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Overgrown and Messy Gardens

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Sep 2020 | 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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I have been searching the internet but not yet found any help with this issue. I recently purchased a semi detached house. The house was previously owned by the church and Rented to tennents. The neighbours have over the years encroached onto my land. I am installing a new fence but in one place the neighbours are growing plants in 2 bath tubs and one fridge freezer on my land. If I go around these obstacles my fence won’t be straight. They have said that they may need to move some stuff but 2 weeks have passed and they have not began moving these items. Leaving the new fence unfinished. Can anybody advise me what I may do.
JonMac - 13-Sep-20 @ 11:36 AM
Oh dear! I thought my situation was bad till I read these letters! I am a very keen gardener, we have won “Best Garden” in our area several times. Unfortunately my neighbour who lives in the top flat of a divided house, NEVER does anything to the garden —— except on ONE occasion. She planted a silver birch tree hard against the dividing fence of our grounds. It is now at least 25ft high and of course its roots are all over our ground. She is quite nasty about requests to do something and has never paid any attention to the mess of leaves in the autumn. Unfortunately as I am now 83 it is becoming more difficult for me to cope with this mess.Some years ago we allowed her to run a central heating pipe through our ground but I am so angry at her selfishness we are thinking of telling her to get it removed. What is my legal position here?
Grieve - 24-Aug-20 @ 7:00 AM
My elderly council tenant has had Ivy grown on his fence which since we took down old fence that was a creasoted fence and had expensive fencing with posts and concrete gravel boards it had started creaping through. It is over our back neighbour's garden plus partys up a tree next to our fence so it will be attacking from angles soon. Ihave spoke to his family but they keep telling me to contact council. Well i have several times with photo's. But His council want to speak to there tenant about it.so not getting anywere.Should i contact enbiramental council instead i wonder. And difficult as elderly council tenant neighbour is too frail etcto be dealing with this.so council will just Ignore this.???????
None - 8-Aug-20 @ 6:37 PM
Opposite where I live is an old lady's house, by sounds of it has been in a home for years, her sons been wanting to sell it but she won't let him, but in the mean time her garden has become wild, she has a border that has grown over on to my side of boundary wall, tried to cut it of my side but just keep on growing, a gardener who came the other day to one of my neighbours told me it needs cutting back because its starting to grow through the wall which in time could cause it to bring the wall down, he told me to get in touch with council, the garden has really become an eyesore, but we don't know where the son lives to get in touch with him or which home the lady's in, seen rats in there to
Gill - 5-Aug-20 @ 7:39 AM
Council land /Nottingham City Homes has allowed the land over grow into four different Gardens two of those are Nottingham City Homes rented properties and I'm in the middle of four overgrown property is due to this land growing on to the other properties and I've spent a year trying to speak to the council to get them to keep their land and rectify the issues which they want has caused and I've got nowhere at all they had told me the Aloud the lands overgrow stop flight tipping which is the wrong way about it can I do
Bubs - 2-Aug-20 @ 8:32 PM
We live in a semidetached house are neighbours garden is over grown and the tiara over hanging and are damaging our roof we has a builder out also the environment health were out to clean up his house it was infested in rats which then cause a huge problem in our home we had to get a rat man out lift all decking up and replaced it with pavement he has got worse and he had a guy over to start his garden out however he theaccused the guy of stealing money which be didn't the guy didn't feel safe he told us he has plates of cat food all over as he likes the rats and feeds themhe is not a nice man at allwe have once again heard rats in our loft we cannot sell our home as they look at his and this puts them off we need some help we have telephone the coucil but to no avail as he knows how to play people please helpcould you e mail my husbands e mail with any help many thanks kim
Mally - 24-Jul-20 @ 9:21 AM
I live in a semi detached house and are neighbours garden has in it a double bed, sofa chairs black bags of rubbish in the garden, the grass is over grown and we have spotted rats in there garden, I have called in pest control, spoken to them and also the person who actually own the house. And nothing has been done, the furniture has been out come rain or shine and is full of mould. How do I go about ensuring this area is cleaned up, as I cannot let my grandchildren out in the garden for fear of the rats
Pat ashwell - 21-Jul-20 @ 4:58 PM
I live in a masonette, I own my property, downstairs is council, we each have our own garden at the back. The council tenants garden is so overgrown I have to cut a path to get to mine, there is bulk items dumped in the garden and his weeds are breaking my fence and stoping me enjoying my garden and preventing me from getting work requires some to my garden and devaluing my property, the council gave him a month to clear it, 3 months have passed and the council won’t do anything.
