Neighbours have cut hedge, we have no privacy

Our neighbours have cut back the hedge on the boundary between our house and the private road / entry to their 3 villas.

The hedge was on their side of the boundary. They did not consult us in advance.

The result is that our house is completely exposed on one side. There is just a low wire fence marking the boundary, but this gives us no privacy or security.

We want to build a wall to provide the required privacy. There has been a spate of burglaries in our area recently, including the neighbour on the other side.

We would like to build a wall, inside the boundary to our property. When I went round today to inform the neighbours, one became quite vocal (for want of a better word) about the height of the wall, which I had not even mentioned and also bizarrely claiming I did not have the right to build a wall ... even though he and the other neighbours have one.

They were also very demanding about the aesthetic of the finish on their side ... was an incredible 10 minutes.

Having been told about 'the law' by them, I'm now trying to find out what are the regulations for building a wall. I understand the limit is 2 metres for our area. I do not want any arguments, I just want to know what my rights are ... and also what their responsibilities are (if any).

I think it was very rude of them to cut the hedge without informing us in advance, but I was happy to ignore this and just construct my own boundary, inside our garden.

Any hints please? Thank you!

If you move every time you have a disagreement with your neighbors, better get a caravan!
If you can't live in harmony with them, at least mutual tolerance should be possible.
I suppose it could be they are determined to make your life hell so you will go away and they will be able to buy your place at a bargain price, but it is more likely they just got fed up with having to trim the hedge several times a year. And they don't have to ask permission before making changes in their garden.
Better to find out what they want, explain your problem and ask them what they think would be the best solution. It's called negotiation. Usually works best when lubricated with alcohol!

Hi Dorothy, if you don't obtain permission for a wall perhaps a cheaper/zero maintenance option compared to a full hedge would be to place strategic "clumps" of bamboo or similar. It doesn't have to be in-ground where it could spread out of control but in secure containers. Once it's established you can just leave it - no further work required.

See original image

Being on good terms with one's neighbours (or at least not at loggerheads) is probably one of the most important things wherever in the world you live. Maybe try to find a pretext to chat to them again about something completely different..local event or some local common interest.

Growing plants and using trellis cleverly intermixed with gabion walling will make it look good. You could also, like I'm working on at the moment, create private 'rooms' within your space where you have spaces 'enclosed' with 'brise vue', or pergolas. I've also created a kind of 'dead branch' trellis from tree cuttings which looks good too.

I've given up on certain areas of my garden being completely private and to be honest, it actually makes the security easier since a burglar would feel fairly 'exposed' if they tried to take anything.

Good luck

Rendering them sounds an excellent idea. If we could find more ways of safely using old tyres, it would reduce the problem of how to dispose of them.

I live quite near Nonant-les-Pins where there's been a lot of controversy over non-conforme waste materials, including chunks of tyre, being put into the commercially-operated landfill site.

sorry to come back so late... I think Valerie has raised all the points I would have. The most pertinent point for me being, there are so many 'un-controversial' alternatives, that one would have to have a really motivating reason to want to choose old tyres.

He still seems to be pottering around in the garden. Not sure of his suggestion people should concrete over the lawn though ... (pro) would save me battling the petrol mower but (con) would probably have to buy a power washer to wash the gunk off.

I seem to remember old Bob Flowerdew (him of the long thick plait),

using them in stacks to grow his potatoes...

I hope he's still with us..

Yep, you got it. They've proved extraordinarily successful in constructing quite eco friendly houses, great insulation properties etc. I think the problem comes when they're broken down and the toxins released. If they're left intact, filled, away from light as you say there shouldn't be any problem. I only read about it myself a few years ago because Twerp fell on the "safety mat" at a playground and broke his arm very badly so I looked into it a bit more. There's still a bit of debate about whether you can use them for veggie containers but that's a different story, lol.

Right, thanks.

So use them, but don't chop them, fill and bury them away from the light.

There's concern about leached toxins which you wouldn't find in concrete, especially if chopped as you mentioned above, more so in areas where edible plants are growing. However, as I said, filling/compacting/burying/rendering reduces these effects. I've found a relevant "bit" that can explain much better than I:

"The specific constituents contained in a given tire (e.g. arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, chromium, manganese, mercury, lead, sulfur, and zinc) are dependent on the tire’s type, age, and manufacturer. The location in which the used tires are placed is a critical factor that determines how much of each mineral constituent is leached. Tires decompose when exposed to high temperatures, sunlight, or oxidizing agents. None of these elements are present when a tire is packed with soil and surrounded by a stucco barrier"

They are far more hazardous when chopped or ground up


I'm really surprised about this....How can they be toxic if they outlast concrete because they don't breakdown ?

Perhaps the toxicity you are talking about, is ingrained road pollution ?

Yes, the composition of the rubber has been causing considerable concern especially if the tyres are burned or chopped and recycled (for use eg children's playgrounds). I'm wondering if Hilary's idea of hard compacting them and then possibly applying render or similar to the outside would reduce the toxicity.

Of course, you could always use glass or plastic bottles instead

Recycled glass bottle wall:

Sorry missed this link off which has great step by step photos and shows/talks about the use of chopped tyres......terribly cheap...

Not as far as I am aware, Richard...

At the end of this guide...rammed earth tyres are used as the foundation for the wall.

Pragmatic if nowt else !

You could always move... (yes, I know, not helpful...)

I think pretty much all 'eco' prefixed organisations these days advise everyone to steer well clear of anything to do with old tyres.

Hedge is the easy answer. No permission required and no cause for neighbors to complain. Something thorny if you are concerned about intruders. Anything but the dreaded Leylandii which will give you nothing but grief!

I went on an ecobuild weekend course in Kent (?) about 10 yrs ago, full of like minded restorers. Two young Frenchmen who were tackling a large medival complex of houses in Burgundy and several people from the Uk who had bought a place in France....

Excellent experience ...constructing the wall (on a base of a trench filled with chopped waste tyres) sewing and pinning the wall in place with hazel's a fast process, the bales are like giant lego blocks. But, I learned that I was not fit enough to be walking around on the bales then and I'm less so (sadly,) now.....I'd have to hire in a fit team and do what I could to help....

If anyone is interested (I did meet her at a Grand Designs exhibition in London a couple of years ago) the champion and absolute expert in this technique is a slightly buile woman Barbara............and her company is called 'Amazon Nails'....She did/does do projects on a cost only not profit making basis...this may have changed....

see links

It has changed...the original company has gone but she has started up Strawworks....