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Feeling intimidated in own garden

(68 Posts)
orangepudding Mon 24-Jun-13 12:53:54

My mum had lived in her house for almost 30 years. For about 25 of those years she has been growing a tree in her garden. It's probably about 2 storeys high.
Recently new neighbours moved in. They do not like the tree. Almost every weekend they have visitors and when they hear my mum open her back door they go into their own back garden and discuss the trees size and how it impacts on the extension they have built - it blocks some light and they don't have a clear view onto the path behind the house.
My mum feels intimidated by this. AIBU to think they should put up with it as the tree was there before they bought the house and built their extensions and they certainly shouldn't make my mum feel intimidated in her own garden?

Tydna Thu 27-Jun-13 19:27:42

Complain to them, ingenuously, that you are finding communication with your mum difficult since she became deaf. Inform them that she is stubborn and won't wear her hearing aid. wink
Hopefully they will realise that they have been wasting their time hurling comments over the garden wall.
I hope she learns to ignore their bullying.

Beaverfeaver Wed 26-Jun-13 22:09:43

Maybe they should have thought about the tree before building an extension.

If its that big the extension boundary would have to be far away from it anyway so not to affect roots and subsidence.

If its too close its their fault.

Trees should not be cut down.

Big trees are wonderful things.

charitygirl Wed 26-Jun-13 22:06:51

Good post Fellatio.

Why on earth did they buy the house if they felt so strongly about this tree? Some people!

LandaMc Wed 26-Jun-13 13:01:58

Your poor mum. These people are obviously bullies. Asbothers have said your mum is totally in the right and shouldn't change tree. I like the idea of getting a tree presvation order (though might be worth checking that neighbours aren't asked for comment!)

Sadly being in the right isn't much comfort to your mum. She has two options: ignore their behaviour and hope they eventually get bored of it, or someone confronts them over it - you? The end result you want is better behaviour from them so any confrontation would need to be manipulative rather than righteous, however righteous you may feel! Eg trying to guilt trip them by saying mother's health is poor and she's feeling harrassed and saying that she's probably misunderstood soething she overheard but for the sake of her health perhaps they could not talk about the tree when she's in the garden as it's like a child to her (try not to vomit while sucking up!). Some bullies back down when confronted, but it's also possible that they'd scent victory and just start behaving even worse.

Bottom line is probably that she has ar**holes next door and can't change that...

LandaMc Wed 26-Jun-13 12:55:50

Your poor mum. These people are obviously bullies. Asbothers have said your mum is totally in the right and shouldn't change tree. I like the idea of getting a tree presvation order (though might be worth checking that neighbours aren't asked for comment!)

Sadly being in the right isn't much comfort to your mum. She has two options: ignore their behaviour and hope they eventually get bored of it, or someone confronts them over it - you? The end result you want is better behaviour from them so any confrontation would need to be manipulative rather than righteous, however righteous you may feel! Eg trying to guilt trip them by saying mother's health is poor and she's feeling harrassed and saying that she's probably misunderstood soething she overheard but for the sake of her health perhaps they could not talk about the tree when she's in the garden as it's like a child to her (try not to vomit while sucking up!). Some bullies back down when confronted, but it's also possible that they'd scent victory and just start behaving even worse.

Bottom line is probably that she has ar**holes next door and can't change that...

quoteunquote Wed 26-Jun-13 12:45:15

www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/index.php

read up on tree law on this site, and ask questions to the experts,

They are bulling, tell her to plant more,

If they want to be tree free, suggest the sahara desert for their next move.

DeWe Wed 26-Jun-13 11:23:07

We lived in a house with a huge oak tree in our tiny garden. The oak predated the estate and had a preservation order on it.

The neighbours offered half to get it trimmed.
When the tree preservation chap came round, I tentitively asked about it being removed-it was 2m from the house and double the height of the house. The chap said it should never have been left to grow so close to the house but, the situation was that if the tree was removed the roots would then shrink and would be at risk of causing subsidence to our houses. So we back tracked on that idea grin

We had it cut to the maximum the preservation order would allow and I never realised how much difference it made. It was lovely! We had light in the garden, not as much tree bits all over the garden (we used to get 12+ bag loads of leaves and debris each autumn from the tree alone). Both us and the neighbours were very happy.

