The responsibility for maintaining the boundary hedge is determined by who owns the property on either side. While you may own the hedge, someone else is responsible for keeping their portion of the boundary maintained.
This is based on property ownership laws under common law in England. If a boundary hedge wasn’t created through an agreement between two people, then it falls back to this rule.
A boundary line can be any differentiating line that separates properties such as boundary hedges, boundary walls, boundary fences or even a boundary ditch with either shrubs or grass growing on it.
If two people own the boundary then they are both responsible for keeping that boundary hedge in good condition. It is also their responsibility to maintain it throughout the year and if one resident refuses to take care of their side of the boundary then the other can go to court to get a boundary hedge trimming injunction.
We’ve got an existing post about how to manage neighbour disputes in terms of hedge trimming, and the fundamental point to note is that you should do your best to have a healthy relationship with the people you live next to. Nine times out of ten you will be able to resolve issues long before they become problems.
If you live in a shared house or apartment, it may be difficult to establish who should take care of the hedge due to different levels of involvement with the garden. The worst thing you can do, however, is ignore the issue, as the hedge will keep growing each year and at some point it may become problematic. It is better to be proactive and talk about it in a constructive way with your neighbours.
If you are renting a property, it is your landlord’s responsibility to make sure the property boundaries are kept in good order, but you may find your rental agreement holds you to account for regular maintenance. If in doubt, liaise with your letting agent for clarity.
If you have boundary disputes, property boundary hedges or boundary fences, then you can take steps to resolve the dispute through mediation. Many local councils offer this service and it’s worth speaking to others so they know how people are treating each other in the neighbourhood.
It is important that all parties involved are clear about their responsibilities so that there will not be any disputes in relation to this matter. As mentioned before, it’s likely that this won’t become an issue, but you can’t guarantee that fact so a simple conversation about the matter is a smart move.
A good way around this problem would be for both owners to agree on how often they want someone else taking care of it, such as once every three months or quarterly (or more frequently if desired). If the boundary hedge is too much to manage then they could consider getting someone else in to take care of it for them.
For boundary hedges that are next to a boundary ditch, the owner of the boundary hedge has more responsibility than a boundary fence or wall as they need to maintain their side better. The boundary ditch just needs regular maintenance from both sides.
A boundary hedge trimming injunction can be used to force one person to keep their boundary hedge in shape, although it is probably easier and less expensive to get someone to cut the hedge on a regular basis rather than go through the legal process of an injunction.
If you live near enough to your property boundary then this isn’t likely to be an issue anyway, but it is something to consider if you are dealing with boundary hedges that are a fair distance from your home. An expert in boundary hedge trimming or boundary fencing could do this maintenance work for you, although there will be costs involved. A lot depends on the size of the boundary hedge and who owns what part of it.
Alternatively, one owner could keep up with maintenance while another pays for them – but make sure there is some form of agreement before proceeding down this path!
Boundary hedges are plants that separate neighbouring land. In this post we’ve covered the responsibilities of the boundary hedge owners and provided solutions for boundaries that are not close to one another. Boundary hedges can be trimmed on either side or someone can trim it all together either in person or with professional support.
The secret is to be proactive in working out who is responsible and acting on that information. That way a small amount of trimming a couple of times a year can avoid a lot of frustration and potential legal action.
If you want to know more about how to trim a hedge, we’ve got everything you need in our Guide.