It is always necessary to check the local laws whenever you move to a new place – which helps keep you from accidentally breaking them. If you own a yard, lawn, or garden, checking garden lawns is a must.
Below are some surprising garden laws you could be accidentally breaking:
For Hedges With Two Owners
If the gardens of you and your neighbors are separated by a hedge, you two will take responsibility for trimming it.
You can trim the branches from the hedge side belonging to your neighbor growing into your garden but remember to return what you cut to them though they’re not obliged to accept them.
Never throw them into your neighbor’s garden because you can be fined for garden waste fly-tipping.
Before trimming overhang tree branches, make sure it is not covered by a Tree Preservation Order.
The trimming must not poison the roots or affect the survival of the tree. If the tree died because of you, you might be legally responsible for paying compensation
Do not lean into your neighbor’s garden to cut them because you could constitute trespass. Instead, trim them up to the property line.
If you own a hedge, be mindful of its height.
Under an Antisocial Behavior Order (ASBO), the hedge owner has to manage its height to a ‘reasonable size’ defined by some official booklets.
Note: That garden law doesn't cover deciduous and bamboo hedges.
Blocking Natural Light In Your Neighbors’ Home
Under the Rights of Light Act, if a window of your neighbors’ home has received sunlight for at least twenty years, you are not allowed to grow a new tree to block it.
Or, if your tree is tall and its foliage blocks natural light in others’ homes, they have the right to send a complaint form to the local council and you might be fined or asked to remove it.
Wind Fallen Fruits
Strong enough winds can cause ripe fruits to fall and some of them might accidentally land on the property of the next house - which is also a common occurrence.
If you wake up one morning, go out into the yard, and find that some ripe fruits fell from a neighbor's fruit tree by accident, be sure to ask their permission if you want to keep them.
Fence And Boundaries
Fences and boundaries are prone to cause disputes later because they can move from time to time.
To know who owns a fence, a quick trick is to look at the T mark. If it is on your side of the boundary, that fence belongs to you and you will take responsibility for it, and vice versa.
If there is a T mark on both sides, that fence belongs to you and your neighbor and it is called a party boundary.
In cases that there's no T mark at all, check the house deeds.
- To deal with boundary disputes, contact HM Land Registry
- Unless the house deeds state otherwise, there is no legal responsibility to periodically maintain boundaries
If you own land containing cattle, it is recommended to build a fence for many good reasons:
- To keep cattle within your properties
- To prevent them from bothering your neighbors
- Avoid the constitution of trespassing
- Avoid possible claims for damages under the Animals Act
If you don’t feed any cattle or pets, there's no need to build a fence to avoid potential disputes in the future.
Notes: These pieces of information are based on the Garden Buildings Direct, applicable to UK gardens.
It is a bit ridiculous that while you have to return wind fallen fruit/flower technically to the owner, you will have to tidy wind fallen leaves technically on your own.
The tree owner is not responsible for cleaning them if they accidentally fall into your property.
If you intend to build a garden sauna, be mindful of getting permission from the local government as well as being subject to all available laws.
A decking and veranda area can't be higher than 12 inches from the ground. Otherwise, you technically need to plan it.
Due to the flue length, most wood-burning garden saunas should be at least 6.5 feet from the boundary.
In a few countries, you have the right to speak and seek a replacement or a refund if the plant that you buy is not as described.
For example, if a plant doesn't bloom or bloom in a different color from what was advertised before, you can ask to receive a refund.
But take note that you're allowed reasonable time to do that.
Under the Weeds Act of 1959, garden owners have to eliminate or control the weeds in their properties (consisting of Canada thistle and ragwort) as long as they don't impact the legal definition.
Above are all the surprising garden laws you could be accidentally breaking. Which one surprised you the most? I’d like to hear more about your thoughts, so please let me know through the comment section. Thanks for reading!