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Overgrown and Messy Gardens

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 May 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
Our neighbours garden is badly overgrown we want erect a fence but feel thebramble will come through and damage it . T its crossing into our garden . The landlord dont give a ..what can we do
Shelle - 22-May-18 @ 4:16 PM
JM - Your Question:
Our neighbours garden has always been untidy, he collects and stores wood to burn,it hasn't bothered us much but we are now trying to sell our property and our estate agent has said that the neighbours garden is detrimental to our selling as potential purchasers have discounted our property owing to the mess in the neighbours front garden. We had not realised how much the wood pile had increased topped off with tyres and bicycle. Talking to our neighbour would not be an option as he has no where else to put the wood and could not dispose of it easily. What can we do?

Our Response:
There really isn't much you can do about this. The council may take action (as the article above details) if the garden is a potential health hazard. If the front garden is unsightly there is a slight possibility that the planning department may be able to take action under section 215 of the town and country planning act but it's not often used for this kind of thing. You could possibly consider mediation or court action, but if the neighbour has nowhere else to put his wood perhaps suggesting a more attractive storage solution might be wise and then offering to help with disposal of the other items?
ProblemNeighbours - 16-May-18 @ 12:35 PM
Our neighbours garden has always been untidy,he collects and stores wood to burn,it hasn't bothered us much but we are now trying to sell our property and our estate agent has said that the neighbours garden is detrimental to our selling as potential purchasers have discountedour property owing to the messin the neighboursfront garden. We had not realised how much the wood pile hadincreasedtopped off with tyres and bicycle.Talking to our neighbour would not be an option as he has no where else to put the wood and could not dispose of it easily. What can we do?
JM - 14-May-18 @ 8:50 PM
My neighbours garden is overgrown with weeds, brambles, rubbish! I have spoken to them as they recently have had rats, now a family of Foxes Have moved into the garden resulting in them killing my pet rabbit. Environmental health are not interested in the problem. Advice needed urgently.
Lobby - 7-May-18 @ 10:33 PM
Vicky - Your Question:
Hi I been having a problem with my neighbours garden at the back oh our house. They haven't done to it anything it's just over growing mess. But one of these overgrowing messes moved right over the fence and onto our patio window, it is imposible from our side to access that part and we asked our neighbours nicely to remove the vines and bushes so our window won't break. As we don't want to move or have a broken window. They didn't listen to us and ignored our request on getting rid of the bush and vines. Which is why I need help, are there any laws I can tell them to go by in order to save my window ? Could you give me some advise of what can I do?

Our Response:
Can you not reach to simply cut the growth on your side (not to get rid of the plants entirely which you don't have a right to ask for). If you can't manage to cut the growth back on your side you could try the Access to if you can't get access to trim the plants as far as your boundary.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:50 AM
Hi I been having a problem with my neighbours garden at the back oh our house. They haven't done to it anything it's just over growing mess. But one of these overgrowing messes moved right over the fence and onto our patio window, it is imposible from our side to access that part and we asked our neighbours nicely to remove the vines and bushes so our window won't break. As we don't want to move or have a broken window. They didn't listen to us and ignored our request on getting rid of the bush and vines. Which is why I need help, are there any laws I can tell them to go by in order to save my window ? Could you give me some advise of what can I do?
Vicky - 23-Apr-18 @ 8:14 AM
We have our drive to the left of our house as you face it and our neighbour to the right.Our neighbour to the right have there garden to the side of our house beyond what is there driveway but they are going to convert there driveway to extra garden space which will come right up to the side wall of our house. I am concerned about excess noise and the using our wall to attach things such as lights etc. The drive way is what I feel gives us a true detached element and now we are losing that, is there anything I can do to stop this?The house is 15 years old.
TangoNotts - 14-Apr-18 @ 11:53 AM
jase - Your Question:
We have recently brought our house off the council when we moved in three years ago our garden was over grown but now I've worked really hard on it and it's lovely but the neighbours garden is still the same as when we moved and there was a mattress in the garden the rubbish pile is Gerri g bigger sinks,toilet old flooring bin bags all left out in the garden now we have heard rats in our loft would we be within our right to call the local council environmental health on this problem for the neighbours to clear there rubbish away we have put rat bait down to deal with that problem.

Our Response:
Yes you can contact environmental health, they will be able to advise you about the rats and possibly take action against your neighbour.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Apr-18 @ 2:34 PM
we have recently brought our house off the council when we moved in three years ago our garden was over grown but now I've worked really hard on it and it's lovely but the neighbours garden is still the same as when we moved and there was a mattress in the garden the rubbish pile is Gerri g bigger sinks,toilet old flooring bin bags all left out in the garden now we have heard rats in our loft would we be within our right to call the local council environmental health on this problem for the neighbours to clear there rubbish away we have put rat bait down to deal with that problem.
jase - 7-Apr-18 @ 11:52 PM
Shona - Your Question:
My neighbours garden is full of rubbish they have had visits from their housing assoc. landlord about clearing it up. Since there is more rubbish now than before surely they should be given warnings etc from landlord?

