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getting on with the neighbours

My neighbours on all three sides (or 2 sides and bottom of the garden) have been offended by my garden at different times. None of them likes me to plant near the boundary wall, and all are concerned that the wall may be undermined. All of them, by the way, claim that the dividing wall belongs to them. (I'm not arguing!) One of them even asked me rudely to control a Virginia creeper inappropriately planted next to a six foot wall. I did so and investigated talking it out, only to discover that it was actually planted in her garden! I took over the garden seven years ago and did not actually plant the ivies or the small tree at the bottom of the garden (which seeded itself). I have taken down most of the ivy and have planted climbers and herbaceous plants along the boundaries, keeping shrubs largely for the front boundary and areas where they are not a problem to neighbours. I want green boundaries to my small garden and the tree provides welcome privacy from the houses behind, without taking all their light, (though I do realise that it may prove too much of a problem in the future.) My garden seems to me transformed, a green oasis among bare and neglected gardens, and I can't understand why anyone would object to seeing beautiful greenery over their wall. Any comments or advice?

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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,758

    What a horrid situation - you have my sympathy.

    When we moved here 11 months ago we discovered that over the previous 20+ years the garden here had been increasingly overtaken by ivy and huge conifers, due to the poor health of the elderly couple who lived here and who had previously been keen gardeners.  I've seen photographs of the house covered with ivy, which was removed and the house repaired by the last owner.  However all he did in the garden was lop the conifers, mow the grass occasionally and give the ivy on the fences an annual strim.  Within a week of our moving in here the weight of heavy rain in the ivy brought fencing crashing down -  I went around to tell the neighbours and apologise with some trepidation.  Fortunately they understood that it wasn't our fault and it was certainly a novel way of getting to know them as we all removed 3 skips full of ivy and rotten fencing and dug out the roots.  The neighbours on one side accepted responsibility for replacing their fence - saying they'd wanted to do it for years but it hadn't been worth it until there was someone living here who wouldn't let the ivy run rampant again.  We replaced the fencing at the back and the other side - this involved builders digging out and rebuilding a retaining wall as the garden to one side is lower than ours.  In all we spent getting on for £3,000 on new fencing and walling!  

    Our neighbours are happy for us to grow roses clematis and honeysuckle etc against their fence, but we have promised that we will not plant ivy or Russian Vine (yes, there was some of that there too, and reaching 25 feet into a tree).

    So you'll see,  I do understand that your neighbours might well have fears of something similar happening in the future.  Is there any way you can invite them over to your side of the fence (maybe a little informal neighbourhood 'Open Garden' with tea and scones, and selling a few cuttings etc for a local charity?)  so that they can see that you 'garden' and control your plants and don't intend to just let them run riot?  After all, from their side of the fence all they can see is greenery looming and if they've had bad experiences in the past ... 

    Good luck image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    i have neighbours on both sides who do not bother with their gardens or their boundaries.. one side who dont like spending money where they should.. decided they wanted a taller fence at the bottom of the garden.. so instead of taking out their small 4ft fence and replacing it with the 6ft one.. t hey left the 4ft one in and put the new one 1 ft isnide the boudnary line.. and then telling us we could have the other fence now!!! what a blooming cheek.. they also moan about our fence up the front with is concrete posts and trellis panels (full panels get blowndown every year with high winds.. know from experience and cost) so these work. they are 5ft high and the wind blows through them.. but no they dont like it and want us to change it.. i have said no. 

    Now the other side have a 7ft high fence that is only held up by my bay hedge.. they have huge bushes and trees that are unkept pushing it out onto our garden.. i have told them but the do nothing.. their leylandi are tall and take all out light from the house and have aksed for them to be cut down.. still no.. have aksed at council and they will go and check them for hieght and light reduction but will cost me £350 for the priviledge!! so i leave it.

    So gardening grandma i can see where they coming from.. but to also be fair i feel that you are entitled to grow what you wish on your boundary walls and in your garden.. you are responsible for making sure they dont get out of hand and effect  your neighbours.. but that still there is no law against what planting on your side you can have and not have..and the only rule on 6ft high is on solid fencing and not green (leylandi an exception thou) i think some of it may be jeaslousy as yours looks better than theirs.. you are doing nothing wrong by planting trees.. thou i maybe try to keep 5ft away form boundaries especially if near the houses as the roots can cause problems for foundations.. they say a trees roots go out 3 times further than the canopy.

