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Overgrown and Messy Gardens

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Sep 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Gardens Neighbours Garden Weeds Problems

Most people will take some pride in their gardens to one degree or another. Of course, some will be keener than others to show off their green fingers, and will want to create a spectacle of colour through the addition of flowers and a well-manicured lawn.

There will, however, be others that do not share the same enthusiasm when it comes to gardening, and will simply give their gardens a ‘once over’ with the lawn mower every few weeks. Then there will be the Problem Neighbours who see their gardens as an excuse to use it as a makeshift area in which to store excess rubbish.

Your Rights

Your Rights when it comes to neighbours’ gardens are governed by a number of laws. Unfortunately, the simple fact that your next door neighbour’s garden is unkempt and a bit overgrown is insufficient to enable you to take action unless it’s contravening the law.

Weeds, Rubbish and Pests

If weeds or brambles and the like in a neighbour’s garden are causing problems on your side of the property boundary, it can amount to a nuisance which you can report to the Environmental Health Department of your local council who can pursue legal action. More information can be found in the Weeds Act 1959.

Rubbish which has been left piled up in a garden is also cause for concern and could attract things like rats, mice and other pests. Obviously, this then creates a health hazard, with the Risk Of Rat Infestation, as well as attracting a whole host of other unwanted pests. Once again, the Environmental Health Department can forcibly order your neighbours to get rid of any rubbish or weeds if they are breaking the law, and legal action can ensue if they fail to do so.

Taking Action Yourself

There are also strict laws on what you can and cannot do when it comes to taking action yourself. For example, you cannot trespass onto the gardens of neighbours to remove any rubbish or foliage yourself. If a neighbour’s hedge, brambles or tree are causing problems on your side of the boundary, you are entitled to prune or remove anything that encroaches onto your side of the boundary, although by law you should offer any clippings back to your neighbours.

However, when it comes to trees, some have a tree preservation order placed upon them and you can be fined if you remove anything other than dead wood. Another possible way to avoid the problem of encroaching weeds is to sink a barrier about 6in (15cm) deep along the boundary of your property.

General Guidelines

Most disputes with neighbours about the state of a garden can usually be resolved by having a polite conversation with them. In fact, most people whose gardens are a bit overgrown and unkempt are often oblivious to the fact that their garden is causing a blight on the neighbourhood, and a quiet word is often enough to get them to do something about it.

Even if there are problems which do contravene the law, it’s usually better to try to resolve the issues first by speaking to your neighbours. If, however, they fail to rectify the problem, then you should seek advice from your local authority’s Environmental Health Department who will determine if your neighbours are breaking the law and whether or not any legal action can be taken, although they'll usually try to resolve the dispute amicably by visiting your neighbours first.

Read our article on Problems with Neighbouring Trees for more information about what you can legally do.

