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wellington womble

Hedges for privacy

My field runs along the back of a lot of people’s gardens. I want to plant a socking great evergreen hedge along the boundary, so they can’t nose into my field from their bedrooms. Clearly, it will need to be as high as their windows (I’m estimating 4m or so). What I’m having trouble figuring out is how far into my land to site it. I can’t plant right on my north(ish) boundary, or I’ll get complaints about shading. That’s ok, I don’t mind planting it further in, I just don’t know how to go about calculating how far to the south it will shade, and thus how much space to leave.

Any ideas, or do I need to get a tape measure and start measuring shadows at the solstice (surely not. These must be known facts, somewhere!)
gz

Normal boundary hedges have a limit of 2 metres.

ISTR there is something about how far back from the boundary a higher hedge has to be, I'm sure there'll be someone along who knows that.
frewen

Interesting topic - I shall follow and learn
wellington womble

Normal boundary hedges have a limit of 2 metres.


Not in England. A boundary wall or fence has a limit of two metres, but there is no legal limit for hedging. However, a neighbour can complain to local authority about your hedge, if its height 'reduces the amenity value' of their garden, by reducing light to windows (not an issue, the gardens are too long) or denying them winter sunshine. The local authority can enforce action against your hedge if they think the neighbours complaint is reasonable. So as long as they still get winter sunshine to their houses and some of their garden, it will be fine, i just don’t know how to work out the measurements.

I’m a bit wary of opening hostilities with the neighbours. It can really make you life miserable, in my experience (even when the hostilities were opened by the person who lived there before you!)
buzzy

Re: Hedges for privacy

My field runs along the back of a lot of people’s gardens. I want to plant a socking great evergreen hedge along the boundary, so they can’t nose into my field from their bedrooms. Clearly, it will need to be as high as their windows (I’m estimating 4m or so). What I’m having trouble figuring out is how far into my land to site it. I can’t plant right on my north(ish) boundary, or I’ll get complaints about shading. That’s ok, I don’t mind planting it further in, I just don’t know how to go about calculating how far to the south it will shade, and thus how much space to leave.

Any ideas, or do I need to get a tape measure and start measuring shadows at the solstice (surely not. These must be known facts, somewhere!)


I'm sure I've seen shade calculators on the web, but not having any use for such have not kept a record. However, a search for "shade calculator" on the web looks as if it might bring up useful sites.

Henry
pollyanna

What are you doing in your field that you don't want anybody to see? Most people don't spend much time in their bedrooms.
Seems a lot of expense to no real purpose. But maybe that's just me.
stumbling goat

Is it not current that extensions along and on the boundary line have a limit of one storey height. To go above planning requires a step in of 1 metre.

Following that rule, a hedge planted a metre in from the boundary, or would that be in a metre when grown and bushed would be okay? Would it? I would ask the Local Authority.

sg
Midlandsman

If they are capable of heading light a hedge has to be under 2 metres high. I guess the onus is on you to show that your row of trees is sited where it won't shade any neighbours land:

http://www.blaby.gov.uk/resident/planning-and-building/planning-enforcement/high-hedges/

The references to the relevant legislation can be found here.

HTH

MM
Mistress Rose

You might also find that they reduce the water available near them and can send roots out that make a nuisance of themselves. The main problem I find is the trees in our neighbours garden that cut out the light though as they are due south of our garden. wellington womble

What are you doing in your field that you don't want anybody to see? Most people don't spend much time in their bedrooms.

I don’t think that’s really relevant. It’s my land, and I wish to use it privately. So long as it’s legal, it’s really no concern of my neighbours. Also, one of my neighbours previously spent nearly all his time in his bedroom and was a malicious man, who caused a lot of problems for my mum, when she lived here. I often found him peering through gaps in the fence and the gates (from a private driveway) and he frequently engaged my small daughter in conversation without my presence. He has had lowered fences put in especially so that he can see over them. I once found him merrily shining a torch through my French doors (no idea what that was about, it was still daylight. Sadly, his health has detoriorated recently so that he is no longer able to manage the stairs or get about outside well, so we are no longer under scrutiny. It was unpleasant. I don’t wish for this to continue happening.

If they are capable of heading light a hedge has to be under 2 metres high

No, it doesn’t. A boundary hedge must be growing on land owned or occupied by someone else AND made up of a line of 2 or more trees or shrubs AND mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen AND more than 2 metres tall AND barrier to light or access AND THEREFORE harm the reasonable enjoyment of a home you own or occupy and/or its garden or yard. You can’t object to a hedge under high hedges act merely because it is taller than two metres. I don’t wish to be a nusciance, which is why I am trying to find out how to make sure it isn’t.

You might also find that they reduce the water available near them and can send roots out that make a nuisance of themselves.

Roots are specifically excluded from the the high hedges act. However, the gardens are very long. Between 30 and 50m. I’m really taking pains to be considerate, here.

I want to plant a hedge that is about 4 or 5 m, I think. The gardens are long, probably about 30m in most cases. I doubt complaining that the bottom 4m of your garden is shaded is likely to be considered unreasonable, so I don’t think some shading, some of the time is a problem. Obviously 'unreasonable' is quite subjective, and I will need to make a call. But I need to know how much shading a 4m hedge will cause in order to work out how to plant it considerately. I have a 4m privet at the bottom of my garden. It’s about 20m away. I don’t like it, but it’s adequate for privacy and it doesn’t block the sun unduly. Obviously right on the south side is quite shaded, but most of the garden gets plenty of sun. I’m thinking about 4m back for the boundary would be sufficient, and will allow for maintenance of both hedges by a trimmer.

