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MarissaKMarissaK Forumite
7 posts
Wonder if someone has any thoughts of how to proceed with this.

A bit of background
I moved into a house a few months ago that was perfect (been looking for years) apart from the rear garden. The boundary to one side is completely open to the neighbour's garden. I asked the vendor why it was like this and she said she had cut back some shrubs so it now looked more open than it used to. It didn't look too weird, because yes there;s lots of overgrown shrubs, it's just there's no physical boundary as all the shrubs are on my land and are dotted about, they don't form a hedge or anything. I can literally walk onto my neighbour's lawn if i wanted to by just pushing through the shrubbery. there's big gaps where you can see through
Fast forward to now and I mentioned to the neighbour about getting a fence as I might get a dog in the future. He had been ok up to then (the odd 'hello'), but as soon as i mentioned getting a fence he went crazy about how his garden is how he likes it etc. Said he doesn't want a fence at all. I would like a hedge there, but can't afford it. I mentioned this to him and he said he doesn't want anything there

We both agree where the legal boundary is, but the problem is there is no physical boundary and no sign of what used to be there. the rest of the development have a mix of hedges and fences, no one else has an open boundary.

I've tried looking at boundary disputes online, but there doesn't seem to be any help for what to do if there is no physical boundary.

The boundary is shared (its on the deeds). But how can I share nothing? Is my only option to put up a fence slightly off the boundary line? I feel he will still not like this though. He's since told me that the shrubs in the front garden are too high and i should cut them down (they're not, they're the same as when I bought the house - about 6 ft)
Scared he's going to make my life hell if i put a boundary up. he seems like that kind of person.


  • TheCyclingProgrammerTheCyclingProgrammer Forumite
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    Unfortunately there's little he can do to stop you putting up a fence unless there's a covenant in your deeds preventing you.

    Even if the boundary is shared, to avoid any possible dispute I would ensure you install it on your side of the boundary.

    You say you are in agreement with where the boundary is - if this is the case I would recommend temporarily mark the boundary with string - if he has no dispute with the agreed boundary line then proceed with building the fence on your side.

    It does sound like he is going to be a bit of an !!!! about it. Unfortunately, as nice as it would be to get on with your neighbours, the only person being unreasonable here is your neighbour. If he'd prefer to look at shrubs/hedging instead of a fence then let *him* spend the money and plant some on his side.

    One possible compromise is a shorter fence, say 3ft hight. This would make the boundary slightly more secure but it would still feel open.
  • GrenageGrenage Forumite
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    Regarding the cost of a hedge, it's dramatically cheaper than a fence if you're using bare-root plants.

    Above all else, maintain relations if at all possible. Neighbours really can make or break your home life.
  • My only worry would be if he said after i'd put the fence up that i'd put it on the boundary. i looked at getting something official put into the deeds, like a proper planned boundary but a surveyor said it costs quite a bit.
    i can imagine he's quite cantankerous and would maybe damage the fence. i dunno, maybe i'm worrying unnecessarily, but he really does not want anything on the boundary. i can't understand why. i've never know anyone have an open area like this unless the land is shared

    i got a quote for laurels, but it came to more than the fence. not much, admittedly, but i would have to factor in having it cut every year. i already have hedges on two other sides and they cost a lot to have cut.
  • TheCyclingProgrammerTheCyclingProgrammer Forumite
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    Neighbourly relations are great but don't let them rule your life. It's your garden too, if you want a fence, get a fence. They don't sound like the sort of person you want to be friends with either.
  • DoozergirlDoozergirl Forumite
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    We've just had laurels put in. They were £2.50 each. Small admittedly, but they've grown quickly and that's the sort of thing that will grow up over time and not be as much of a shock for your neighbour.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • edited 31 August 2017 at 5:57PM
    MarissaKMarissaK Forumite
    7 posts
    edited 31 August 2017 at 5:57PM
    Absolutely, I don't want to be friends. I want to try and have a civil, neighbourly relationship however, but he doesn't make it easy.
    I feel that the garden is very insecure as it is and there have been a lot of burglaries in the area. Also, I can hear everything he says in the garden and also his radio and telly (when windows are open, obvs). A fence will hopefully stop some of the noise.

    I will look again at laurels, but I think the issue my gardener had was that the area is quite shaded and they may not grow quickly or well at all.
  • TheCyclingProgrammerTheCyclingProgrammer Forumite
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    When you got a quote for hedging, was that for mature plants? These will cost hundreds of pounds. Smaller plants will be much cheaper so get something that grows faster (maybe not leylandii though - unless you *really* want to wind your neighbour up).
  • littlemoneylittlemoney Forumite
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    Laurels are a good hedging plants to grow in shade. and they can grow very tall so he may in the future reget not having a fence.
  • EssexExileEssexExile Forumite
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    This is a great site for hedging:
    Plant it small & the neighbour won't be upset, but it will grow!
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    Are you disabled in some way? If not, you can plant things gradually, filling in the gaps over time so that the changes also happen slowly. You can also get the tools to cut your own hedges, which will save money.....what this site is supposed to be about.

    Buckingham Nurseries is a good source of small and bare root plants in autumn/winter. I use them frequently. They have more interesting plants than laurel or leylandii, like eleagnus, griselina, yews and hollies. With some plants, I buy bare rooted in November, stick them in a nursery bed for a year to grow on and plant out later. I have cheap yew hedges taller than me now that were done in this way only 6 years ago.

    But let's be clear about one thing; someone who is not willing to 'allow' you to have a boundary marked by a hedge or fence is being unreasonable and is most likely to be a very controlling person. You have a right to put up your own fence wherever the boundary is agreed to be, if you have it in your deeds that you're responsible for marking that boundary.

    So, if it were me, I'd get my reputable contractor to contact Mr Unreasonable and agree with him where the boundary is so that posts for a low fence could be marked-out and the posts put in. If he refuses to cooperate, you will then have a witness to the fact, if he then complains it's in the wrong place.

    A fence won't be cheap, I know, and a low fence won't give you instant privacy, but this is the first battle you face with this neighbour and it's important to win it......nicely. If he thinks he's won, there will be much more to come and you will be moving-on in a few years. That will cost much, much more than a fence.
    "Modern day book burning" Comment on You Tube's interference with Brett Weinstein's Podcasts.
    When you take flak, you're over the target!
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