Garden hedge disputes

A garden hedge is useful as a boundary, creating privacy and encouraging wildlife but it can occasionally have its drawbacks.

Planning and maintaining a hedge

You do not need permission to plant a hedge in your garden and there are no official restrictions as to how high you can grow your hedge. Overhanging branches can be pruned and cut back to boundary lines unless the hedge is in a conservation area or the hedgetrees are protected.

How high is a 'high hedge'?

A high hedge is generally defined as being over two metres in height and consists of two or more plants. Use our high hedges calculator to determine the height of a hedge.


What if my neighbour's hedge/trees overhang into my garden?

First talk to the owner. The owner is not obliged to cut them back unless it is causing actual damage. You are allowed to cut back vegetation overhanging into your airspace but you must offer back the cuttings before disposing of them. Care must be taken to cause no harm, as you could be held legally responsible for damage to the structure or amenity value (including appearance or death of) the tree.

If, however, you are still unhappy you can make a formal complaint to us. 

We will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner setting out what they must do to the hedge to remedy the problem. Failure to carry out the work required is an offence that could lead to a fine of £1,000.

Legislation expressly says that we will not mediate or negotiate between neighbours. You can ask Mediation Somerset to help, or the Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to provide advice.


What if a hedge or tree is blocking a pavement?

If a tree or hedge from a private garden overhangs and causes an obstruction to a pavement, please report it to Somerset County Council.