Sam - 20-Jul-20 @ 10:15 PM
We live in a semi-detached house with a fairly large garden and two small ponds.Our very elderly neighbour who died last autumn of Alzheimer's had a similar size of garden which he took great pride in.His daughter lives in Swindon with her family but his son lives alone next door. Last summer/autumn the daughter turned up regularly to mow the front lawn, although nobody looked at the back garden.After the altercation we had with her in February regarding the guttering/downpipe (q.v.) the daughter hasn't been back and nobody has really touched the lawn for months, although the son had a feeble stab at it with a lawnmower, and did a couple of yards.The grass is about two feet high and full of weeds and they blow onto our lawn. When we had the downpipe replaced and the soakaway built I found stuff that had apparently been flung into a bush on our property:a soup ladle, a rubber glove, some sort of mechanical thing. On the son's side there is a rusy shovel on the path, two squirty bottles, and a bucket with some rags and stuff in it.The back gate next to the garage was hanging by its bottom hinge for several months and has now been removed.This is really nothing to do with us, I know. But the back garden is affecting us.The whole area has now been taken over by brambles about ten feet high and heading toward us, such that the garden is no longer acccessible.Our real problem though is an area at the back of the garden, about 15 feet deep and the width of the property, that has never been touched at all in the 45 years we've lived here.It has several trees including a sycamore which is about 90 feet tall which has never been maintained in any way and which is nearly on our boundary line and which we are worried about.It is tall and thin and we are concerned that it could blow over onto our property.The neighbours behind us also happened to mention that they are concerned about this tree as well.We have been cutting small branches off when they come into our garden but we have been unable to discuss anything with the son or the daughter.Thank God at least we have a fence between us (which we had to pay for to be replaced and erected). What can one do about a neighbour who just doesn't care?
worriedgardener - 13-Jul-20 @ 5:39 PM
I have a neighbour over the road from my house with a very overgrowed garden and to the point the black bin bags in her garden are hidden with the over growing grass I my partner and son cut her front garden for her last year and so has another person but she keeps letting it over grown it’s bringing the neighbourhood down and there house looks dirty Aswell windows are black with dirty and there back garden is so over growingthay can’t get out there back door there house is smelly and full of junk Aswell there just disgusting and I would like something to be done about it as my kids play out the front of my house and there ball has went in the garden and thay get covered In all the junk in the garden Aswell as the other stuff on the garden please help
Kkk - 12-Jul-20 @ 2:18 PM
I have a neighbour over the road from my house with a very overgrowed garden and to the point the black bin bags in her garden are hidden with the over growing grease I my partner and son cut her front garden for her last year and so has another person but she keeps letting it over grown it’s bringing the neighbourhood down and there house looks dirty Aswell windows are black with dirty and there back garden is so over frowning thay can’t get out there back door there house is smelly and full of junk Aswell there just disgusting and I would like something to be done about it as my kids play out the front of my house and there ball has went in the garden and thay get covered In all the junk in the garden Aswell as the other stuff on the garden please help
Kirsty - 12-Jul-20 @ 2:15 PM
My neighbours have a very overgrown back garden which their dog poops all over the front garden is open no fence etc and he’s covered his part in white gravel that looks like fish tank stones they are kicked all over and obviously it lowers the value of my home They never leave the house although they have a toddler I’m not able to approach them
Kay - 3-Jul-20 @ 10:14 AM
We have a semi detached property and generally get on on ok with our neighbour. We back on to a park. Our neighbour is obsessed with this park. He’s told us not to cut our trees or have new fencing because people in the park will see him in his garden.He already has a huge conifer which he said he would trim but hasn’t and now purchased another three conifers, we get hardly any sun. He has started hosing his garden in the early afternoon, which also includes our washing and us. As a consequence weeds and brambles that he is growing from his side are now spouting up on our side. Today was the final straw, our family were playing outside and he told us to get inside so he could water or we would get wet and it was only 3pm. We had to take our washing inside yet again. At the front of the property he says the fence (dilapidated) is his and we can’t touch it, which we haven’t. However he’s thrown so many tree branches and wooden pallets against it that it’s partially fallen our side. He’s completely oblivious and due to a fairly recent head injury with a chainsaw, we think he may have dementia, so it’s a sensitive situation. We are trying to move house but worry the garden issue will put people off.
