Personal Law
August 8, 2023

Garden Alterations and Neighbour Disputes - Resolving Summer Conflicts

During the summer months, many residents take to their gardens to enjoy the warmer weather and make alterations to enhance their outdoor spaces. However, these garden alterations can sometimes lead to disputes between neighbours, causing tension and impacting the enjoyment of the summer season. 

From planting trees on boundary lines to a new fence or maybe even a new shed for your new gardening plans, conflicts between neighbours happen, but resolving these conflicts amicably and understanding the legal considerations surrounding garden alterations can help to maintain harmonious neighbourly relationships.

​In this article, we will explore common garden alteration issues, offer guidance on resolving disagreements and shed light on the legal aspects relevant to property owners.

Common Garden Alteration Issues

Garden alteration issues can arise due to a variety of factors, including changes to garden structures, planting of trees or hedges, installation of fencing or construction of outbuildings. Concerns may include obstructed views, loss of privacy, noise disturbances, potential damage to property or impact on natural light. 

All of these occurrences can impact you or your neighbour's enjoyment of their property, so it is important to approach these issues sensitively. Understanding the specific concerns and interests of all parties is crucial when attempting to find mutually agreeable solutions.

Open and Respectful Communication

Resolving neighbour disputes begins with open and respectful communication. Initiating a conversation with your neighbour to discuss concerns and explain your perspective can help alleviate tensions. Listening to their concerns and demonstrating empathy are equally important. A calm and respectful dialogue can often lead to compromises or mutually beneficial solutions that address both parties' interests.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

If direct communication does not yield a resolution, seeking mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods can be effective. Mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating a discussion between the parties to find a mutually acceptable solution. This process encourages constructive dialogue and can help neighbours identify common ground and reach compromises. Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration or expert determination, may also be considered, depending on the nature and complexity of the dispute.

Understanding Legal Considerations

Garden alterations must comply with local planning regulations and legal requirements. Familiarise yourself with the relevant laws, such as permitted development rights, which dictate the types and sizes of structures that can be built without planning permission. If planning permission is required, ensure that the necessary approvals are obtained to avoid potential legal issues. It is advisable to consult with a law firm specialising in property matters to ensure compliance and mitigate any risks.

Boundary Disputes and Encroachments

Garden alterations can sometimes lead to boundary disputes or encroachments. It is crucial to ascertain the exact boundaries of your property and engage a professional surveyor if necessary. Clear documentation, such as title deeds and land registry records, can provide clarity on boundary lines. If a dispute arises, seek legal advice to understand your rights and options for resolution, which may involve negotiation, mediation, or, in extreme cases, legal action.

Seeking Legal Advice

When neighbour disputes become challenging to resolve or involve complex legal issues, seeking advice from a law firm experienced in property disputes is highly recommended. Property dispute resolution lawyers can provide expert guidance, assess your legal position, and help explore potential solutions. They can also represent your interests in negotiations, mediation, or court proceedings if required, but by taking proactive steps to address disputes, property owners can maintain harmonious relationships with their neighbours and enjoy a peaceful and pleasant summer season.

Need to talk to us?

Our Dispute Resolution team are on hand to advise on any issues relating to property disputes. Please telephone 01892 526344 or email

For further information on all our property services, please click here.

Fixed Fee Appointments

If suitable, we offer an initial one hour appointment with a Dispute Resolution Solicitor for a fixed cost of £195 + VAT. This gives you the opportunity to discuss your matter and consider your options on a fixed cost basis.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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