Our Response:
Report it again to the landlord (who we assume is the housing association). If it's not resolved, report it your local environmental health service.
ProblemNeighbours - 28-Mar-18 @ 2:21 PM
I live in a townhome and keep it very clean in and out. My neighbor ( unapproachable) has many bird feeders and fills them full every 3-5 days. Some feeders are in her yard and most are in a common area. The bird seed of all kinds spills out onto the grass (common area) and her patio. I have mice in my basement and attic. I have had 3 exterminators and 3 handymen. I have had any discovered holes and areas where they might get in patched but to no avail. Traps have set and bait put everywhere.. The mice are carrying bird seed into my attic and not getting caught in traps or eating the exterminators bait. I have spent $1000.00 in 3 months but the seed outside is keeping the mice from eating bait inside. I am frustrated as are my exterminators. The mice run across my bedroom ceiling at night into the morning and are driving me crazy. HELP
Marly - 27-Mar-18 @ 5:25 PM
My neighbours garden is full of rubbish they have had visits from their housing assoc. landlord about clearing it up. Since there is more rubbish now than before surely they should be given warnings etc from landlord?
Shona - 26-Mar-18 @ 10:38 PM
Al - Your Question:
I need a number for Leeds city council to report rubbish in neighbours gardern

Our Response:
Try this number 0113 378 6002
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Feb-18 @ 11:09 AM
I need a number for Leeds city council to report rubbish in neighbours gardern
Al - 13-Feb-18 @ 10:16 AM
Lea - Your Question:
Our neighbour has accumulated a large amount of garden waste at the bottom of the garden over the past 27 years which is continually added to and including glass, brambles, large tree branches and covers half of their garden.We removed our fencing down the bottom of our garden due to garden waste falling against it and branches falling from the neighbours tree on more then one occasion and causing damage.The rubbish is a habitat for rodents which we have made the neighbour aware of, but will not have the area cleared.I contacted the local environment agency this morning and have been told as our neighbour is private there is nothing they can do, as its up to them what they do in their garden.Can you advise please.

Our Response:
There really isn't much you can do...it's in your neighbour's garden. If you have evidence that rats are living there, environmentnal health might just do something. The best thing to would be to erect a new fence and some additional screening so you can't see it. If the rubbish starts pushing against your fence and causes damage, consider legal action to recover the cost of repair.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jan-18 @ 3:30 PM
Our neighbour has accumulated a large amount of garden waste at the bottom of the garden over the past 27 years which is continually added to and including glass, brambles, large tree branches and covers half of their garden. We removed our fencing down the bottom of our garden due to garden waste falling against it and branches falling from the neighbours tree on more then one occasion and causing damage. The rubbish is a habitat for rodents which we have made the neighbour aware of, but will not have the area cleared. I contacted the local environment agency this morning and have been told as our neighbour is private there is nothing they can do, as its up to them what they do in their garden. Can you advise please.
Lea - 29-Jan-18 @ 1:53 PM
Lucy - Your Question:
My neighbours trees have over grown into my garden and all the leaves have left my garden in a mess. I have asked twice for them to be cut back and they said they will do it. Nothing has happened and it's been over 3 months now. I am unable to do anything from my side of the fence. Any suggestions?

Our Response:
Your neighbours are not obliged to cut back branches overhanging your side of the boundary or to collect/be responsible for leaves etc. Is there some reason why you can't trim back the branches on your side?
ProblemNeighbours - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:22 PM
Bean - Your Question:
We have new neighbours although they haven’t actually moved in yet as they are completely hitting the house and adding huge extensions. The noise is unbearable, seven days a week. The front garden is a terrible mess, they have had several “grabber” lorries to collect the rubbish but on the last attempt the lorry hit their front wall. The neighbour and the company concerned are now in dispute. We have spoken to the neighbour and he says it will be cleared but he cannot find a company to do it. It’s a disgusting mess and it’s been like it for months now. He also told us that other people are now dumping rubbish on it and I am concerned that this will increase the vermin problem in our area.

