Garden hedges are great, aren’t they? You can use them as a screen to separate your garden from the neighbours’, plus they are great news for local wildlife. But, how high can I grow my garden hedge, I hear you cry? Can you make it as tall as a skyscraper, to literally block out the rest of the world?
Let’s have a look into the legal and moral ins and outs of hedge growing, so that you know exactly where you stand with yours.
What You'll Learn Today
How High Can I Grow My Garden Hedge?
You can sunbathe naked; have smoky barbecues; exercise your dogs and your children to your heart’s content, without anyone peeping over your hedge!
However, that is not actually possible in this day and age. Your hedge must be within acceptable limits, otherwise it might offend your neighbours and cause rifts.
You can’t allow your hedge to turn into a rainforest, because of the impact it might have on other people.
There are regulations which state which type your hedge is – anything over 6ft (2 metres) is considered a “high hedge.”
Most hedges that offer some degree of privacy are around this height, and can sometimes get even higher.
But, how high can you actually grow your garden hedge? Let’s look into this in more detail…
What Is The Legal Height Of A Hedge UK?
This is a bit of a grey area. Your hedge isn’t considered “high” until it is 2 metres or over, and they are generally around this height without causing problems.
As long as your hedge isn’t causing an eyesore or encroaching into a neighbour’s space, there are generally no problems.
It’s when a hedge starts to impact on other people’s lives that issues can arise, and can lead to neighbour disputes and a lot of stress.
There is no blanket rule to decide the height of a hedge, but if your own or a neighbour’s hedge is causing problems there are steps you can take:
- Start by talking to your neighbours if you get along, chances are you can deal with the problem amicably. Make sure you keep copies of any correspondence!
- Contact the local council. There is a fee for this, but it can help you to resolve your disputes.
- The council will consider both sides of the argument,and may issue an order to have the hedge cut back.
- You will have the chance to appeal, if you feel the decision is not to your liking – again there will be a fee for this process.
- The hedge may be ordered to be cut back in stages, to allow it to regrow between trimmings.
- The hedge probably won’t be ordered to be cut back to a specific height, but hopefully having it trimmed even slightly will prevent any issues.
Do I Need Planning Permission For A Hedge?
The short answer is no, you don’t need planning permission for a hedge. You are free to plant just about anything you want on your own land, as long as it is not an invasive species.
Most hedges are considered to be a group or two of evergreen plants – bamboo and ivy are not considered to be a part of a hedge.
As a general rule, a garden hedge can get to around 6 feet (2 metres) before it is considered a “high hedge” – this type of hedge is usually the kind that causes issues.
No neighbour is going to give you hassle over a hedge that is below 6 feet, and even if they do, no council will consider an application to remove it.
You don’t need planning permission for a hedge, as long as you are not planning to plant a hideous invasive species, or have it tower over your neighbour’s house.
Hedges are actually great news for local wildlife – birds, bugs and beasties often make these places their homes, and a good hedge can be a beautiful thing.
You won’t need planning permission either for an existing hedge or one that you plant – but to avoid problems in the future, be considerate of any people living nearby.
Can I Reduce The Height Of My Neighbour’s Hedge?
If your neighbours have a hedge that is irritating you, or impacting on your own garden, you are far from alone!
Border disputes are among one of the most common causes of difficulties between neighbours, but hacking down your neighbour’s intrusive hedge will certainly not improve your relationship.
- If the hedge is hanging over into your garden, you are well within your rights to trim it back – but only the part that is actually in your garden.
- If their hedge is causing bigger issues, such as roots growing under a fence or a shed, you do have the right to ask them to do something about it.
- If they refuse, then unfortunately you will have to find yourself a good property solicitor to help you deal with the legalities.
- If you do trim back thee hedge on your side, you should offer the trimmings back to your neighbour, or dispose of them in a responsible way if they do not want them.
- You can’t just go hacking back your neighbour’s hedge without asking them first, or at least starting some sort of dialogue – this can lead to much worse disputes.
- In the first instance, talk to your neighbours.
- If talking doesn’t work, chat to your local council. If none of these gentler approaches work then you might have to bring in a property lawyer.
- Whatever option you pick, make sure it is a long term solution that will suit both you and your closest neighbours and prevent any issues in the future.
This video will talk you through some of the ins and outs of reducing the height of your neighbour’s trees and hedges, and why you should always seek legal advice:
So there you have a it – a few hints and tips on how to maintain your hedge height for the best results, for both you and your neighbours!