Su - 7-Jun-20 @ 11:02 PM
Hi, I’m looking for advice regarding my neighbours front garden. There is a massive fridge freezer in the front garden, it’s an unacceptable and has been there long before lockdown. How can I get someone to force them to have it removed?
Tk - 28-May-20 @ 2:32 PM
We live in the new built home where all our gardens are unfortunately overlooked and the view from my window is over the next door garden full of rubish piling up and growing every day.They have drilled several holes on the joined fence to attach 5 washing lines direct on the fence between our properties and there is a long rotten wooden beam from their side aligned to the joined fence sticking out on the top of large amout of rubish. Do I need to wait until their rubish and clutter start splling over the fence to my land and rats running around before I complain to someone? What are my rights? Considering that I have no say about the state of their garden do I have any right to plant a hedge with a short root not to affect the property in my garden, but to completely block the unsightly view from my window and to prevent potentialy their rubish spilling over the fence to our garden?What are my rights and options to protect my garden and the view considering that I am a freeholder of my house and my garden?
Mel - 19-May-20 @ 12:06 AM
Hi all, i hope i find you well. I am looking for some advice on behalf of a friend. He has a large back garden of which is not in the best of conditions, it is a little overgrown, and has a lot of clutter. (vehicles to restore/work on, little side projects, old materials etc) He is in his 60s and has limited mobility, which causes him to fall behind on his goals, hence how his garden has become the condition it has. He has recently had a letter from the local council asking him to remove it all in the next 6 weeks, with the current lockdown in place i cant help finding this deadline difficult to achieve, however i am looking for advice on how to help him with seeing what his options are. if he is able to keep his vehicles on the property ( some of which hold high sentimental value) and to keep his current materials and other possessions on the property, yet abide by the regulations set by the council. i dont own my own home so am very unfamiliar with how to go about helping him as much as i can. Any information and advice would be greatly appreciated in order to help him combat the stress of loosing a lot of possessions in this current climate. Thank you for taking the time to read this, stay safe everyone. take care
Marc084 - 16-May-20 @ 2:30 PM
Our neighbors refuse to cut there grass.Its up to our knees.Its a bunch of young people who rent the house next to is and I have asked them several time a to cut there grass.They party all day and night, and have no intent on cutring there grass.Who can I call to file a complaint?
Chris - 11-Apr-20 @ 2:22 PM
Next door is a wildernesses. Covered in brambles and budlia. The council arrived today under a court order to cut down the monster conifers at the rear but they dumped all the debris in the garden.. Not their responsibility to remove they said. Now we have a ready made rat nest and a fire hazard. He hasn't been in the back of the house for 25 years.. Can't get out of the back door. The front of the house is a wreck.. Windows are rotten and covered in Ivey.. Driveway overgrown and full of rubbish.. But a new Audi parked there! I've complained to the Council but he's ignored them.. Its taken about 10%or more off the value of my house. He's not poor.. Has a good job.. And to see him you would not believe he lives in this state. What more can I do?