    to be honest i do not think you have to answer anything to them.. do you go on at them  bout their gardens at all.. no.. you let be and just do yours.. you just plant your shrubs and have your garden how you like.. keep it cut back so it doesnt inproach on theirs and that is all you need to do.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Gardening Grandma, Funerals Weddings and Boundaries the cause of more wars than Politicians.
    Brick walls I take it you must have an older property and to my cost I do know trees seemingly far from a wall can cause problems with root disturbance, but that is trees not bushes.
    The garden is yours to do with as you please even sunbathe nude if the walls are high enough. I would wonder about their claim to own the walls as my deeds state exactly what my boundaries are and who owns which fence. I own the South and half the West fence, the North fence belongs to my neighbour. He once argued with me about a short wall I built to hang a gate, it was on his land? I had my deeds so got them out and proved him wrong. He then asked me to remove my hanging pots from his fence, I did, six months later it blew down and he asked me to go halves, he got a simple no and not the reply he deserved. Luckily he moved on.
    My neighbour to the South a young lady living on her own asked me when i said I was renewing the fence if I would keep it low as she loved looking at my garden I said yes although there would be the odd high bush, the people at the back also said would I keep it low, they are good gardeners as is my southern one but she can only do a plain garden as she works hard.
    If you put in posts on your own land six inches in say then hung what ever climbers you wished on it they have no come back,  Ignore them and do as you wish on your own plot after all you paid for it not them.

    Frank.

  • When i moved to this house there was ivy 18 inches deep on all the back fences ( 3 sides to my garden) No one had bothered with the garden and neither had the neighbours. It took 6 trips to the tip to get rid of it all and when replacing our fences we dug it out. Neighbour to one side has a prolific grape vine it has taken 2 years of asking but he has finally cut back the trunk that was leaning on in and around my fence. How long did it take him? 10 minutes. Have you heaed the saying good fences make good neighbours. Luckily our friends bought the house the other side and all is well with the gardens swapping plants and produce when we have extra.

  • BenDoverBenDover Posts: 478
    You can do what you like in your own garden, as long as its legal!! Unless the trees in your garden constitute a hedge (two or more trees or shrubs may be considered a hedge), it can grow all it likes. If it is a hedge then, before they can do anything in terms of actions against you, they have to ask you nicely to reduce them in height before they can complain to the council who may (I say "may"), subject to their own investigation, then compel you to reduce the height to a minimum height of 2m, which then must be maintained at that height for perpetuity. However, the council may decide on your side. In terms of damage to walls - is there any proof the wall is currently being undermined? Also, your neighbours can quite legally cut off roots that appear on their land, however, they must not kill the plant. They can also cut off over hanging branches but they must offer these back to you (or throw them in your garden), and again, they cannot kill the plant.



    I seem to recall the maximum fence height without planning permission is 6 foot, and anything heigher (certainly a completely solid fence) requires planning permission. Im sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong.
  • Thanks for all your interesting and helpful replies. My walls are all solid breeze block, some neat, some decrepit and all hideous. We have put fencing or trellis in front of most of them. I feel we have been considerate and polite - unlike some of our neighbours. I think in law, the wall to our left belongs ito us, but our elderly neighbour says that when it was very broken, he paid to rebuild it and so it is his. We haven't quarrelled with anybody (although it would have been easy) but wonder whether we have been inconsiderate inadvertently. As you say, Palaisglide, boundaries cause wars! I did invite one set of neighbours around to discuss issues, and they came, but they were not won over, I think partly because I was already annoyed at some rudeness and tried to be nice and came across as patronising. From your replies, I can see that we are not the only ones with problems and wish you well with your continuing relationships with the neighbours!

  • daituomdaituom Posts: 83

    Grandma, they are just trying to bully you. You are the newcomer so you have to do what they say. Yeah,right. Keep your garden tidy and the plants under control and there is nothing they can do. If they keep on harrassing you get a restraining order out.

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Actually Tim Burr the 2m guide is for new hedges, not established ones (ie before 2006) and it is for the affects of a hedge over 2 metres, not the height itself. Say a hedge of 2.5m - the council will only investigate the affects of the 50cm over the 2 metres.

  • Poppy RedPoppy Red Posts: 26

    Your garden is your property and as long as you are doing nothing illegal or damaging to your neighbours garden you can plant what you like in your garden.  I would suggest though that you find out definately which are your boundaries/fences and then if the harrassment continues seek legal advice.

  • MuddyForkMuddyFork North HampshirePosts: 435

    The 2m guide also only relates to evergreen hedges.  I back onto farmland and can do nothing about the hedge my 'kind' farmer planted and then failed to cut except trim back the side.

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