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Overgrown and Messy Gardens

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Jul 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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My neighbours just fixed they are windows, they changed all the windows, and after that they burned the old windows in the garden at nights.this windows still had a glass on it. All the smoked come inside my daughter bedroom, the smell very strong, Im worried about my daughter,I had to make her sleep in the living room, I dont want my daughter have problem. I told them to stop it but they keep carrying on burn waste till 1hour. This neighbours garden is so mess too, old sofa, carpet and rubbish a lot in they are garden. I have take some pictures of it. The thing make me dont want a call council because everyone know each other in my areas. And worries if they break our car out side. We do want a move from this area, but is to expensive to move house, as we need a lot money for deposit. So we just stuck here :( We dont know what to do any more. Any advice please
Melon - 22-Jul-18 @ 11:12 PM
i have been trying to sell my house for 1 year now. i am getting loads of viewings but it isnt selling because of my neighbour. his back garden is like a jungle and in the front garden there is a big old rusty van with a trailer which is also overgrown i have been to the council but it is a bought house they cant do anything i havebeen to enviromental health and they said he can put whatever he wants in his garden. please can you give me advice. thank you
Angel - 20-Jul-18 @ 4:56 PM
My neighbour has kept 'her garden' (despite it being a communal one no one else is allowed access too cause she locks it) very well taken care of. except for the part where i can exit into the garden which is over grown and causing damage to my walls/windows and door. You can't even see out of the window anymore. I have spoken to my council, my housing officer and the neighbour but no one will do/refuse to do anything. What are my other options?
Catalina - 14-Jul-18 @ 12:08 PM
My neighbours hedge/bush is very over grown it hangs over to plate garden and a lot of leaves fall off. It also blocks some sun. I’ve just popped my head over and the garden is all very overgrown so I’m assuming there not bothered. The leaves don’t really bother me although if I was allowed I’d get a hedge trimmer and take the lot of! There is a strong smell of cat/Fox poo, I can’t see if there is any there as it’s so overgrown. A cat/Fox did poo in our garden the other day I can’t see any more but we’ve had Astro turf Laid and apprantley they won’t go on that. I’ve searched everywhere in my garden and can’t see any poo.
Curtis - 5-Jul-18 @ 12:55 PM
Hi. My neighbours garden is very overgrown,his thick weeds are higher than my hedges. There is also a lot of metal dumped. I can't open my conservatory Windows or doors because I get lots of large bluebottle flies coming in, which I'm sure come from his garden. I've had pest control in about rats coming from there . Please can you help. Am sure he would take more notice of authority.
Symo - 4-Jul-18 @ 7:07 PM
Jasper - Your Question:
My neighbours have tons of rubbish bags on their property which has attracted rats. I have had the councils environmental health round to lay poison down several times on my property and at my expense. They said there were no nests on my property, the one hole was just a run through to the neighbours. I have also reported the problem about next doors rubbish but basically been told to mind my own business.Can I go higher than my council as the problem is getting worse & the rats are huge. We don’t want them getting in the houses. My neighbours the other side sre elderly and unwell. It’s stressful for them. Where do I go next, help please !

Our Response:
If pest control has identified the hole as a "run-through",because of your neighbour's rubbish then environmental health should be able to take action to force your neighbour to clean up the property, or arrange for a contractor to do so and re-charge your neighbour. If you do not think the council has taken the necessary action under its statutory duties, then follow the council's complaints procedure, which should be documented on their website.
ProblemNeighbours - 2-Jul-18 @ 2:20 PM
My neighbours have tons of rubbish bags on their property which has attracted rats. I have had the councils environmental health round to lay poison down several times on my property and at my expense. They said there were no nests on my property, the one hole was just a run through to the neighbours. I have also reported the problem about next doors rubbish but basically been told to mind my own business. Can I go higher than my council as the problem is getting worse &the rats are huge.We don’t want them getting in the houses. My neighbours the other side sre elderly and unwell. It’s stressful for them. Where do I go next, help please !
Jasper - 1-Jul-18 @ 12:19 PM
The man next door has allowed his fences to start falling down(they have been there 30 years)and now all his soil from his garden keeps falling in to mine.I have asked him many times if he could deal with it but he refuses,is there anything I can do?
Froggie - 1-Jun-18 @ 9:46 PM
For over a year I have been trying to get Scottish Borders Housing Association who is the landlordof the house next door to deal with their very unkeptgarden , but greeted with the same answer every time, (I know its a mess but Its in hand). It is getting very frustrating dealing with them, as I have been left with no confidence at all that something will be done. Our neighbour does not have the ability to attend to her garden, for reasons I wont go into. We have recently installed a thin artificial hedge (Screen), but very soon the weeds and brambles are going to start coming through again and damaging our hedge screen, which we paid over 150 pounds for, we stay in the Scottish Borders and have recently found out that very little can be done.
BS - 1-Jun-18 @ 4:41 PM
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
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