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Can My Neighbour Block My View in the UK

Woman struggling to look over top of garden fence into her neighbours garden

 

We've previously talked about how to block your neighbour's view of your garden, but what about if you are on the other side of the fence? What if your neighbour blocks your view completely in the UK? Today we discuss what the law says about blocking views and garden fencing ideas that will make both parties happy.

 

Neighbours Blocking View

The first thing you should know when it comes to hedge, fencing or view disputes, is that you must try to resolve the issue between yourself and the neighbour before involving your local council. You can make a formal complaint under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 but only once all other avenues have been exhausted. Unfortunately, we know many people who have had to resort to this after trying everything to reason with their neighbours.

 

Rules about Neighbours Block View

These are the occasions you can make a complaint to your council in relation to the view:

  • 2 or more mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs or over 2 metres tall or fencing they have constructed or modified is over 2 metres tall.
  • the hedge must be on residential land owned by your immediate neighbour.
  • The height is affecting your enjoyment of your home or garden because it’s too tall.
  • All attempts to resolve the issue have failed.

Other Rule Considerations

The onus isn't always on your neighbour, however. There are things that you can do and things that you should avoid. So, don't forget that:

  • You can trim branches or roots that cross into your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road but you can only trim up to the property boundary. If you go over the boundary, your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property because the bush or tree belongs to them.
  • If you live in a conservation area, or the trees in the hedge are protected by a ‘tree preservation order’, you might need your council’s permission to trim them. This protects wildlife and native flora.
  • If your property borders a road, the highways authority can ask you to cut back hedges or trees on your property if they’re causing an obstruction to the road or walkways. If you refuse, they have the legal authority to go into your property without your permission to do the work themselves. So, you should abide by the law, especially as they may charge you for any work done on your property.

 

Garden Ideas that Work for Both Neighbours

While you may not be able to convince your neighbour to cut down that hedge or knock down their enormous fence without the involvement of the council, we wanted to share some ideas that could work for certain gardens.

Garden Fencing Ideas

A fence cannot be more than 2 metres usually but that doesn't mean they don't block a view when under this height. Fencing is usually made from solid fence panels but there are many different types that provide more light, air and views through them. Choosing or asking your neighbour to choose these fencing options will make your outdoor space more appealing.

  • Trellis tops allow lots of light in and depending on the design will not spoil the view. They may even improve the view if you love the style.
  • Single slatted wooden fence panels have a contemporary horizontal design that brings more light and air into a garden. While they may block a view in its entirety, it provides more visibility and a more open look to a garden. Especially important in small gardens.

Hedge Ideas

You can also suggest different plants and ideas that will keep a hedge in check.

  • Ensure you keep your hedges and trees well trimmed and the same goes for any of your neighbours' trees that overhang your property. By showing that you are keeping up with the gardening they will be more inclined to.
  • If you are green-fingered, suggest to your neighbour plants and shrubs that will not get too tall. They may be grateful when it comes to keeping their garden neat that they don't have any massive trees to contend with.

Make Friends

To avoid fighting with your neighbours, make sure to make friends with them as soon as you move in or they move in. While we'd hope everyone can get along and keep their garden boundary in check, we know it's not always the case. Be a good neighbour yourself and next door will be much more inclined to keep on your good side.

 

More Fencing & Garden Rule Resources

Here are some other articles that you might find helpful.