Hedge / fence dilemma

stickywicket Member Posts: 27,413
edited 26. May 2014, 14:42 in Community Chit-chat archive
We have a long, privet hedge at the bottom of or garden. Our neighbour, on the other side of it, came round last week and said she'd like to replace it with a (good quality) fence and did we have any objections. We both rather like the hedge but it's a lot to cut and Mr SW isn't getting any younger so we said not really. She said she'd return and show us what she had in mind.

She did. The pic was attached to a quote. For about £2,000. She thought we could go halves. This completely took us aback. Quite frankly, we can't. If we had £1,000 going spare replacing a perfectly good hedge with a fence wouldn't be our first priority. Or second. Or third.

She will come back some time this week. We will have to tell her she can go ahead if she wants to but it'll be her shout. (She's a single lawyer so she can afford it.) I'm just starting to natter though about the future. We live in a windy spot on top of a hill and, in a gale, our flat roof once landed, almost in its entirety, in the garden beyond hers. What if a tree branch falls on it and damages it? (We have an apple tree close by.) Who is responsible for repairs? A hedge can cope but not a fence.

We don't want to be any more negative than we have to be. We have never, ever had any neighbour trouble and don't wish to start now. I'd appreciate your thoughts on the matter.


  • bubbadog
    bubbadog Member Posts: 5,544
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's worth looking at the boundary, it all comes down to boundary with gardens and land. When we put our fence up we had to do it over our boundary line and make sure it didn't go into next doors boundary land. So when she comes again you can say sure you can buy a fence but make sure it's on your boundary side because we are not interested in paying half for it!!
  • toady
    toady Member Posts: 1,632
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    £2000?! :shock: Is Mr Chippendale coming back from the dead to hand-turn it or something?

    If it wasn't something I particularly wanted in the first place then short of falling out I would probably try & plead diplomatically for the hedge, on account of knowing what people are like; your single lawyer could well up & move in 5 minutes.

    However as you are in two minds about the maintenance side of keeping the hedge it's trickier. If you can cast the cost & responsibility for repairs on her own head, boundary wise, then it may be the line of least resistance. I'd certainly want to be sure-ish it wasn't just a whim though, as I wouldn't want to lose an established hedge I liked for no good reason.

    You couldn't actually prise £1000 out of me with a crowbar for half a fence.
  • Bonnielinda
    Bonnielinda Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cheeky lawyer! Thank her for coming over and discussing her idea with you without having just gone ahead with it. You should be clear about not wanting to pay for half a fence when the current hedge is perfectly suitable. If she really want to change it then she should foot the bill. Make sure to take note of any agreements made. Don't want her to come back a few months later with any issues the fence may create. It might be worth contacting your local land registry to find out the legal implications of replacing the hedge and who will be responsible for future maintenance.
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sticky, I'd keep the hedge if it does the job. Fences need maintenance too, which can be very expensive. If your neighbor wants a fence, then she should build it and cover costs.
  • Megrose489
    Megrose489 Member Posts: 750
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Who does the hedge belong to, Sticky? We live in a semi-detached and own the fence on one side of our garden, while our neighbour owns the hedge on the opposite side, which is on their land. We cut our side of the hedge, but we are aware that it doesn't actually belong to us. If the hedge belongs to your neighbour, then it's got to be her choice whether or not to put up, and pay for, a ridiculously expensive fence. I believe it's all down to who owns, and is responsible for the upkeep of, that part of the boundary. I would also express your concerns about the effect of bad weather. Maybe she hasn't thought about that.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hmmmm. I would opt for hedge on your side and squeaky-clean new fence (and paid for by her) on the other. I understand that Mr SW is not getting any younger but might there be ways around maintaining your part of this possible deal? How long has she lived there? Is she aware of the general 'windiness' of the location? DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,413
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for your interesting and useful suggestions, everyone.

    The plans we have just show the demarcation lines and measurements, not the hedge itself. Mr SW will have to take his tape measure out but I strongly suspect the hedge roots straddle the boundary as it was mature when we moved in 35 years ago. There has never been any problem with it. We've cut our side and she, and her predecessors, have cut theirs.