It was a beautiful tree, a fine example, but a genuine case of not in my back yard! I wished we could have transplanted it in a park because it would have been lovely there.

PeterParkerSays Wed 26-Jun-13 10:56:35

Sorry, but this would really get my back up. Could you take a wander down your mum's garden next time you're there, and shout back to her in the house "so where are you going to have the 3 new conifers then?" just to spite the fuckers.

If the neighbours comment, say "well mum loves the one she has, because it affords her so much privacy, so she's looking at getting a few more along this fence. Or would just the one be enough do you think?" [glare]

pianodoodle Wed 26-Jun-13 10:39:16

It's probably just me but people being rude when they don't need to be automatically gets my back up whether they are "right" or not.

I'd be as stubborn as a mule under your mum's circumstances for that reason alone.

middleagedspread Wed 26-Jun-13 07:15:39

I've read this thread & can't see, what type of tree is it?

I can see both points of view, it's a tricky one.

We've recently had an enormous Yew pollarded. It was blocking a lot of light in the garden but we didn't want to have it felled. It's now a lovely shape & we have much more light.
Could you have a tree surgeon come & make an assessment, with the agreement that any thinning will be at the neighbours expense?

Altinkum Wed 26-Jun-13 07:09:48

Yanbu.

They have no right to light, only in very extreme circumstances will a tree be felled due to "right for right".

Yes he proberly will get some zapp of the trees however a quick jet wash and all will be gone.

He brought a house knowing the circumstances.

TheRealFellatio Wed 26-Jun-13 06:36:17

This is a tricky one. I feel torn about my answer and this is why: (long, sorry)

I bought a house that had loads of massive trees at the bottom of the garden. They were at least 50-60 years old or more, they pre-dated my house, but were incorporated into my plot iyswim, and they most certainly predated the new housing development had been built at the opposite side of my garden about ten years before I moved in.

Those houses all had gardens that were constantly in the shadow of the trees, which had had TPOs placed on them before the houses were built. The residents were constantly ganging up and petitioning me (and the previous owner) to pollard them severely every two years at my own expense. hmm They gave all sorts of reasons about roots, safety, falling branches etc, but the bottom line was they just wanted sunnier gardens, without any falling leaves, and to be honest I couldn't blame them - so would I! They all had typically small, new build postage stamp gardens, whereas my garden was massive so the trees at the end did not bother me.

The previous owner had warned me that this would be an issue, so when they all came mob-handed a couple of months after I moved in, I took legal advice and told them that as I had the appropriate insurance and I understood that I had a duty to check the trees periodically to make sure they were not about to fall over, I was quite comfortable with the potential 'risk' and my position re: liability.

As far as their rights to have more sun in their gardens went, well they had none. The trees were already extremely mature when the houses were built - no-one would have viewed those building plots and not understood what they were buying into.

I said that I was happy to have the trees pollarded by a qualified surgeon of my choice every three years or so, but that they must club together to pay for it all, I would not pay a penny, as it benefitted me not a jot, and I had no obligation to them whatsoever. They agreed to this. All good. To be honest I think they already knew all this from the previous owner, but they were hoping as I was new I would be uninformed, and be a soft touch. Wrong.

However, I must say that nothing annoys me more than people who plant potentially large trees in inappropriately small gardens, or in inappropriate positions that will one day impact negatively on a neighbouring property. (not the case with my trees as it had been fields/woods before the houses existed.)

Not talking specifically about your mother here, but hypothetically/generally:

It is selfish and short-sighted to do this. If you have a biggish garden and you choose to plant a tree on or near the boundary in a place that will have more of a negative impact on your neighbour than it has on you, then that is just rude imho. and even worse if you've chosen a tree that will ultimately be too big for your garden, especially if you've put it near a boundary.

When I lived in a semi my NDN once planted a lilac tree slap bang down the (invisible) unfenced boundary between our two houses, about five feet from both our front windows. Luckily we both moved before it became large, but if I had wanted to stay then within about 10-15 years I would not have been able to see out of my own front window. hmm

The roots can suck all the life and the moisture out of the soil making it impossible for them to cultivate any plants of their own, they greatly reduce the life/effectiveness of boundary fences or walls, and they get under the house or shed and cause problems etc. The neighbours have to live in a shadow not of their choosing but of yours, and they constantly have to pick up leaves that don't belong to them. They are entitled to prune off any overhanging branches but then they risk looking at a lopsided awful looking specimen, and you end up sulking with them for wrecking your tree. confused Of course if you got a TPO on it you can prevent them from even doing that very regularly or easily.