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my neighboursgarden is a mess overgrown andthey have block paving all roundwhich is full of weeds. they have hada bit done to tidy it in the past but only twicesince they bought the house. i asked once andthey cutgrass but its a nightmare.i am 58 disabled and do my best to keep my home and garden tidy.they are in their thirties and nothinggets done. a holy mess. why buy a house with a garden and not keep it tidy. she had a baby not long ago.it will want to play in garden sooner or later.{ good luck there then } . its an absolute tip.knot weed strangling my plants,brambles weeds at my wits end. lazy people i have no tme for.
dave - 23-Sep-21 @ 10:27 AM
We live in a terrace.Our neighbour doesn't care about her garden.At present we are constantly pulling brambles up that are growing through our back garden fence. The front garden... how do they get to the front door?? Trees have taken root, that are now heading for the bottom of the upstairs window.We have weeds blowing across our living room window.I am worried aboutthe roots of these trees given how close they are to the house.
help me - 5-Sep-21 @ 6:03 PM
A house on Poplar Dr, Blurton st3 their back garden is baked on to mine and just a fence separating it. Their weeds and brambles keep coming straight over the fence and twining in our lovely bushes. I have my garden looked after by our gardener and our bushes and fences look a complete mess and its ruining our bushes. Something needs to be done ????
Sort it - 22-Jul-21 @ 12:49 PM
I am a pensioner and 3 years ago I purchased my home. It is a small semi-detatched house situated between 2 council properties. I am enclosed by two very overgrown and frankly unhealthy gardens. I have tried to keep a low profile as I don't wish to make my life difficult. However over the past 12 weeks thinghs have got very bad for me.I now haverat infestation problem. I spoke to one of the neighbours, asking if she had seen any rats. Oh no she said but living so close to the park this is to be expeced; I have seen the rats coming from HER garden and through my garden to the other overgrown garden. I regularly spend time away from my home with my friends as I simply cannot cope. So far I have tried the council but I have not received any success. To have a home but not able to live in it is a shame. TTo be so unhappy and stressed that one can't even stay in their own home is a shame. AAny suggestions I would be most appreciative.
Pippy - 19-Jul-21 @ 2:01 PM
I don't cut my lawn all year to encourage wildlife and insects. We in the midst of a biodiversity crisis and this persistent mission to cut back and use chemicals on vegetation is part of the problem. Many would see my garden as a mess. I see a diversity of native plants which encourage bees, butterflies and other insects. There needs to be a major cultural shift in the way we view our gardens
Sas23x - 17-Jul-21 @ 9:33 PM
My neighbours garden is so over grown with 10ft high weeds and massive trees. The weeds are growing into the neighbouring gardens and coming through the brick wall. What's more, for the last few days they've been burning rubbish including plastic. They're really polluting and air and giving off such bad toxic fumes. I have health problems and they're making me really ill. What can I do?
Chet - 16-Jul-21 @ 7:33 PM
My neighbour moved in 7 month ago but has now overgrown weeds in which will soon be over our 6ft fence and i keep my garden neat and tidy, his is quite small compared to my garden, any advice on how to approach the situation
Mavis - 8-Jul-21 @ 9:54 PM
Neighbours garden over grown and un kept I explained to her rats in our area but shehate to say this is a different culture to us has two aggressive cats which has blinded my cat and very is very threatening when we approach her or her son not good
Jane - 21-Jun-21 @ 9:23 PM
Iv had this problem now for 18 years with the local council that own the wasteland behind me, they cut it back a bit, then they dont bother for years! Im constantly being fobbed off, now they just dont answer emails & phone calls, they havent been out since 2019, and at my witts end with it, we have replaced fencing at a cost to us, cut back what we can, but its a loosing battle for us!.. im sure if it was us not maintaining our land we would be billed by the council.
Jueboo19 - 21-Jun-21 @ 12:45 PM
I am a Council Tenant and my husband and I take a pride in having a clean cut lawn. The neighbour admits he hates gardening,but he used to always keep the front Lawn cut. Now for some reason his front garden looks as bad as the back garden.3ft high weeds and grass. The neighbour also Mexer door to him has also left the front Lawn to grow with 3ft high weeds and grass. I feel like I live next door to a field.I worry it will encourage rats and mice.I always thought we lived in the better part of the street,seems I spoke to soon
Pollyanna - 20-Jun-21 @ 11:43 AM
