Garden Fence Laws: What Do You Need to Know?

beige wooden fence covered with green vine plants

Tending to your garden is one of life’s little pleasures, whether looking after flowerbeds or crafting the ideal summer social space. There are things about gardens that we take for granted, though – including the fences that surround them. As someone recently joining the property ladder, you might have encountered some major questions getting in the way of your renovation work; here are some of the more common questions and their answers.

Which Fence is Mine?

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, comes the issue of ownership and stewardship. Which boundary fences are yours, and which are your neighbors? How can you apportion responsibility, and are there ways of proving ownership or responsibility? The answers to these are, at once, simple and complex. For one, there is a basic rule of thumb that applies to most properties: when looking at your property from the road, the left-hand boundary fence is yours to own and maintain.

Of course, this does not describe every boundary fence situation. For more complex boundaries or contestations between neighbors, the next step would be . Accessing title plans for your and your neighbors’ properties will give you a clear idea of where boundaries lie and, hence, which fences are the households’ responsibility.

Can I Make a Neighbour Repair Theirs?

Where a fence has fallen into disrepair, and it is your neighbor’s responsibility to fix it, you might be wondering what you can do to compel them to do so. Unfortunately, there is little you can do, as there are no legal precedents on which you can force your neighbor to effect repairs. Of course, you are well within your rights to , thus blocking out the unsightliness that is theirs.

How High Can It Be?

You are within your right to install your own boundary fencing on your property, but doing so could incite regulatory difficulties if not thought out properly. For the most part, fence installation is a permitted development, hence one that does not require planning permission. However, for any gate, fence, or wall that threatens to exceed two meters in height. This height limit is reduced to one meter for fences, gates, and walls that face roads.

Can I Alter a Neighbour’s Fence?

Of course, if your neighbor’s boundary fence is perfectly fine, there is no need to build your own – but this doesn’t preclude you from wanting to make alterations to ‘your side’ of the fence. You might naturally want to imbue your own sense of style on your garden space, boundaries included. If, though, the fence is your neighbor’s, are you allowed to alter it?

The short answer is yes, provided you get permission. It is unlikely that a neighbor would care what you do to ‘your side’, since it is not visible to them. However, it would be wise to ask permission first, particularly if you intend to hang anything with weight from the fence.