Time spent outside is good for our mental health, but if you want to truly relax you may want to make sure you’re not accidentally breaking any of these gardening laws!
Trimming overhanging branches
If a tree’s branches overhang into your property from a neighbour’s, you can trim them, but only up to the property line. You can’t lean into the neighbour’s garden to do this, though – this constitutes trespass.
If a tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, you can’t cut the branches.
Fruit and flowers
Although you can cut branches that hang into your garden up to the property line, they still belong to the neighbour – as do any flowers or fruit on them. Your neighbour is legally entitled to demand them back.
Do not throw them into the neighbour’s garden, as this could constitute garden waste fly tipping.
Windfallen fruit technically still belongs to the person who owns the tree. So, if your neighbour’s windfalls end up on your lawn, ask for permission if you want to keep them.
Tree owners are not responsible for sweeping up fallen leaves.
Trees blocking light
Under the Rights of Light Act, if a window has received natural light for 20 years or more, neighbours can’t block it with a new tree.
Fences and boundaries
These can be tricky to resolve.
The house deeds should indicate who owns fences and is responsible for boundaries (although there is no legal responsibility to keep boundaries well maintained, unless the deeds state otherwise).
But boundaries can move over time and cause disputes later. You may need to contact HM Land Registry for help with boundary disputes.
If a hedge grows along the boundary between two gardens, both neighbours are responsible for trimming.
If a hedge belonging to a neighbour grows into your garden, you can trim it but, as with tree branches, you must return the trimmings to the owner.
There you have it! Just a few easy steps and you can make sure you’re not breaking any of these gardening laws.