My Neighbour who is Indian is an absolute nightmare. She is constantly taking photos and videos of us and shouting at us saying we are racist. Recently she has been sweeping up cat poo and throwing it up the side of our house, this has been an every day occurrence. I have filed a harassment case however nothing appears to be done. The back garden is so overgrown with weedswhich keep creeping through the fence. We have spent a lot of money on garden so it looks nice. It’s so annoying we are housing association we pay our rent in full, she doesn’t work and gets everything.
Fed_Up - 14-Jun-21 @ 8:55 PM
We have a neighbour who back garden backs on to my back garden he owns his house I am a council tenant he it is over run with weeds about6feet high and trees that are coming through his fence into my garden. I am disabled and my neighbour helped to cut some of the trees away from my side of the fence that have grown back on my side I am not fit to keep going out to cut them back .I paid450 for a shed which is ruined . have just found out his bedroom ceiling is down and his water tank has burst an flooded the place the water was pouring out from the house the house is empty as went to stay with his brother .his neighbour has mice and we had mice in our loft they came and put poison in the loft to kill them his neighbour has told us to watch as she has mice again coming from his property we contacted the council who told us that they can not do anything because he owns his house this is not right as being council tenents we pay rent for our property and getting mice from his property
Cool1 - 8-Jun-21 @ 12:24 AM
7 nansen street highbury vale nottingham have over grown weeds knacking fence panel which we have asked him left notes nothing gets done now rats have been seen
Caz - 7-Jun-21 @ 8:49 PM
I have a complaint about my next door neighbour, we don’t get on one bit lack of communication due to he has threaded myself and my husband I’m disabled which he has got a ASB due to he been hammering drilling banging it’s drove us mad and we been in contact with the council and sent off loads of documents and video he has is 5 year old daughter 3 days week and his garden is a dump hole and the front garden is the same, it’s not fair because we done a lot to our house and it makes are house look a mess we paid out a lot of money to have new fence up I feel like the council not bothered he guttering pipe it’s like a fountain it’s no joke, it’s so unfair when people like us had to work so hard to buy house and there is others who get house just like that and don’t look after it and treat it like a dump the council should do more because at the end this will cost the council thousands sort all this out, I think someone should come out and see what it’s like due to they wouldn’t like to live next to person like this so why should we have to but up with this Acton needs to be taken, I know that sent a message but I think more messages and complaint goes in I think more needs to be done
Deb - 4-Jun-21 @ 7:57 PM
Overgrown grass and weeds coming through the fence from my neighbours front garden and it looks horrible if I tried talking to them they would tell me to f*** off that's what they are like.
Pain. - 31-May-21 @ 12:13 PM
Overgrown grass and weeds coming through the fence from my neighbours front garden and it looks horrible.
Pain. - 31-May-21 @ 12:10 PM
My neighbours overgrown garden has pushed my fence out and now needs replacing.My neighbour also removed the first fence panel and used it for wood fire!On receiving quotations averaging £1,500and numerous conversations with them I have asked for a reasonable contribution.My neighbour says he will contributed £100 only to replace the top panel which he takes full responsibility for but refuses to accept that he should contribute anything else.I personally think he should do 50% but I would like as a minimum £500, am I being unreasonable?
Angel - 24-May-21 @ 10:02 AM
I have neighbours with a broken chimney causing smoke to flood our bedrooms we have a CO detector but the smell of burning rubber is not only a minor problem but makes it hard to sleep as they always light a fire at night. I have two children 7 and 2 years old who have both developed a cough but the Co alarms remain at 0ppm should I contact my local Environmental health officer or should I go through citizens advice first. The neighbours know about the problem and refused to rectify it I need help
Chucky - 29-Apr-21 @ 9:09 PM
My neighbour is an older lady and does nothing to her garden in the front or back. I am not to concerned about the front because it doesn’t interfere with our property. The garden in the back well it is a mess. The bramble, over grown bushes are a haven for badgers that have destroyed our fence and come through at night and rip up our lawn. Not only that, today I went into the garden to do my spring clean up and noticed that our fence is about to fall over on our side because her bushes and bramble are pushing it down. I am at my wits end. I don’t think she has seen her garden let alone walked through it in years. There is no way that anyone could. My kids accidentally kick a football over the fence and I told them to forget it because we could never find it. I am new to the area and do not know who to contact about this. I want to send her a letter first and talk to her but she is always quite cranky and I don’t want to be on bad terms with her, I just want her garden cleaned up to adroit more pests and bramble. Help
