt get them lower due to there being concrete there. Cats/rats/mice/small children could probably get through some of the gaps.  Is this acceptable? Am I supposed to just accept this, or are there rules on how the contractor is supposed to leave our side of the fence looking? I believe they should have taken out more concrete to lower the gravel boards.  I can't even see how this can be fixed now! Many thanks  PS, one picture is how my garden looked before!


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,482

    I'm sorry your neighbours have been so very unneighbourly, that looks rather a disaster from your side but I'm afraid realistically I don't think there's much you can do. 

    You could ask them if their contractors (who were trespassing) would come back and fill in the gaps with poured concrete (behind wooden shuttering) and point out to them that if you get rats coming into your garden then they will too.

    The only other thing I can think of is to stuff some crunched up chicken wire into the accessible gaps and disguise this with more plants in front.

    In the long run, it isn't worth getting into a dispute with your neighbours as you'd have to disclose this when/if you ever come to sell and it isn't worth the expense of going to court to force them to remedy the situation in my opinion.
  • The contractors have no right to come onto your property without permission. It is called trespass. 
    The job looks rough to me. I am not sure what you can do but I would certainly look into it via your local council or similar. Cutting your bushes back to stumps is very unprofessional.
    I suppose you could try a claim for remedial work to be carried out. ie. raised edges, backfilled to cover the gaps along the length up to the concrete gravel boards and replacement shrubs and plants. That might look quite good.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,526

    It does look a mess from your side, so I sympathise with you there, but looking at the second to last photo, it looks as if it’s set back from their end wall, within their boundary. So if that is indeed the case, it’s their fence on their property so they are entitled to build it how they like. If fact it looks as if your ivy and other plants may have been planted over or at least on the boundary line and were effectively ‘trespassing’ on their land and they are also entitled to cut back anything encroaching. Do plants have squatters rights? No idea. They could argue that your ivy was the reason they needed a new fence in the first place. It does have a habit of pulling down fences and rotting them by harbouring moisture, but equally it could have been the higher soil level on their side.

    You say “all works were done from my side without prior approval”, were you at work or away when it happened and weren’t able to talk to them or intervene in any way? It certainly would’ve been more neighbourly for them to discuss it with you first and they should have asked permission to enter your property to do the works and give you the opportunity to conduct damage limitation.

    Grass will regrow and you could tidy up the fence line a little, perhaps removing the stumps as they will probably regrow and encroach again on their new fence, even adding some lower gravel boards yourself on your side to bridge the ugly gaps.

    In summary, I can see both sides. No matter how annoying it is and how incensed you might be feeling at the moment, it would be helpful to examine it from their point of view as well as your own. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t politely ask them to remedy any damage, but do ask yourself is it worth falling out with them about it? The answer to that is almost always no. 
  • KT53KT53 GloucestershirePosts: 7,519
    Nollie said:

    In summary, I can see both sides. No matter how annoying it is and how incensed you might be feeling at the moment, it would be helpful to examine it from their point of view as well as your own.

    If somebody entered my garden without permission and damaged a load of plant I can assure you I wouldn't be looking at their point of view.  I would be kicking up merry hell.  Do you really think it's acceptable to do this?  We have no idea what plants may have been damaged or destroyed, or how many years some of them may take to regrow.
    The other problem I can see for @beautiful_stranger_82 is that over time rain is likely to erode the soil and that will drop into their garden too.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,526
    We obviously don’t know the neighbours, they could be everyone’s worst nightmare, but there are always two sides to a story @ KT53 and always better to resolve things amicably where possible rather than simply ‘kicking up merry hell’ and getting into an unpleasant and disputatious situation. Yes, they absolutely should have asked permission and should have taken more care, but as I said, it does look as if the new fence is wholly within their boundary and they are perfectly entitled to cut back encroaching plants.

    I know too well how these things can turn out, since my mother is currently in dispute with her neighbour, who knocked down a short party garden wall without permission to install their new fence.
  • Thanks for the comments, I will be speaking more to the neighbours. I am just trying to get a feel for what arguments they are likely to throw back at me. You are correct, the fence is on their boundary, however i would have thought that there is some obligation to leave my property in a similar manner to how it was found. Grass and plants can be replaced, I understand that. I think I could've let that go if we didn't have gapping holes all along a great view of the underside of the decking. There reason they have had to change the fence is due to it being so high and wind has weakened it. I've lived here 14 years and this is the second time it's been replaced. It's almost 2 meters high which is an annoyance in itself. Some of the gaps are really big to just leave like that. At the time the guys actually acknowledged the issue leaving it like that but they couldn't put it any lower due to next doors concrete base. There is also the issue further down where there is a 2 foot drop from my ground level to theirs. They've put nothing to stop my land slipping, just left a 5 cm gap between land and fence! 
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,239
    1.  Ask the Council to give you their opinion on the fence's legality but...
    2.  Write a letter to the neighbour, voicing some of the misgivings you have and the potential damage to your property.  Ask them to give you an indemnity against such damage that MAY occur (also in writing) and ask for a response within 'x' days.
    We had a similar problem and the indemnity snookered them.  They moved out!
  • I've been out and reassessed the situation.   I'm willing to let any damage go but the gaping holes under the gravel board is unacceptable.  Next door have gone along and slipped some perspex down to cover some gaps, which to me, means they acknowledge some problems.   I dont understand how the company can leave these gaps in my garden without a word on how I can fix it.   I'm now going to have to make raised beds all along, I've no idea how much money this will cost me! Money is tight!
  • Could the people ,who put the boards and fence up, not have cut a gravel board ( or made smaller gravel boards ) into two pieces and slipped one half of that into that gap under the other full gravel board? At least that would have closed the gap somewhat. Obviously  your  neighbours do accept there's a problem by the fact that they've put perplex down there, but that's not  a long term solution .That gap needs completely closing down to stop rats, mice etc from nesting under the neighbours decking. Perhaps an approach to said neighbours, advising them they are now open to wildlife getting in near their property, may spur them on to find a proper solution? 
    Good luck.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,918
    Did the neighbours consult you about the work, and the need for access from your property?
    If not, they're totally in the wrong. 
    However, I can understand the difficulty here. You don't want any aggro. The gaps are unacceptable though, and decent workmen would have made sure those would have been addressed and filled appropriately.
    You certainly shouldn't be having to make containers to fill them and replace plants. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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