I will also plant a native hedge on the boundary, which will not be everygreen. This is because people frequently throw their garden rubbish over their bottom fence, and a hedge is very effective at preventing that.
Mistress Rose

I was thinking about the roots on your side. Your neighbour sounds rather creepy. If he is ever well enough to resume that sort of behaviour I would call the police.

I would suggest measuring how far the end of your present hedge shades at certain times of the year to see how far back you need to put the new hedge.
wellington womble

He is a bit creepy. I suspect he has dementia, and that may have been part of the problem, but he’s always been like it. He had cctv for a while, too, but was made to take it down because he was (possibly inadvertently, possibly not, idk) watching the school over the road.

He’s elderly now, and his health has really deteriorated since we moved in. I believe his vision is now very poor, also. However, I’m not having any of that sort of thing at the new place.
dpack

just a thought but would a cash crop of evergreen trees make for a screen, a broad strip could provide a rolling cash crop/fuel/timber as well as giving the required privacy with no "hedge" issues involved.

if harvesting and replanting are an ongoing process privacy should be maintained and the forestry rules are far more owner friendly than boundary hedging ones.
dpack

ps blackthorn, gorse etc are rather effective as a physical barrier once established and managed

are any grants available for "good" hedges or economic incentives for forestry on that scale?
wellington womble

ps blackthorn, gorse etc are rather effective as a physical barrier once established and managed

are any grants available for "good" hedges or economic incentives for forestry on that scale?

I’ll definitely put some prickly things around vulnerable areas. It’s mostly just to get enough height and width to stop people chucking grass clippings and old wood over, though. And then, when they don’t maintain their fence and it falls down, it can fall on their side.

It’s possible there might be grants for broadleaf trees. If not, I think we can get the Freewoods scheme involved, because we are in the National Forest, we can get a wood planted by them. I wonder if they do hedges?

I hadn’t really thought about whether it applies for agricultural land. I suppose the hedges act might not actually apply at all. I’d still rather be considerate though.
dpack

if it is called "the long wood" it isnt a hedge Wink Laughing wellington womble

I was thinking 'shelter belt' dpack

that sounds nice. Cool Mistress Rose

If you are in the National Forest, there might be some help available. There are certainly grants for tree planting, but not sure if what you have in mind would qualify. You could try looking on the Forestry Commission website. If it linked one hedge or wood with another to form a wildlife corridor, there is more chance of a grant than if it is just a stand alone hedge.

To have something that is rotatiional, what about something like hazel or chestnut if it will grow? Hazel has a rotation from 7 years upward, but can be left a lot longer if you want, and chestnut about 20 years. They are open during the winter, but break up any view. You could add gorse or an evergreen shrub on the 'outside' to stop people throwing rubbish over and block the bottom view. Things like Norway spruce grow so they are open at the bottom and may fall the wrong way if planted too close together and not thinned.
wellington womble

Last time I looked (and it was awhile ago) forestry grants were only available for more than three hectares, which this land isn’t. I didn’t check hedging. The Freewoods scheme is, because of the National Foroest (this always makes laugh, because there aren’t really many trees!)

The plan is to have a native hedge on the boundary (probably mainly Hazel) and to have a hideous, quick growing evergreen shelter belt about 4m in, kept to about 4m tall (must check if hedging equipment can trim that tall). I will probably then plant something nicer for a longer term screen inside the evergreen. Holly, or bay perhaps, depending on space. That will mean that a tractor mounted trimmer can get in to cut the evergreen, the neighbours will not be unduly shaded and my precious privacy will be assured. Once the permanent evergreens are tall enough, the conifers can come out.

I’d love some sweet chestnut. A local friend has tried to grow it and failed, I think it might be our clay. We have a lot of clay! I’ll be improving the land at the new place, though so it might be worth chancing it.
Nicky Colour it green

you could consider beech hedging? If clipped correctly they keep their leaves, until the new growth comes through.. as an alternative to or mixed in with evergreens. Hairyloon

just a thought but would a cash crop of evergreen trees make for a screen, a broad strip could provide a rolling cash crop/fuel/timber as well as giving the required privacy with no "hedge" issues involved...
I was going to suggest something similar.
Or if not, I'd favour laurel over conifer as an evergreen hedge, though that can have issues with livestock.
Or holly, if it was not my job to trim it. Wink
Mistress Rose

Beech is a good alternative to an evergreen Nicky. The road my parents lived in had those either side and they looked good as well as being leaf covered all year. They have to be kept clipped every year to ensure that the outside is only a year or two old though.

I don't know how wide your land is WW, but if you are having 3 hedges, one inside the other, you are probably talking of a minimum of 20-30 feet width, possibly more if you need to get a mechanical hedge cutter up each side of the main hedge.
wellington womble

That won’t be a problem, it’s a five acre field, in a rough rectangle, and this is the short side. There’s plenty of space.

I like beech, so there will certainly be some somewhere. I’m no fan of laurel, though, and it does have livestock issues. It’s bad enough trying to fence things in, let alone fencing them out of things they oughtn't eat as well! Pruning will be a tractor job, I reckon.
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