Frustrated in BOA - 18-Apr-21 @ 5:39 PM
I have been in my property for 20years. When I moved in my neighbors was single nice kept herself to her no problems but since she’s got married it’s changed. He’s had a white line put where no one can park. And if that’s not enough his garden is a total junkyard he’s everything and anything from rubble to car tyres bikes baths showers trays settees slabs doors and loads of other stuff. He said he’s levelling it. But he’s levelling that high that I can see his whole body when he’s standing which means he can look straight through my kitchen window and in my garden and that of my other next door too. I’d like advice on what I can do about that. I feel he’s invading my privacy. He ruined my fence and he’s took it down only to not have finished it..
Sangita - 12-Apr-21 @ 3:38 PM
I bought a property in autumn 2017 , I have a semi bungalow and the neighbours window is half rotted away and looks really awful and tatty . They rent the house so they aren’t bothered about it at all
Leroy - 11-Apr-21 @ 4:40 PM
Apologies for posting this story 3 times, I didn't realise i'd done so
Nick - 9-Apr-21 @ 9:29 AM
We own our house, having moved in 20 months ago and the next door neighbour owns his. I'm a mental health nurse and I remember him having an admission in an acute ward I worked in several years ago. He has according to him, lived in his house since it was built in 1988, he has also according to him, never cut his grass or done anything to his garden. He states that he loves wildlife, ridiculously classing his overgrown mess of a back garden as a conservation area. We have a 2.5 year old son who loves being out in our garden. We erected a 6 ft fence around the back to enable him to run freely and enjoy himself. To do so I had to clear a lot of his brambles and tree branches from the boundary. However, as his front garden is also an absolute mess we erected another fence so we didn't have to look at it all the time. However rather cheekily we built one that is 1.2m high - 20cm higher than allowed. He knocked on our door and got very arsey but said he wouldn't complain. We raised with him, not for the first time either, our concerns regarding the mess in both his front and back garden that we had to look at daily, along with the dangers of pests that will be attracted to it. However, some weeks later we received a letter from the planning department of our local council. We won that particular argument as the council have said it can remain in place, as it is not causing any sight obstruction to motorists in our street Secondary to the messy gardens both front and back, he has a lot of rubbish in his back garden - old sofas, pallets and at least 5 ladders. We have a shed on our side, recently I noticed the door had been chewed at the bottom and there was an overwhelming smell of urine emanating from it, along with a considerable amount of droppings. I also physically saw a rat scurrying from his garden early one morning as I walked our dogs. We have complained several times to him and to environmental health. However, they have just said he has assured them he will be removing the rubbish. This has been going on since before Christmas 2019 and it is still there
Nick - 9-Apr-21 @ 9:20 AM
We own our house, having moved in 20 months ago and the next door neighbour owns his. I'm a mental health nurse and I remember him having an admission in an acute ward I worked in several years ago. He has according to him, lived in his house since it was built in 1988, he has also according to him, never cut his grass or done anything to his garden. He states that he loves wildlife, ridiculously classing his overgrown mess of a back garden as a conservation area. We have a 2.5 year old son who loves being out in our garden. We erected a 6 ft fence around the back to enable him to run freely and enjoy himself. To do so I had to clear a lot of his brambles and tree branches from the boundary. However, as his front garden is also an absolute mess we erected another fence so we didn't have to look at it all the time. However rather cheekily we built one that is 1.2m high - 20cm higher than allowed. He knocked on our door and got very arsey but said he wouldn't complain. We raised with him, not for the first time either, our concerns regarding the mess in both his front and back garden that we had to look at daily, along with the dangers of pests that will be attracted to it. However, some weeks later we received a letter from the planning department of our local council. We won that particular argument as the council have said it can remain in place, as it is not causing any sight obstruction to motorists in our street Secondary to the messy gardens both front and back, he has a lot of rubbish in his back garden - old sofas, pallets and at least 5 ladders. We have a shed on our side, recently I noticed the door had been chewed at the bottom and there was an overwhelming smell of urine emanating from it, along with a considerable amount of droppings. I also physically saw a rat scurrying from his garden early one morning as I walked our dogs. We have complained several times to him and to environmental health. However, they have just said he has assured them he will be removing the rubbish. This has been going on since before Christmas 2019 and it is still there
