If the recent heatwave has propelled you into spending your days in the garden, Ideal Home magazine has a few tips for staying on the right side of the law, when it comes to using and improving your outdoor space.
If you’re trimming shrubs or hedges, and next door’s vegetation is starting to intrude, be careful about cutting it back. You can only trim branches to the boundary line of your property – and not if they’re protected by a tree preservation order. Plus, any stems you cut off are technically your neighbour’s property. This also goes for windfall fruit that drops from their trees into your garden.
When planting trees in your own garden, you need to be mindful of the impact on your neighbours. The Rights of Light Act, means your tree can’t block light from a window that’s been letting in the sun for 20 years or more.
Trampolines can be an issue too, so think about where you site yours. If it means your children can look inside neighbouring properties while they bounce, you could be in breach of right to privacy legislation.
Barbecues are a big part of life al fresco but if yours is excessively smoky, beware. Neighbours have the right to report your barbecue, chiminea or fire pit if too much smoke drifts across, ruining their garden enjoyment.
Hot tubs are an affordable luxury for many families, but be careful how you use yours – if it’s running late into the night, you could be causing a nuisance. Ideal Home recommends checking next door before you take the plunge and get one installed.
Fences make good neighbours, according to the saying, but they can lead to disputes too. It’s not always clear cut who is responsible for which fence, so check the deeds of your property before replacing, repainting – or ignoring – one that’s in need of maintenance.
Finally, check out the rules about sheds – depending on whether its height and depth conform with permitted development rights, yours may need planning permission.