Time to get back out in the garden? What you need to know about the most common garden disputes.

Property Disputes - 3 minutes read

As the arrival of spring brings everyone outdoors to enjoy their gardens after a cold stretch indoors, it’s a wonderful time to revel in nature’s beauty. However, before delving into your gardening plans, let’s discuss some the most frequently asked questions around garden disputes, how to avoid them, and how to stop them from spoiling your summer.

  1. Who owns this fence?

Which neighbour owns which fence is a common question and can sometimes lead to neighbour disputes. But it’s not always simple, and there is a difference between ownership of a fence and the obligation to maintain it. It’s also helpful to remember that the fence’s location may not always align precisely with the legal boundary. If there is any doubt, it’s best to discuss this with your neighbour and check the property title deeds. If you and your neighbour do not agree or it is unclear, then it’s best to get legal advice early on to prevent disputes from escalating.

  1. Can I prune overhanging branches?

Cutting or pruning overhanging branches from a neighbour’s property should be done with caution. While you’re allowed to trim branches up to the boundary line, communication with your neighbour is key, especially if boundary lines are unclear. Damaging a neighbour’s tree during pruning could lead to property damage claims, so it’s best to talk to your neighbour first to ensure they are happy with your plans.

  1. How can I stop my neighbours from making so much noise?

Nothing disrupts the tranquillity of your outdoor space like noisy neighbours. Nearly half of all neighbour disputes revolve around noise. If you’re facing this challenge, consider having a friendly conversation with your neighbour or sending them a polite letter outlining the issue. If a resolution seems out of reach, contacting your local council is an option, and an expert property lawyer can explain your rights and options.

  1. Do I have to give my neighbour access to my alleyway?

Shared driveways or accessways can sometimes be a little inconvenient, but it’s important to compromise to avoid disputes with your neighbour. Make sure you understand and respect any easements – rights granted over a property for the benefit of another – and if you are unsure of yours or your neighbours rights, seek advice from a property disputes lawyer who can explain any existing agreements and if necessary, any scope to amend them.

  1. What should I do if I find Japanese knotweed in my garden?

First of all, don’t attempt to deal with it yourself. Disturbing the plant could lead to a criminal offence if it causes it to spread. The best course of action is to get an expert to come and identify the plant. An expert firm will also be able to explain all the options for eradicating it. If you are unsure if you are responsible for the cost of its removal, a good property disputes lawyer will be able to tell you if responsibility may lie with a previous owner or a neighbour.

  1. My neighbours are blocking light into my garden – what can I do?

Anyone planning a home extension, loft conversion, or outbuilding should consider if it could affect a neighbour’s “right to light”. If a neighbour’s actions or building work have affected natural light reaching your property, then you may have the right to force your neighbour to take actions to rectify the situation.

Talk to us

If you find yourself entangled in garden or neighbour disputes, don’t hesitate to contact our expert property dispute resolution team for advice. We are dedicated to resolving disputes amicably wherever possible.