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Did you know you could be breaking the law in your own garden?

If you’re spending an afternoon pottering around in your garden, it’s unlikely that you’ll be considering the legal ramifications. Gardening is an inherently peaceful pursuit, and gardeners are the same; the last thing that you’d expect is to wind up with a court hearing or fine for a bit of green-fingered hobbying.

However, there are actually quite a few ways you can fall foul of the law when you’re in the garden – especially if you have neighbours. Let’s have a quick run-down of what you might need to watch out for.

Planning permission

Firstly, keep an eye on planning permission regulations in your area. If you’re doing serious work on the garden – and building permanent structures – then you may need to check in with your local council to see if you can go ahead with it.

Branch trimming

Trimming branches is an everyday part of gardening, and is essential to a tree’s health. And if your neighbour has a tree, bush or anything else that overhangs into your garden, you’re entitled to trim it. However, it is very important to only trim, cut or chop up to the line of your property, without leaning across, as it constitutes trespassing.

Branch collecting

While we’re on the subject of branches, don’t forget that, while you’re entitled to chop ones on your property, you’re not entitled to keep them. Many of us cut down branches for firewood and other purposes, but your neighbours are entitled to ask for them back if required.


The same goes for windfall fruits or blossoms. While you’re entitled to remove them from your part of the property, you are not entitled to keep them.


Trampolines are particularly fun, and kids will bounce for hours without a care in the world. Though we’re sure you respect your neighbours’ privacy as it is, it’s useful to remember that this privacy is actually a legal right, as well as a social convention. So make sure your trampoline is placed in a considerate place, or you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Hot tubs

If you decide to add a touch of luxury to your garden with a hot tub, try to place it away from the boundary of your property and use it only at sociable hours. Hot tubs actually make quite a lot of noise and often bring about complaints from those who overhear them.


In the UK summertime, you can barely walk down the road without encountering a barbecue of some description. Only the most litigious of neighbours would attempt to notify the council or police due to the odd summer get together, but they may have a more legitimate grievance if these go on for too long, or happen too often – the smoke and smell can be a nightmare. Likewise, don’t have bonfires unless absolutely necessary; the smoke can get into houses, get into clothes and ruin furniture.

So, with that in mind, you’re all set for a beautiful summer outdoors. Happy gardening!