If your landscaping work is made to look less neat due to a next-door neighbour's overgrown hedges hanging into your yard, you may have some recourse. You may be able to neaten parts of the hedge yourself without asking permission. State and local laws vary, however, so be sure to research whether trimming overhanging tree limbs and hedges is allowable by law in your area or whether you need to give your neighbour a chance to do it himself first.
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Identify the property line between your yard and your neighbour's. This may have been marked for you during a survey before you bought the property. There may flags placed in the ground or some other clue to show where the line is. Do not assume that a fence is the exact boundary line.
Locate the part of the hedge that hangs onto your property and which you can trim without trespassing onto your neighbour's property. In general--and this may vary from state to state--you can cut any limb or branch that hangs onto your property at the point it crosses the line, but not do anything to destroy the growth of the rest of the hedge or kill it.
Give your neighbour a heads-up that you'll be trimming your side of the hedges, if possible. This may not be required by law, however it may prevent some animosity. Some notice may also spur the neighbour to offer to trim your side herself so that the hedge will be symmetrical on both sides.
Use hedge clippers or an electric trimmer to trim on your side of the property line. If necessary, use a ladder to reach branches that are high up. Avoid walking into your neighbour's yard to reach certain angles, as that may be construed as trespassing.
Tips and warnings
- Be cautious when trimming large branches off any hedge that looks sickly or thin. Although the hedge may be making that part of your property an eyesore, if the hedge dies after your actions, your neighbour may be able to sue you to replace it.
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