Our Response:
Clearly this is a problem that is not going to last and the neighbours are renovating so that they have a pleasant home to live in. If he can't find someone to help remove the rubbish, advise him to contact environmental health himself, they'll be able to direct him towards some help.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Jan-18 @ 10:18 AM
We have new neighbours although they haven’t actually moved in yet as they are completely hitting the house and adding huge extensions. The noise is unbearable, seven days a week. The front garden is a terrible mess, they have had several “grabber” lorries to collect the rubbish but on the last attempt the lorry hit their front wall. The neighbour and the company concerned are now in dispute. We have spoken to the neighbour and he says it will be cleared but he cannot find a company to do it. It’s a disgusting mess and it’s been like it for months now. He also told us that other people are now dumping rubbish on it and I am concerned that this will increase the vermin problem in our area.
Bean - 14-Jan-18 @ 5:10 PM
My neighbours trees have over grown into my garden and all the leaves have left my garden in a mess.I have asked twice for them to be cut back and they said they will do it.Nothing has happened and it's been over 3 months now.I am unable to do anything from my side of the fence. Any suggestions?
Lucy - 11-Jan-18 @ 10:49 AM
Tez - Your Question:
I had to had foliage such as trees which all the neighbors had cut down and dumped in Our garden early in the morning when we were asleep. Have had to do something About it or the man told me we'd face a fine. My old aunt didn't want it done our garden wasn't a dump till they dumped their trees and knocked our garden fence down. TheNeighbor hasn't offered anything for the fence dividing the 2 properties. It's cost her nothing. It's cost me £360 pounds. and her gets a old age pension. It's a stupid lawAnd ought to be stopped. Our garden wasTidy to the neighbors dumped their stupid trees on our back garden. Someone came in august telling us to clear their stupid treesAway telling us we could be fined. If they wanted the trees cleared they should have cleared them and payed for it themselves.A stupid law which the government thought up and people are abusing.

Our Response:
Other people cannot "dump" their trees in your garden, this is not how the law works. Common law states that if a neighbour cuts overhanging branches from your tree on their side of the boundary, they must offer them back to you (the tree owner), you do not however, have to accept them. If you refuse to accept them, your neighbour must take steps to dispose of them themselves.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Nov-17 @ 1:53 PM
I had to had foliage such as trees which all the neighbors had cut down and dumped in Our garden early in the morning when we were asleep . Have had to do something About it or the man told me we'd face a fine . My old aunt didn't want it done our garden wasn't a dump till they dumpedtheir trees and knocked our garden fence down. The Neighbor hasn't offered anything for the fence dividing the 2 properties. It's cost her nothing. It's cost me £360 pounds. and her gets a old age pension. It's a stupid law And ought to be stopped. Our garden was Tidy to the neighbors dumped their stupid trees on our back garden. Someone came in august telling us to clear their stupid trees Away telling us we could be fined . If they wanted the trees cleared they should have cleared them and payed for it themselves. A stupid law which the government thought up and people are abusing.
Tez - 19-Nov-17 @ 12:23 PM
Joe - Your Question:
I have a tree overgrown into my garden from either council or a neighbours land that has knocked half of my dry stone wall over and the high branches have grown that much that they block light to the back of my house. How do I find out who is responsible for the tree

Our Response:
If you do not know who owns the land, first contact the council to see if it belongs to them. If not, HM land registry should be able to supply details. You can ask for costs of repair to your wall or try your own home insurance policy.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Nov-17 @ 12:43 PM
I have a tree overgrown into my garden from either council or a neighbours land that has knocked half of my dry stone wall over and the high branches have grown that much that they block light to the back of my house. How do i find out who is responsible for the tree
Joe - 16-Nov-17 @ 3:55 PM
Pinkangel - Your Question:
My next doors front garden is well over grown with weeds and stinging nettles that have pushed its way through the fence and taken out half the the room on the public foot path.u try to warn your 3 year old and your 9year old that has ADHD not to run out the gate and run straight into it and end up covered in stings.how can I go about it.

Our Response:
You can cut back any growth on your side of the boundary - you don't need their permission. This will keep the children safe in the front garden at least. If it's growing over the pavement/footpath, the council/highways department should be able to take action.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Nov-17 @ 3:49 PM
My next doors front garden is well over grown with weeds and stinging nettles that have pushed its waythrough the fence and taken out half the the room on the public foot path.u try to warn your 3 year old and your 9year old that has ADHD not to run out the gate and run straight into it and end up covered in stings.how can I go about it.
Pinkangel - 8-Nov-17 @ 10:55 AM
Our neighbour has landscaped her garden covered it with membrane and built decking on top, but they havn't put any drainage along the fence to soak the water up. When it rains the water runs off the decking and under the fence and is causing flooding in our garden. The grass is like marsh land and completely sodden all the time. Surely she should of put sufficient drainage in place?
Tilly - 15-Oct-17 @ 5:45 PM
My neighbours shrubs , weeds and brambles are very overgrown and encroach across into my garden , I have always just cut them back , but now I've seen my neighbour deliberately pushingthe brambles over my side I've politely asked her not to but she is still doing it . What can I do ?
Hans - 7-Sep-17 @ 10:36 PM
In my estate we pay factoring fees to keep the area nice. Across the road from my house a neighbour has started to neglect a bit of their land. It's over grown with weeds and a huge tree. This bit of the garden is next to the pavement and I am scared my little girl falls in it. Is there anything I can do? Would the environmental health department do anything if I reported it?
Kirstin - 24-Aug-17 @ 3:34 PM
My neighbours are renting the property, the garden is unsightly, grass and weeds now passed knee high. I am wanting to sell my house yet I am unable to as people are being put off by the state of the garden next door. I have spoke to there landlord who as advised that they will have to borrow a strimmer as there's is broken this was about 1 month ago. Any suggestions?
JM - 24-Aug-17 @ 11:26 AM
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