Nick - 9-Apr-21 @ 9:15 AM
We own our house, having moved in 20 months ago and the next door neighbour owns his. I'm a mental health nurse and I remember him having an admission in an acute ward I worked in several years ago. He has according to him, lived in his house since it was built in 1988, he has also according to him, never cut his grass or done anything to his garden. He states that he loves wildlife, ridiculously classing his overgrown mess of a back garden as a conservation area. We have a 2.5 year old son who loves being out in our garden. We erected a 6 ft fence around the back to enable him to run freely and enjoy himself. To do so I had to clear a lot of his brambles and tree branches from the boundary. However, as his front garden is also an absolute mess we erected another fence so we didn't have to look at it all the time. However rather cheekily we built one that is 1.2m high - 20cm higher than allowed. He knocked on our door and got very arsey but said he wouldn't complain. We raised with him, not for the first time either, our concerns regarding the mess in both his front and back garden that we had to look at daily, along with the dangers of pests that will be attracted to it. However, some weeks later we received a letter from the planning department of our local council. We won that particular argument as the council have said it can remain in place, as it is not causing any sight obstruction to motorists in our street Secondary to the messy gardens both front and back, he has a lot of rubbish in his back garden - old sofas, pallets and at least 5 ladders. We have a shed on our side, recently I noticed the door had been chewed at the bottom and there was an overwhelming smell of urine emanating from it, along with a considerable amount of droppings. I also physically saw a rat scurrying from his garden early one morning as I walked our dogs. We have complained several times to him and to environmental health. However, they have just said he has assured them he will be removing the rubbish. This has been going on since before Christmas and it is still there
Nick - 9-Apr-21 @ 9:09 AM
I live in an end of terrace house..The ajasant land to the right of the property is counciled owned..There is a large tree that has grown over my shed and has caused it to rot..also there is a lot of brambles growing over and through the fence..can I get the council to sort this or is it my responsibility..
Hay - 30-Mar-21 @ 12:12 PM
I have a neighbour who's garden is full of waste, old carpets and things like that. She cuts her grass once a year and I see it grows through the fence into neighbours garden . Fence has never been treated on her side which has caused rot, which again is unfair on her neighbour as no doubt the neighbour will be the one responsible for the fence.Brambles growing up her back garden through into her neighbours. She had a swinging down pipe at one point which she ignored,it ended up flying off into neighbours garden. She has yet to get it replaced, which I can imagine will cause a lot of damp to the building. Address is 41 trelawney terrace, Stevenston, ka20 3pw.
Von - 24-Mar-21 @ 7:33 AM
I to have a problem with my neighbours rubbish in their garden they have at least 100 bin bags or more mattresses etc.They are infested with rats and mice which are now getting into our house(mice).Been intoucj with counsil and enviromental health and nothing is done.Wish i knew who to contact next as the smell this sumner is going to be horrendous as last year.Me and my husband work really hard 7 days a week pay full rent and counsil can not be bothered to do anything shameful.
Dollymoss - 15-Mar-21 @ 3:51 PM
Neighbour has had a caravan on the drive that hasn’t moved in about 38 years and is now green with moss. Also has a dog that never gets walked and so messes the driveway, very rarely gets picked up after. Gate has fallen apart and is basically bits of wood hanging there somehow. Now has a second caravan (illegally overhanging the pavement & never moves). Can’t park the car on drive so is parked on the pavement. I doubt the person would be open to discuss the situation but also don’t want to create animosity, what are my rights?
Yak - 17-Nov-20 @ 4:37 PM
There is a problem with a neighbours overgrown garden it is causing us to keep replacing our boundary fence by causing it to rot, what should I do? Is this for the Environmental Agency Thanks
Helmad - 12-Nov-20 @ 8:59 AM
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