Angry - 4-Mar-20 @ 10:45 AM
My neighbours hasn't a well kept garden, every appliance that's ever broken is in there, they've sheds that once housed birds, they've a dog that's finding it hard find a spot to foul,(think of the smell in summer of dog mesh and we have to deal with it) summer her son place a few flags, I thought yes they are starting to tend to it, he shuffled all the rubbish to where the flags he laid stopped, still there and much more added, I've seen mice in their back garden, hoping they don't pop over to mine, but they have, not only in my garden in my kitchen too, I've three dogs and they have spotted one and gone absolutely mad, obviously they've heard them around my skirting board up the wall, my dogs never chewed anything, but they've started on my skirting board in the place they keep sniffing around, they just keep going to that one spot, jumping up at the wall, scratching on the floor, I'm thinking they are in the cavity, my partner as blocked all holes, I was thinking of ringing pest control, but my neighbour isn't doing anything about them, so they'll just keep coming back, so our money would be wasted, again and again, might as well just give it the mice to chew up, that's only their back garden, front garden is a open state, massive logs scraps of metal, fish tank full of green rain water, lengths of wood, both gardens in a sorry unhealthy state, I've a nine year old lad that can't even sit out because of the smell, our fence is only 4ft and it belongs to them, even that's given up, there's a gate in between mine and theirs, they have to use my garden and another to get to the front of our houses, never in 3 years that we've been here as that gate been opened, I'm wanting to know the action that needs to be taken, they are nice people and I don't really want to upset them, they keep themselves out of neighbourly conversations you only ever seen the dog and hear them calling it back in, her husband died 2 year ago, I'd understand if she'd let it slip because of his passing, but it's always been like this, just more added, my dogs safety is one of my priorities, so I can't put poison down or traps because if they see a dead mouse they are going to think "yummy snack", unknown the diseases they carry, my son is my number one obviously and his health, I feel like the mice are going to take over my life!!
Stewart little - 9-Jan-20 @ 8:51 PM
I live & own an ex social housing mid terrace town house, it has a shared entry for access into back gardens. There is no fence between us at the front because previous neighbour cut down hedge without anyone's permission & had a 'makeshift' fencewhich didn't last very long! For the past 5 years I have had seemingly ok neighbours, however they leave their 4 wheely bins where the border is between us & put access unwanted household items either side, including just on the border of our said properties. They continually block the access entry with bikes despite me speaking to them and having to ask them to remove them everytime I want access. I have also spoke to them, on several occassions, about the mess on the front, with which they then 'get rid of a few items' only for access rubbish to begin again! I have spoken to the local council about the border & after a lengthy conversation the conclusion was that they [the council] are prepared to go halves with me (because I own my house!) to have fence installed, however, I myself have to do all the 'leg work' -get 3 qoutes, send to them & with which they will then make a final decision! Neighbours don't really care about having a fence despite the 'lip service' they give me when I approach them about said mess but it still continues, including children using my front to get out with their bikes (when they think I'm not looking) & again despite me telling them several times not to use it as throughfare, added to this my daughters boyfriend car window was smashed while parked on my drive & the neighbours denied all knowledge of it even though they were the only ones in the vicinity & mowing their grass at the front! They go to work, have a very decent car, & spend money profusely on nice things & yet they continue to use the front in this unkempt manner! I really don't understand the logic to be honest & would like to know where I stand on this? Thank you for any response, I'm at my wits end!
Kah - 19-Nov-19 @ 9:53 AM
I live & own an ex social housing mid terrace town house, it has a shared entry for access into back gardens. There is no fence between us at the front because previous neighbour cut down hedge without anyone's permission & had a 'makeshift' fencewhich didn't last very long! For the past 5 years I have had seemingly ok neighbours, however they leave their 4 wheely bins where the border is between us & put access unwanted household items either side, including just on the border of our said properties. They continually block the access entry with bikes despite me speaking to them and having to ask them to remove them everytime I want access. I have also spoke to them, on several occassions, about the mess on the front, with which they then 'get rid of a few items' only for access rubbish to begin again! I have spoken to the local council about the border & after a lengthy conversation the conclusion was that they [the council] are prepared to go halves with me (because I own my house!) to have fence installed, however, I myself have to do all the 'leg work' -get 3 qoutes, send to them & with which they will then make a final decision! Neighbours don't really care about having a fence despite the 'lip service' they give me when I approach them about said mess but it still continues, including children using my front to get out with their bikes (when they think I'm not looking) & again despite me telling them several times not to use it as throughfare, added to this my daughters boyfriend car window was smashed while parked on my drive & the neighbours denied all knowledge of it even though they were the only ones in the vicinity & mowing their grass at the front! They go to work, have a very decent car, & spend money profusely on nice things & yet they continue to use the front in this unkempt manner! I really don't understand the logic to be honest & would like to know where I stand on this? Thank you for any response, I'm at my wits end!
