The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Jangor

Kent, United Kingdom Gb

As with a previous question I have a small south facing garden with a long garden running along the back of mine and the owner has trees along the border with my garden and now has allowed a laurel bush to grow to almost 30'. This has thrown my garden into deep shade from approx 1.30 p.m. onwards. I have therefore given up on my garden as it is so gloomy and depressing. I have tried some colourful plants (and watered them etc.) all that appears to grow are leafy plants making me feel even more fed up. I have spoken to the neighbour but he will not consider allowing me to take just a few feet off his laurel so that the sun can just peek through. Is there anything I can do to make the garden a little more cheerful? Any ideas would be appreciated.



There are lots of plants that like the morning sun, you could also try growing clematis up the border, a strong growing one like a montana will rapidly grow through your neighbours laural giving you (and him) colour. I planted a Fallopia which I'm told will rapidly grow through some of our trees in a season and give a glorious white flower august/ september/ october. Nicotina will flourish there and gives off lovely scent in the evenings. I've planted hosta, acer and hydrangia (misspelling me thinks) in a shady part of the garden. Lilies in pots may be woth a try, then after them winter bedding such as primroses underplanted with spring bulbs. You could search shade loving plants or morning sun loving plants. As long as watering isn't a problem lots will grow in dry shade.

14 Apr, 2012


There are many plants that will grow in deepish shade [I have a mature beech tree and a beech hedge courtesy of the neighbours, that plunge the garden into shade for most of the day.
Consider plants that have white/cream/pale pink flowers as they 'lift' the light. Hellebores, Dicentra spectabilis both pink and white forms, Doroconium a yellow daisy, Epimediums[spring], many hardy geraniums from white to blue to pink [from late sspring until the frosts], japanese anenomes white-pinks[late summer].
Dont discount ferns just because they are green [lots of different shades] as they have shape too. Have a look at some of the pictures in my garden, in particulat those tagged to shed bed/border and beech bed. I too was despondent when I realised how little sun the garden got but I have some wonderful flowers.

and welcome to GoY

14 Apr, 2012


That is a really unfortunate situation, Jangor. Under the law as it stands, I think, YOU are not allowed to cut his trees/hedge without his permission, except to cut away anything that grows over into your space, and return it to him, but your neighbour is being a right pain in the a***, and there must be some redress available to you. There is a website -
which, unfortunately, not living in the UK any more, I have difficulty accessing, but which just might spell out your rights. (nfh=neighbours from hell)I believe that not so long ago, legislation with regard to limiting the height of conifers was introduced, so I would have thought that laurels would be equally covered. It might be worth a look. Good luck. You shouldn't have to live with this.

14 Apr, 2012


Further to that last answer, I have come up with the following quote:-

High Hedges
A government Bill giving Local Authorities the power to control evergreen or semi-evergreen hedge heights seems set to become law. A residential occupier can complain to his Local Authority if :

1. A hedge is evergreen or semi-evergreen.
2. It is over 2m in height.
3. It is "unreasonably restricting " light to the property.

The Local Authority can issue a "remedial notice" on the owner eg to reduce its height. Failure to take action can result in a fine of up to £1000 and daily fines for so long as the failure continues.

Do not hold your breath! How strapped for cash are Local Authorities?

Have a look at the website

14 Apr, 2012


You could plant a selection of heucheras. They like shade and the leaves come in lots of different colours. check out and

14 Apr, 2012


Just to say thankyou for the replies I have received. They are all very helpful. I just wish people would give a little consideration to their neighbours when putting trees and shrubs in their own gardens. Many thanks.

17 Apr, 2012


I decided to follow through on the above and last week a member of the Council tree department called in. Unfortunately she advised that although she agreed the trees did cause considerable shade and the laurel had been allowed to grow disproportionately there was nothing she could recommend as apparently, although the laurel is huge, it is not accompanied by another evergreen. I pointed out that there were other trees and shrubs either side of the laurel which remained leafy throughout the Winter but this made no difference. I also mentioned the incursion of roots some 13' into my garden but she could not assist.

I have now discovered the owner of the property is moving and I am curious to know whether he should mention the disputes with neighbours concerning the issues with the trees on his property over the years. At present I am at a loss how to proceed next. Due to the roots I am unable to even plant any shrubs at the rear of the garden as they have spread extensively.

7 May, 2012


If you have made representation to this NFH about these trees, and have actually called in the Council tree department as a result of his refusal to comply with your request, I believe he is legally obliged to impart that knowledge to any prospective buyer, or face possible legal action. I am outraged at the council's inability to help you, but, frankly I suppose we shouldn't be very surprised. I'd be interested to hear their reasoning behind it.
Is there any way you can find out who the purchaser is? Mind you, I doubt you would want to squash any sale of the house, would you?
What an appalling situation. Do you know any journalists?

7 May, 2012


Thankyou for the information. The tree officer advised that there needed to be three evergreens in a row before the Council could contact the homeowner to discuss a reduction in height of the trees. Apparently only everygreens can be considered despite the fact that the other trees, on either side of the laurel, retain leaves throughout the Winter. She advised it would be best to contact the homeowner to ask for his cooperation. I have approached the homeowner and extremely politely suggested a reduction but unfortunately he feels it is his right (correctly) to let his trees grow to whatever height he wishes without any concern to his neighbours loss of light or garden amenities.

However there are a number of neighbours affected by his trees and we have written to him formally requesting his cooperation in the maintenance and reduction of the height of his trees and bushes. I am encouraged by your advice that it is probable he will need to declare this dispute. It is difficult to know whether the new owner would be willing to consider our complaints as they have purchased the property as it stands. We have forwarded a copy to the Council's Tree Officer.

8 May, 2012


It is a sad fact of life that there are such people in the world. I think you have done all you can within the law. All I can say to you now is that I wish you the very best of luck.
If the present owner HASN'T told his purchaser about the dispute, I am sure he could be taken to court: there was a recent case in the papers where the presence of a local trouble-maker (with an ASBO) wasn't disclosed to purchasers, and they took the vendors to court and were asking something in the order of £100,000 for non-disclosure and loss of value of the house.
I almost wish I were local to you - for a small consideration I'd be happy to come with a muffled chainsaw at around 2.00 a.m., they'd never trace me, and we've never met, so they couldn't link us! At this point I have to stress that I am, however unwillingly, joking. ;-))) Shame!

8 May, 2012


Thankyou, I love the idea of a nighttime chainsaw tree ghost! I feel much cheered.

9 May, 2012


It sounds as though you need all the cheering you can get, Jangor! I just hate such "horribility" and injustice, but for now I'll keep the disguise and the chainsaw in the cupboard!

9 May, 2012



15 May, 2012

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?