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Hi, to every one,I have a problem with one of my neighbours, Fences can i stain the side of fences which panel faces in to my garden. The problem is that we do not talk to neighbours, or should i say they do not talk to any one. I would not like to stain the panel, if i was doing some thing wrong, in the eyes of the law. i do hope some one can give me some advices on this matter

        Good luck And Happy Gardening.

Alina W

As far as I know, if the panel was put up by your neighbours they can complain if you do anything to it, including pin plants to it. I would presume it's the same if you stain it.

Have a read of this, taken from boundary problems website, hope this helps.

Fences as supports: Can I hang things on my neighbour's fence?
Fences as supports: Can I use my neighbour's fence as a support for my own plants?
Fences, appearance of: Can I paint my side of my neighbour's fence?

Only if your neighbour gives you permission to do so.

Leaning things against your neighbour's fence, hanging things on your neighbour's fence, even using your neighbour's fence as a makeshift retaining wall, will place a much heavier burden on the fence panels and supporting posts than they were designed to bear. The consequences of such actions are easy enough to predict and you will be liable for the cost of any repairs. On top of that you will still have to do, and pay for, the work that you did incorrectly and which resulted in the damage to your neighbour's fence.

In short, anything you do to your neighbour's fence without your neighbour's permission
- including staining, painting or applying preservative to your side of your neighbour's fence -
amounts to criminal damage.


Is the panel in the confines of the boundary fence that divides both your gardens or is a replacement boundary fence. If its inside the confines of their garden, you cannot as it's their property. But if its a boundary fence, possibly....but I'm not a 100%.

Just shout over the fence one nice evening - hey, can I stain this side of fence ( listen to their response) cheers !!

Not sure, if this is of much use....

That`s the important bit, who actually owns the fence?, it`s position in relation to the legal boundary, it`s worth finding out before you do anything at all really.


Gary Hobson
Alina W wrote (see)

...if the panel was put up by your neighbours...


Dan2012 wrote (see)

That`s the important bit, who actually owns the fence?...

Perhaps you already know that it's not your fence, hence your question.

But as a general rule of thumb, the owner of the fence is the owner on the side on which the fencing posts lie. So if the fencing posts are on your side of the fence, it should be your fence and you can do what you like with it; and conversely.

More about fence ownership (including the rule of thumb) here:

Who Owns My Fence


I can tell you from first hand experience that you have NO right even to touch your neighbours fence, especially as you indicate that they are not normal neighbours!!

So, let it be, they are within the LAW to verbally abuse you over the issue.

By the way, the police will NOT help you even if they make your life hell ("'s a domestic issue madam...")

So beware! Keep well away, life's too short. Just enjoy your garden.

Good luck.


How about putting your own fencing up within the confines of your garden at the same height - should only take a few inches away. This way it saves all the hassle and you'll be able to stain it.

I know this is not answering your question, but its a way round the problem.

Anything for an easy life, i say !!


I know it is correct, but how do you fix panels to fence posts if the posts are nearer you?  Surely it's easier to fix panels if the posts are away from you?  It has always puzzled me.

Welshonion wrote (see)

I know it is correct, but how do you fix panels to fence posts if the posts are nearer you?  Surely it's easier to fix panels if the posts are away from you?  It has always puzzled me.

I can only speak for myself, I have never used this rule of thumb with standard panels, I am sure it`s easier with vertical boards and arris rail etc. I have always placed posts just inside the boundary and attatched panels from my side, easier to avoid conflicts, maintain and replace.

As previous posters have already pointed out, you need to know whose fence it actually is!  Garden boundaries are usually indicated on house plans/deeds etc.  If you look at a site plan there may be T-shaped markers shown on it.  A bit like this: __________T___________.  The owner of the land on which the T shape "sits" (i.e. here it's above the line shown) is responsible for/owns the boundary. It's unlikely that the owner of a garden is responsible for all the boundary fencing, especially if the property is one with neighbouring gardens e.g. a house in a row of similar properties.  It's likely, in that case, that one side and perhaps the rear boundary fence is the responsibility of the owner of the garden - less likely that the garden owner is responsible for all boundaries.


Thank-you all, for your response's.They have gone on holiday for two weeks,i was  going to do it this week but i will not.

Good Luck And Happy Gardening

Thank you Tazmanalun.


This made me laugh I bet your more confused than ever.. Id just approach them they can only say no or maybe yes...

Gardening Grandma

You could put up trellis a couple of inches from the fence and grow things up it and in front of it to soften and obscure the boundary. On the other hand, if the staining is a fait accompli when they come back, there isn't much they can do and you are, after all, helping to preserve the fence, especially if you choose a similar colour to the existing one. If they are neglecting it, they may not care much anyway. They might even be grateful. Otherwise, why not just plant things in front of it and hide it?   

From :

"There is a legal presumption that every wall or fence dividing two people’s property running down the boundary line is a party wall or fence.   If this is the case then you are entitled to paint on it because it is on your side of the boundary. If the fence is fully located on your neighbour's side then you cannot."


The 'rule of thumb' about ownership of the fence being on the side where the fence post lie, refers to chain link fencing where the posts are on one side of the fence.  The problems come when that has been replaced by any form of fence where the posts are in line with panels.  Deeds will generally show a T on the fence lines indicating which property they belong to.  Not a great help these days when you never get to see the deeds!


This post has got me worried, as I am growing Wisteria, Chilean Poato trees, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Firethorn, Passion Flowers and Ivy around my garden -against  3 boundary fences (not erected by us). On the other side, I have painted the panels with preserver (again this fence is not ours.  My other half assures me we have no boundary fence responsibility.

We get on well with the people on the painted fence side, in fact we were chatting while I did it. 

We do not have much to do with the people who own the other 3 fences, except to nod & say Hi occasionally, although they did ask me for cuttings when I was pruning the Chilean Potato Tree. last year.

Could I take the fact of 1) no complaint made about the painting and  2)  request was made for cuttings,  as  agreement / permission for me to paint & plant.

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