Kah - 19-Nov-19 @ 9:52 AM
Who do I complain to about broken, unused furniture which has been in my neighbours front garden for over a month?
Bowesy - 19-Oct-19 @ 12:01 PM
A long story but I'll try to cut it short. New neighbour wanted work done on rear garden but the only reasonable access to could get was through my garden. Permission was sort with the agreement of her removing dividing fence and putting it back up. 3/4 weeks later the fence is still down and the soil/mud is still very much there and partly covering my garden. My garden is now not safe for my children to play in it. Said neighbour now refuses to talk to me after several attempts made and I get completely ignored. My question, can I pay for work to be carried out to repair the fence and remove the soil and bill my neighbour for it? Or would I be better speaking with my neighbours landlord to try to resolve the matter? Mtia
Jacki - 27-Aug-19 @ 7:54 PM
Just so people are aware it is classed as trespassing which is an offence if you remove rubbish and or cut back trees, bushes ,and grass which is not on your land.
Law - 12-Jun-19 @ 4:44 PM
I live in a 1930 house which is converted into two flats. The two flats are Leasehold, I own the ground floor & neighbour owns the first floor, in the lease it states neighbour is responsible for the upkeep of the front and making sure access is kept clean and giving access to ground floor flat to enable access to bins etc. The first floor tenant will not obey to the terms of the lease, I have confronted them and written and explained when weed becomes over grown it becomes a health and safety to myself, service users and visitors. It becomes very slipper and looks very untidy and intern people are throwing things due to The untidiness.
Liz - 4-Jun-19 @ 6:27 PM
Neighbors garden is really unkempt very occasionally they will attempt to cut it then leave all cuttings in middle of the garden. Old sofas outside, rats in gardens but not certain where they are coming from. Brambles and large bush blocks light to our life living room window. I’ve asked politely for him to cut the bush back but he’s not lifted a finger in the garden her excuse is she has a child whom has disabilities and her partner works nights and that we should offer to help them. Hubby works full time I have a child, a sick father and sick in laws too to care for. What can I do?
Ad - 16-May-19 @ 8:51 PM
I have a neighbour upstairs leaving refuse bags& a mattress since October& yesterday another 1, textiles in bags. Metal objects& general domestic items. Have tried clarion housing& have taken several photographs. Can I post them with a complaint? He'll leave the bins making me have to clean up the mess. I tried asking but I feel I'm taken advantage of.
Pauli - 3-May-19 @ 8:29 PM
You should see what we look at out the back, mattress been there about 2 years, bags of rubbish, bags of dog bedding plus dog s#it and Colostomy bags hanging out the bathroom window, been reported to Charnwood Borough Council 3 times since January,seems like the council can't be bothered with their property.
Lil - 16-Mar-19 @ 2:22 PM
We have a shared drive, split 50/50 between houses. Our neighbour has a large quantity of wood and other rubbish stacked against his house wall. This is on his side. But he stores a trailer that blocks our access to back garden. He then parks car between gate posts further preventing access. What is my position asked him to get rid of rubbish, but he just laughs.
Col - 31-Dec-18 @ 9:52 AM
Hello , my neighbours have been harrassing us for years, made false allegations about uswith the other neighbours , we had to havelawyer butat the meeting with council official it was all dismissed. But the neighbours never stop harrassing us, we keep to ourselves and have CCTV for protection. On the front garden there is a small part of the front porch that has a window that opens in our garden .Last week we saw our neighbour hang CHRISTMAS LIGHTS through the window , they shine into our garden and lounge window, flickering and flashing constantly, causing light pollution and disturbing us as we sit right near our window. The neighbour has hanged them on the gutter , its the 'dangling ones' also has put a string to stop us from moving them to the top of the roof of the porch as we did year before. This is our property and he has no right to do so, but he will do anything to harrass and provoche us, this lights make me anxious as there is always the danger of fire ,I am disabled and get stressed and they have left them on all day while they are out ,also we don't know if the light meet safety standard , also the light pollution is very disturbing, any advice is welcome,the neighbours are bully and disrespectful and do all they can to cause distress. Thank you.
LUCILLA - 17-Dec-18 @ 10:35 PM
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