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Do I Need A Boundary Fence?


I had a fence at the bottom of my garden which separated my garden from my rear neighbour. A Few months ago the neighbour built a new fence inside his garden up against the one that we shared - he did this after he consulted us and we didn’t object. For a while we had two fences. However, then storms came and I had to take down the original fence (the one which was on ‘our side’) - which left only his new one. I thought nothing of this, I still had a fence at the end of my garden (even though it was the one he put up - and he still had his new one).

Then… I received a snooty letter from the neighbour telling me that I had to rebuild the fence as I had removed the boundary between our properties and had consequently extended the length of my garden by 40ft in removing the boundary. He has demanded that I re-fence on my side of his new fence to re-establish the property boundaries.

I have contested this. I don’t want to put up a fence (perhaps more so because he thinks he can ‘demand’ that I do); I had to remove the old one as it was unsafe. It’s pure coincidence that he chose to build a new one ‘his side’.

My Questions is this – Do I actually need a physical barrier to mark a boundary? I agree there is a boundary, I haven’t ‘removed’ it, only the fence, the boundary is still there. But do I really have to put up another fence just to show whereit is? Could I put up a simple low level length of wire? A series of vertical posts? Or, do I have to put anything at all?

Thanks for your time, any suggestions are greatly received.



  • Sounds odd to me. image

    We only have one fence around our garden - on the left hand side and the rear boundary we erected and maintain the fence and on the right hand side that neighbour erected one (when the previous one blew down) and he maintains it.

    Most gardens only have one fence around the boundary.

    How is your neighbour going to maintain his fence if you have another fence butting up against it?  Sounds a bit 'fence obsessive' to me.

    Perhaps a case for the Citizens' Advice Bureau - a written response from them might be helpful.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,293

    I'm a little puzzled as to how you might have gained forty feet of garden. Most people put a secondary fence just a few inches inside their property.

    However, firstly I can say with the benefit of several encounters with neighbours of my own, don't try to antagonise this person. They don't know what your motives might be even if you say that they are honourable. Secondly, you might not want to have a voundary but you are not going to live there for ever and neither is your neighbour. 

    A boundary does not have to be a solid fence. It could be a few concrete posts with wire slung between them.

    I synpathise with your neighbour. I had a neighbour once who did the same thing and then began to encroach.

    Try to see things from the other person's angle.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,293

    We put up a second fence once because we had dogs and the "owner" of an almost non existent fence didn't want to pay for its repair or to see our dogs.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • I agree with pansyface, put in wire & post line.  Should you sell the property it makes it clear to the new owners where their land ends.  Very few deeds show the exact boundary and solicitors can get very upset about this. 

  • Hi,

    Thanks for those responses so far.

    @pansyface – he claims that I’ve extended my garden by 40ft as I have ‘removed’ the boundary (the fence), and now (apparently) my garden runs from my back door to his back door, i.e. the length of both gardens. As I have ‘removed the boundary’, the properties just flow into one another – except they don’t because there is a physical barrier – his fence.

    One thing to note perhaps - the fence he built on ‘his side’ is a solid wood (vertical planks, no gaps) and it’s 8ft high. The one I took down was a standard 6ft lap fence.

    I accept that the old fence represented a boundary of the properties, I take his point, seriously I do, but his requests are a bit ‘Lord of The Manor’.

    @DoveFromAbove - I did consider a trip to the CAB, just to get some clarification on what I need to put in place as a boundary. The odd thing is that whatever I put there he won’t see it as his fence is 8ft high and solid.

    Thanks again for the reponses so far


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,542

    my understanding is that any fence over 6ft is outside " permitted developement rights" and , as such, needs planning permission. Phone call to council would clear that up.

  • do you know whose fence it was? only one side of my garden (the south side) is actually my fence, the north and east side fences belong to my neighbours.

    if it was his fence line to start with you could argue that he has just replaced his original rickety fence with a new one?

    Hostafan is right anything over 6 foot cannot be a solid fence as well, so he maybe shooting himself in the foot if the council are involved

  • Hmmm, @treehugger80 and @Hostafan - interesting points!!

  • @Hostafan1 - Don't suppose you know how I would go about finding who owned the fence? I was assuming that we were both jointly liable, but now that you've asked that I'm wondering...


    Incidentally, this is my first post here - thanks to everyone for the replies so far, very much appreciated! image

  • Normally if it's your fence the posts can be seen from your garden and the smooth uninterrupted fence would show in the neighbours garden.  That is the convention that has been used for years but is/was does not always adhered to.

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