We would like a high hedge but our neighbour cuts it low

We would like a high hedge but our neighbour cuts it low

We would like a high hedge but our neighbour cuts it low

  • Boundaries
  • Neighbours


There is a low hedge between our neighbours’ front garden and ours. We would like it higher, but they like to keep it low — and do. The roots are (mostly) on their side. My solution: cut back most of the growth on our side, and erect a fence between the two gardens. How high can we go? If we have to sink posts into the ground, how close to the boundary can they be? And, finally, if the fence-builder were to leave a gap at the bottom, and nature caused the hedge to regrow on our side of the fence — eventually, perhaps, even higher than the fence itself — would our low-hedge-loving neighbours then be within their rights to come into our garden and cut it back? Or would we then have a high hedge that they couldn’t interfere with?


Given that the roots of the hedge are mainly on your neighbours’ side it seems the hedge is on their property. Consequently, your neighbours’ may keep the hedge at whatever height they wish. The first thing you should do is discuss with your neighbours your preference for a higher hedge. If they are not in agreement with this then you should outline clearly what you are planning to do. Bear in mind that erecting a fence and leaving a gap for the hedge to grow up on your side may be seen by your neighbours as an aggressive move and could lead to unnecessary conflict in the future where the only solution is through litigation.

If you do decide to erect a new fence then the posts must be inside your boundary. Remember that if your neighbours remove the hedge in the future they could gain an extra strip of land in their garden. Where a hedge extends over a boundary then you can trim it back to the boundary line, but must return all trimmings to your neighbour as these belong to them.

An alternative solution could be to grow your own hedge inside your property, which you can then keep at a higher height. Do remember to check if there are any conditions relating to hedge heights imposed on your property. This can be the case where an estate is managed by a property management company or where the developer continues to hold the freehold of the land and title has been passed on to individual property owners by way of a long lease.

Finally, your neighbour must ask permission to enter your property in order to maintain their hedge; otherwise it would be trespassing.

Niamh O’Reilly is a member of the geomatics professional group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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