What Is The Legal Height Of A Hedge Between Neighbours?

Written By James
Updated March 12, 2022 by James

What Is The Legal Height Of A Hedge Between Neighbours?

How High Can a Hedge Be Between Neighbours?

Having a boundary hedge in between you and your neighbour can be great for a secluded garden, however, hedges can cause tensions between neighbours when overgrown hedges are not maintained. 

An overgrown domestic hedge can cause a lack of light and be a nuisance to neighbours who want to look out over their garden or have better access to sunlight, you may also need to do boundary hedge cutting if the professional hedge is owned by both your and your neighbour's property. 

Typically, most laws state in the UK that your hedge can not be left to grow over a height of 2 metres, after this, you can ask the current hedge owner to cut it or call authorities to help with the situation. 

So as you can figure out more about your property with hedge plants in the boundary or how you can sort problematic hedge plants on your neighbour's side, we have put together a short guide below that will offer tips and advice about how to tackle your neighbour's hedge lawfully. 

Is It Illegal To Have a Hedge Too High? 

First of all, let's address the legalities of your hedge, your neighbours hedge or a boundary hedge. 

No matter what kind of hedge you have, it is illegal on a residential property to let the height of the informal hedges reach over 2m, when the hedge reaches this excess height it should be trimmed immediately otherwise you may be subject to removing it from the local authority. 

Local councils can take legal action against your hedge due to the high hedges act made in 2005 and the anti-social behaviour act which was made in 2003, the hedge in question must also be a line of one or two evergreen tree shrubs for it to not qualify as a lawful hedge in the UK. 

Single neighbouring trees are also not included in this act and if you have hedge sunlight then the complaint might not be taken as seriously as it would be if it was blocking all light source, it is always best to try and settle private hedge matters with your neighbour first of all before taking it to the local authority straight away. 

We have summarised the points which make troublesome hedge plants illegal below. 

  • The hedge is over 2m tall. 
  • Is a barrier to light. 
  • Made up of one or two tree shrubs. 
  • Affect enjoyment of neighbours home.

Problems An Overgrown Hedge Can Cause 

A hedge made up of evergreen or semi-evergreen trees that have been left to grow over 2m can cause many different issues which might lead you to want to cut your neighbour's hedge or complain to the local council, we have listed a few problems a too tall hedge might cause you below.

  • Roots affecting your property - You may have to ask your neighbour to cut their hedge or get a tree officer if the roots are protruding onto your property, this can cause cement breakage and generally make the side of your property with the roots look messy.
  • Light blocking - A too high hedge over 2m can block light into your garden, not only does this make your garden less enjoyable but it also can stop plants and vegetables growing in your garden due to lack of sunlight from the foot hedge height.
  • Affects stone fence - If you have a stone-walled fence an overgrown private hedge could potentially weaken it and cause cracks, affecting the overall durability of the fence.
  • Messy look - A fastest-growing hedges height can look bad on your side of the garden and unattractive.
  • Overhanging - Without proper hedge maintenance neighbours hedge can drop leaves into your garden, this can be an effort to clean up from your garden grass and can cause dampness and mould if left making a dingy garden.

Can I Cut My Neighbours Hedge? 

If you are suffering from some of the issues above due to your neighbour's lack of hedge maintenance, then you might be wondering if you can cut the tree without permission due to its being an illegal height. 

Well, you can cut any part of your neighbour's hedge which is protruding onto your side legally as long as you do not harm the plant itself, it's best to consult your neighbour first and tell them you are doing this to iron out any issues. 

If the hedge is too tall then your neighbour should be the person to trim it down under 2m, never cut any part of the hedge which is on your neighbour's side as this could be a sign of trespassing. 

We have made an easy to follow list below that will cover when it's okay to trim your neighbour's hedge and when it's not to clear up any decisions. 

It Is Okay To Trim Your Neighbours Hedge If...

  • You trim up to the boundary line and no further. 
  • Branches and leaves are overhanging into your property. 
  • You have discussed it with your neighbour and have permission to trim the tree. 

It Is Not Okay To Trim Your Neighbours Hedge If...

  • Your trimming could affect wildlife in the hedge. 
  • You have to trespass to trim the hedge. 
  • The hedge is protected under tree preservation orders. 

Who Should Cut a Boundary Hedge? 

If you have a tall boundary hedge over 2m between you and your neighbour and your not sure who has full ownership over the hedge, then you might be wondering who should be the person to cover the cost of hedge trimming. 

Well, if neither party is not sure who owns the hedge then both neighbours should be trimming each side of the hedge on their side respectively and splitting the costs for maintenance, if the hedge is overgrown on one side and not the other it is that neighbours side responsibility to keep the hedge in good shape. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Heights Of Hedge Between Neighbours 

What is the legal evergreen hedge height? 

Your evergreen hedge should not be over a 2m height, more than this it can disrupt the surrounding properties. 

When should I not trim my hedge? 

You should hold off trimming a hedge if you have to trespass, it is a protected hedge or it has nesting birds inside. Never trim any part of your neighbour's hedge before discussing with them first if it's okay.

Can I call my local council about my neighbour's hedge? 

If you have tried to resolve the overgrown hedge issue with your neighbour and no action has been taken, you can take the issue to your local council as long as the hedge is over 2m in height, more than one line of shrubs and is affecting your property.

How tall can a Leylandii tree be? 

A Leylandii tree just like other hedges should not be over 2m in height, further than this they will need to be trimmed.

What are the fastest-growing hedges types? 

Some of the fastest-growing hedge types in the UK are; English Laurel, Portuguese Laurel and Leylandii hedges.

How can I resolve the tension between neighbours about an overgrown hedge? 

It is best to either involve your local council or get a mediator to help resolve any tension between you and your neighbour around a hedge, for boundary hedges this might mean reaching an agreement between the two of you about upkeeping each side of the bush.

Last Words

To conclude, a hedge of any type should not reach over 2m in height, once this happens you can kindly ask your neighbour to trim their bush or take the matter to your local council if need be. For boundary hedges in between you and your neighbour, you should both maintain each side of your hedge. 

You have the right to cut any of your neighbour's hedge which is protruding onto your side of your property and causing disruption. Never however damage your neighbour's hedge during this process or trespass over to cut their side of the hedge without any permission, doing so could escalate the dispute further.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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3 comments on “What Is The Legal Height Of A Hedge Between Neighbours?”

  1. 17/11/2021
    Since first discovering and then Posting on this site, my neighbour has firstly
    hacked the conifers back to the border. 2 days ago these branches were cut back right to the trunks of the 2 trees. This was neater but definitely over into my boundary. I spoke to him about it, he stated "they were not interested"! Yesterday 2 large vehicles were parked on their drive, taking up the whole area. They themselves do not seem to be at home. Apparently Council Planning Offices have a form for completing when this action has occurred, I will phone them today.

  2. My neighbour is complaining about evergreen trees in my garden. We do not share a boundary. He has lived there for less than 2 years. He says the trees are blocking light to his solar panels (installed since moving in) - placed on a shed roof with a low gradient and facing WSW/ENE. I have lived in the house for 28 years and the trees were trees then. They have had some work on them previously which nearly killed them and they are now healthy and a haven for wildlife. He is saying they are a hedge. He is now harassing me.

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