Neighbour's hedge has broken my fence

27 Aug 2012
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United Kingdom
Hi all

My garden is bordered on one side by a large laurel hedge, approx 5m high. This is on my neighbour's property (they actually live behind my house - the laurels just line the private driveway they have for access to the road). The hedge is right up against my boundary. The previous owner of my house had built a fence along the boundary, but the hedge has grown through it and/or pushed it over.

The hedge is a bit of a sensitive subject. It is huge - it runs for about 150 feet around my garden, 5m high, and is right on my boundary. It therefore shades my garden and creates a lot of work and waste. It affects me far more than him - it just lines a narrow driveway for him - but he doesn't want to reduce it in size. I want to replace the fence - the fact that the hedge has pushed it over means that animals can get in to our garden and we have had dogs and foxes wander in to the garden (and then the house) for a nosey - not ideal when we have a baby on the way.

So my questions are:

1) Does my neighbour have any responsibility for the damage that his hedge has caused to my fence? If so, what can I do about it?

2) What is my best option for replacing the fence? Would a wire mesh fence be a better option than a traditional fence, allowing the hedge to grow through it?

3) I am aware that when I cut the hedge on my side of the boundary, I have to offer the offcuts to my neighbour. But is there anything I can do to make him take them? the amount of waste is enormous and disposing of it costs a lot.

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laurel clippings will burn, but they are waxy and make a lot of unpleasant smoke.

Look at the weather forecast for wind direction before your next bonfire.
5mtrs high!!!! I'd chop them at the stumps then go ask him why he cut them down.
Isn't there a 2-metre legal limit on hedge height in your area?
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I am aware that when I cut the hedge on my side of the boundary, I have to offer the offcuts to my neighbour. But is there anything I can do to make him take them?
1) Invite him to cut the hedge your side (but make sure your house insurance covers you for third party liabilities).
2) Dump the cuttings on his drive.
You're on a hiding to nothing with that hedge, and if you replace you're fence, then the hedge will just detroy it again. How would you feel about having just the hedge there, instead of a fence. It'd require maintaining, and you might need to get an agreement with your neighbour for him to dispose of the cuttings as it's his hedge not yours.

You might get some help from environmental health, otherwise it'll be a visit to the solicitors, and then possibly a court case to enforce the trimming of the hedge. Do you have legal cover on your house insurance.
Thanks all. It really is 5m - higher in some places. A real monster.

He does trim the hedge from my side once a year but left the cuttings last time. I will speak to him (again) about the height and size. He is very precious about the hedge but a bit of research tells me that it is a "high hedge" and, if it comes to it, we could ask the council to come and take a look and do something formal about reducing the height.

As regards just having no fence: my concern is that it would mean animals could easily get in to the garden. As I mention in the OP, dogs and foxes just wander in at the moment. I want a fence primarily for this reason. Initially I thought it best to install a wire fence and allow the laurel to grow through it and hide it, but if the laurel mangles the wire fence it will be a nightmare to untangle which is why I think a traditional fence might be better. A low fence of say 1.5m would be fine- it needn't be huge.
If you have 150ft of boundary your never going to keep animals out. The high hedges act is your friend here. 5m is totally unreasonable but you may find that if he was forced to cut it then you will have to take on the maintenance of your side.
Thanks. I am OK with managing it on my side as long as it is reasonable and I can reach the top from a platform. At 5m that is clearly impossible - at 2.5m it is much more manageable!

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