Can I remove part of a boundary hedge?

Your property query answered

QI have a hedge in my garden, and my neighbour also has one on their side, so they back on to each other. Can I remove part of the hedge on my side in order to set a wooden studio into the space? I only want to remove the portion to fit the studio. Many thanks.

A You can remove the hedge if it is on your side of your property title boundary, ie the legal boundary between the two properties. To determine the location of the legal boundary, consult your deed map. You may need the assistance of a geomatics surveyor to interpret this map and accurately set out the boundary.

If you do not have an accurate deed map, you will need to closely examine the hedges and the area between them. In older properties you may find evidence, such as the remains of a physical boundary, eg a post and wire fence, which was positioned on, and defined, the legal boundary.

It is also possible that the older of the two hedges was planted on the legal boundary. In such case the centre line of the trunks or stems defines the legal boundary. A hedge planted on the legal boundary may be regarded as a party fence/hedge and therefore cannot be removed without your neighbour’s consent. (You can, however, trim it.) If the alignment of the legal boundary is indeterminate or ambiguous, you will need to consult your neighbour and agree its alignment. In such instance the alignment will be influenced by the extent of your possession and by the area you maintain. I would advise that you then mark this line with permanent boundary marker posts.


Having determined the alignment of the legal boundary line, you can then remove any hedge, part of hedge or overhanging growth that is located on your side of this line, provided you do not compromise the security of your neighbour’s property. If the removal of a hedge causes a security risk to your neighbour’s property, you are obliged to ensure their security is restored by means of a suitable fence.

I would also advise you that, because the wooden studio you propose will require regular weatherproofing treatment to its external surface, access space for this purpose will be required between it and the legal boundary.

It is advisable, in the interests of good neighbourly relations, to let your neighbour know of your proposals.

Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered engineer and a member of SCSI,