Gardening disputes between neighbours

by Kate Bradbury

If you're bearing a grudge against one of your neighbours, one way to exact revenge is plant a leylandii hedge in your garden.

Cutting hedgeIf you're bearing a grudge against your neighbours, one way to exact revenge is plant a leylandii hedge in your garden. Left unclipped, it could grow to up to 35m high and 5m wide. It will be a haven for garden birds, insects and even the odd mammal, but your neighbours will hate you.

The news broke this week that a Plymouth resident has upset all of his neighbours by planting 16 leylandii trees in his front garden and leaving them to grow, completely obscuring the house. At one time the hedge would have looked rather impressive, but now it's an eyesore. The hedge draws out moisture and nutrients from the soil and deprives neighbouring gardens of light.

The Leyland cypress, or leylandii, is an obvious choice for homeowners wanting to avoid being overlooked by their neighbours. Leylandii grows at a phenomenal rate (around one metre a year), and will quickly provide shelter and privacy in your garden. But if it's not trimmed regularly (up to three times a year) it can grow out of control and cause problems. Disputes between neighbours appear regularly in the news, with obsessive behaviour sometimes leading to jail terms and even murder.

Leylandii hedges aren't the only cause of antagonism between neighbours. The height of fences, boundary disputes, neighbours' cats, rubbish and tall trees are all issues causing angst between neighbours, not to mention the question of who pays the bill for these problems to be resolved.

How can we avoid falling out with our neighbours? If you've been involved in a dispute with your neighbours how did you resolve it?

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Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2010 at 10:06

Wasn't the 'High Hedges Act' (actually part of the Anti Social Beehaviour Act) supposed to outlaw hedges over 2m if they cause a loss of amenity to neighbours?? I think first port of call (if rasonable negotiations fail) is to the council and they should intervene. I stand to be corrected but last time I checked this, this was the case. Ian

Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2010 at 10:59

The high hedges act is a joke. Been trying to get our council to take action against the neighbours at the back of the garden for months. Why should we have to stump up the cost of the council's investigation? Needless to say the neighbours won't cut it themselves. They 'enjoy the privacy'.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2010 at 11:22

My problem is the neighbour's eucalyptus tree. It's huge! It blocks out all the light to my south-facing garden and drops its b****y leaves all over my lawn. Council can't do anything because it's not a hedge. Neighbours are happy to see it go but I have to pay for it. No compromise. We used to get on really well but I just can't get on with them now. So inconsidereate.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2010 at 14:11

which council are you in Matty?

Gardeners' World Web User 12/09/2010 at 10:58

I have a leylandii hedge at the bottom of my garden it was a source of some dispute between the people who used to live in my property and the owners of the leylandii , since the owners of the said leylandii did not do any thing regarding trimming i took it upon myself to keep it trimmed , armed with some long branch loppers i would trim all the leaders out thus keeping hedge within a limit of common sense but my neighbour caught me last week doing my regular trim and immediatley went on the attack, i keeping my calm pointed out to her that the law states that the max height for these hedges is 6foot 6 inches and that she nor i wanted that height and that all i wanted to avoid was the hedge getting out of control so it would cost her money to have it trimmed, after i had been scolded for not asking her permission to carry out the trim she gave her permission to carry on, i might add that all the trimmings were in my garden and desposed of by me

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