In 2017 alone there were 3,270 disputes between neighbours about gardens and between 2012 and 2018 that figure is whopping 19,749. These turf wars top the charts of most neighbourly disputes.
Outdoor building manufacturer, Tiger Sheds, researched the most annoying, green space related, activities neighbours inflict on one another.
1. Having an untidy garden that makes the area look unsightly (17%)
2. Having loud parties/BBQs (16%)
3. Playing loud music (16%)
4. Having an untidy garden that spills into my garden (14%)
5. Using loud gardening tools late at night/early in the morning (13%)
65% people said they get annoyed with the neighbours about the garden. 40% said though that it was annoying when neigbours spend a lot of time in the garden because it felt it ‘invades their privacy’, it may be that expectations are actually a little unreasonable.
Almost a third surveyed said they have come close to losing their temper and argued with a neighbour and Tiger Sheds explored how many took it further and lodged official complaints.
Councils across the country responded to Freedom of Information requests made by Tiger Sheds to uncover how many official complaints have been lodged over the last 6 years.
The top ten highest number of disputes from neighbours (specifically about nearby private gardens, and shared fences and hedges) from 2012-2018 are:
10. Durham County Council - 351 complaints
9. New Forest District Council - 365 complaints
8. North Lincolnshire Council - 413 complaints
7. South Gloucestershire District Council - 418 complaints
6. East Ayrshire Council - 494 complaints
5. Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council - 502 complaints
4. Portsmouth City Council - 544 complaints
3. Sheffield City Council - 630 complaints
2. Cornwall Council - 941 complaints
1. Warwickshire County Council - 1,256 complaints
A lot of people move to the West Country for a perceived more relaxed pace of life, however second place in the Dispute Table is Cornwall! However, Bristol is in fact a more relaxed location, with 38% saying they enjoy spending time in their garden while their neighbour is in theirs.
What can you do if facing a dispute with a neighbour?
If resolving things yourselves aren’t progressing, there are local mediation services that are funded by charities or local councils. You may have to pay up to £500 but this is often far cheaper than it escalating into legal action.
Agree to split the cost of any service early on and then once an agreement has been reached, in writing or verbally, you’re left to it again. The mediator will then check again in one month’s time to ensure the agreement is continuing to be respected.
Living with neighbours you don’t get on with can be hard but it’s important to try to get along to make both your lives easier. One way to prevent future problems can be to ensure there is an agreement over which fence/hedge parts are who’s responsibility.
Try to resolve any issues as they arise quickly before anything escalates. It keeps long term relationships smooth for the long term and you can then enjoy your garden and relax.