    Toady – you did make me laugh. It is a long hedge (I think probably around 40'.) The houses are at right angles to each other so it marks the bottom of our garden and one side of hers. I have some sympathy with her as the gardens at her side are long and very (They are old terrace houses) narrow – so I don't think going for the double of fence plus hedge would help her. She's wanting a broader garden not a narrower one.

    I don't think she'll move on in a hurry as she's been here about 10 years now. We are a very settled community. It might be worth mentioning the wind factor though as her garden is protected from the prevailing winds by the hedge. A fence might not stand up to the elements quite so well.

    I'm wondering if it would be worth suggesting cutting the hedge back to about 4'. It's currently about 5' rising to 6' where her gate is. It would make her garden seem bigger, though not really wider, but afford less privacy than the 6' fence she's proposing.
  • villier
    villier Member Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Surely if the hedge is doing the job and something that does not require to be fixed she surely should foot the bill. You could also ask her for a 'free' consultation to see where you stand :wink: xx
  • Numptydumpty
    Numptydumpty Member Posts: 6,417
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well, I'm no expert :lol: but that does seem like an awful lot of money :shock:
    I think you'd be better off paying someone to cut your side of the hedge, when Mr SW doesn't feel he can manage it.
    The fact you hadn't really thought of replacing it yourselves, shows this is your neighbours "baby" not yours.
    I would tell her you're quite willing for her to go ahead with it, if that's what she wants, but you're happy enough with the hedge, and not prepared to invest in any replacement.
    Good luck, and don't let it worry you :wink:
  • ichabod6
    ichabod6 Member Posts: 843
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Let her erect a fence on her land at her side of the hedge.
  • bubbadog
    bubbadog Member Posts: 5,544
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was going to suggest the same as ichabod! Some of the residents in our close have do that as to save the Hawthorn bushes. Otherwise suggest the cutting back of the bush to an agreeable height as bushes are more attractive than fences.
  • applerose
    applerose Member Posts: 3,621
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think you need to decide what you want. If you want to keep the hedge, just say so. Don't let her cut it down if it's not what you want. A few weeks after my neighbours moved in, she told me that they had decided to take down my open board fence and were going to put up a closed board fence. No asking what I thought or if I minded. I told them that as I had paid for the full fence myself and because it was what I wanted (because we get high winds across the gardens, it needed to be open to let the wind through), then I didn't want them to remove my fence. They later put up another fence alongside mine. So we have 2 fences now. They haven't spoken to me since. :lol:
  • mig
    mig Member Posts: 7,152
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What about all the creatures that would lose their homes.Keep the hedge.Mig
  • tkachev
    tkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I wouldn't see it as neighbour trouble. You have agreed that she can replace it but you just can't contribute to the cost. Presumably If it means that much to her she'll be happy to pay.

    We have a privet hedge about 7 feet high running right along the bottom of our garden at right angles to a neighbour. If they touched it I'd be round like a shot! Its bad enough having houses behind us and in view so the more green the better.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,413
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Again, my thanks to everyone who has replied with suggestions.

    We had decided to tell her that we couldn't afford it, didn't really want it and, if she wanted to go ahead, we'd need some assurances about whose land it was on and who would be responsible for it in the future as it wouldn't be as totally forgiving as the hedge had been.

    In the end, M SW saw her in the garden today. It all remained very amicable. He simply said we couldn't afford it :roll: She replied that, in that case she'd have to talk to her neighbours at the other side. I guess this means that the price of replacing the shared hedge/fence at that side will now go up in propertion as the workmen will only have half the job.

    I have started to wonder if the original suggestion came from these people anyway. After buying their house they spent about 12 months disembowelling it. At one point we felt the only thing left to go into the multiple skips would be the bodies :shock: Then, a month ago, they had two big and beautiful, mature flowering cherries despatched just as they were coming into bloom.

    The thick plottens 8)