As to the question of 'rights' and 'fairness' and the fact that the tree was there before they moved in - well yes I see that point - sort of. But the tree was presumably not there before either house was built, and did not have a TPO on it preventing removal once it clearly became a poorly positioned pain in the neck. (if indeed it is.)

I am not going to say YABU, because obviously I don't know the exact size and positioning of the houses/gardens involved, or the positioning of the tree in relation to the neighbour's boundary, but if they can hear your mother coming into her garden and she can hear them talking about it, then I am going to assume we are talking about smallish gardens and an annoyingly large tree. If it is genuinely not impacting on them at all, and they just don't like looking at it, then I'd say YANBU and they can get stuffed.

But if it is impacting on them negatively in a way that it tangible and understandable, then I'd say perhaps they have a point. If your mother planted an ill-judged choice of tree, or perhaps a great tree but in an ill-judged position, then whilst she doesn't have to do anything about it, it would be nice if she would consider it.

But conifers don't respond well to pruning = it would look awful. It would probably have to be removal or nothing. Maybe she could agree if they paid for it.

(only if there is a case for her being at fault and them being genuinely inconvenienced though.)

MyBaby1day Wed 26-Jun-13 03:18:11

LifeOfPro grin

Oldraver Mon 24-Jun-13 19:13:21

If they want your Mum to cut the tree down then they certainly are going the wrong way about it, bullying behaviour will get them nowhere.

Though, do they have a case for it being trimmed ? My (new) next door neighbours have a tree that is 30 foot from the house and twice as high as the roof (bungalow height). Its never been trimmed in all the years we have lived here and now cuts out all light from about 2-3pm. We will have our own tree pollarded late this year and I hope they would do the same. I'm not too sure if I would ask them to do it though.

TSSDNCOP Mon 24-Jun-13 19:03:36

Po grin

OP tell DM to aim big with her plans!

cantdoalgebra Mon 24-Jun-13 18:51:08

I have a theory that there are some people who just don't like anything growing over about four or five feet high. My local self styled tree/hedge police complain about the hedge on one side of my property, even though it does not back onto any other garden or building, and is not overlooked by anyone. It is, however, six feet high.... I am repeatedly asked when I am going to tidy/cut it....... for when I have visitors .....! My blood pressure suffers accordingly.

TimeofChange Mon 24-Jun-13 18:35:35

Wind chimes can be annoying.
Buy some for your Mum.

OP: How old is your Mum?

charitygirl Mon 24-Jun-13 18:02:52

There are some conifers that I would be deeply unhappy to have growing next door, but as you say, they viewed it like that!

JustinBsMum Mon 24-Jun-13 17:58:33

They sound unreasonable if the tree isn't overhanging.

Buy your mum a tinkling fountain/waterfall/pond arrangement. They are recommended for gardens as they can cancel out traffic noise but I bet they can also cancel out voices! smile

You need some Cunting Bunting.

currywurst3 Mon 24-Jun-13 15:27:06

Get some stink bombs and download an mp3 of fart noises. They'll soon go back inside.

Branleuse Mon 24-Jun-13 14:48:10

ask them to stop making loud obvious passive aggressive comments in the garden and upsetting your mum. The tree was there before they were and she likes it.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 24-Jun-13 14:46:50

next time you ae there.. and the neighbourrs complin. compliment your mother on the leylandii splings she has bought nd sy tht they will grow veryr fast and she can block out the noise of complaining neighbours... grin

cantspel Mon 24-Jun-13 14:40:48

i live surrounded by trees. There are oaks all down one side of my house and next door has a huge scotch pine and the roots are no problem.

i removed a huge connifer as i was worried about the roots. Connifers have a shallow root system rather than a tap root and can cause problems with your drains and drainage. The roots will follow the water and grow in soakaways and drainage pipes and even soil pipes. Not a risk i was willing to take.

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