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Destruction in the flowerbeds (feeling sick)

(22 Posts)
theanxiousgardener Mon 24-Apr-17 17:09:53

I've spent the last decade nurturing my small town garden, learning along the way and finally feel that I'm getting it how I want it.
New neighbour moved in a couple of weeks ago and came over last night to announce that she intends to replace the fence between the two gardens within the next few weeks. This is a bit of a shock as I had always been under the impression it was our boundary (and the previous owner had never challenged this), but she says not and looking at her solicitor paperwork, it seems she is correct. It will involve my many climbing plants being pulled off, large holes being dug to extract old posts and erect new ones, with access apparently required on both sides for a good job, i.e. booted workmen in my beloved beds (which in a couple of weeks will be full to burst with delicate new growth)....
Even if they try to be careful, I feel physically sick at the thought of all this destruction. What make it worse for me is that I was ill for the first part of last year and am only now getting back on track with the garden (it had a fallow year last year).
I know there is nothing I can do as it's her fence, but the timing feels particularly cruel (much easier and less damaging to do in the autumn / winter). She freely admitted she had no interest in plants - just wants it to look tidy, all laid to patio and fake grass for footballing children, entertaining etc.
Help me see the bright side please! I could actually weep, the way I feel at the moment.

neonrainbow Mon 24-Apr-17 17:13:22

Refuse to allow access into your garden until autumn?

neonrainbow Mon 24-Apr-17 17:13:59

Also double check your own paperwork!

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Mon 24-Apr-17 17:15:02

Can't it wait until the Autumn?

P1nkP0ppy Mon 24-Apr-17 17:17:25

Refuse access until late autumn; she's had all winter to do it.
I'd be very upset and angry op.

RollingRolling Mon 24-Apr-17 17:18:17

You don't have to let them in. I'd refuse.

DelphiniumBlue Mon 24-Apr-17 17:20:35

Firstly, check your own paperwork. Check with the Land Registry if you need to.
If it turns out that it is hers, then explain the plants will be ruined if you allow access now, so you'll agree to access after the summer. Explain the cost of replacing mature plants.
Hopefully she'll see reason. If not,come back here with your paperwork! You need to check the deeds and the Property Information forms.

Whitney168 Mon 24-Apr-17 17:20:56

Refuse access until late autumn; she's had all winter to do it.

Well no, given that the OP says she moved in 2 weeks ago, she hasn't.

OP, is the fence actually unsound? Have you actually just tried talking to her nicely, explaining the timing of plant growth (if she doesn't garden, she won't know) and asking if by any chance she could put it off until the autumn? Until you've done this, there doesn't seem much point in panicking.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Mon 24-Apr-17 17:21:59

Is she reasonable?
Talk to her, maybe offer some gardening. Help/advice later, and hope she reconsiders.

It's sad though, it seems a lot of people now just do not bother with gardens and go for the easiest and most destructive option.

Floralnomad Mon 24-Apr-17 17:24:25

Just tell her it will all have to be done from her side , if it is her fence in theory you shouldn't have things attached to it so you've got no leverage with that argument. We had fencing done last year and they actually made very little mess as they are after all experts it's not like someone doing a diy job .

Shortdarkandfeisty Mon 24-Apr-17 17:25:21

Check it is her boundary first

steppemum Mon 24-Apr-17 17:26:19

hmm, I would double check whose fence it is.

Also, ask her if she can wait till autumn.

Then tell her that you would expect her to make good the plants damaged, and suggest that at say 4 plants per square foot of flower beds, and those plants costing about £10 each to replace with decent sized specimens, (as the damaged ones were decent sized) it may be a lot cheaper for her to wait until autumn.

if she does go ahead, put in writing that you expect her to replace plants, and make a diagram and list of all the plants that are there, give her a copy of the list and diagram.

If she does go ahead, ask for some notice, then go out and buy some fleecing/plastic sheeting. For each plant gently gather it into an upright 'tube' (so gather its leaves upwards from the roots). gently wrap it with fleecing or sheeting or something. The key is to use something that is not a plant. Builders will trample plants, but will work around fixed objects. So it your rose bush becomes a fixed object covered in something like plastic, then it is much more likely to survive.

On more thing, if it is her fence, then legally/ technically you can't attach your plants to it, you should put a trellis in front and attach to that.

steppemum Mon 24-Apr-17 17:29:51

Actually Flora has a point, they can easily do a fence from her side. If anything of yours is on the fence, youhave to detach it anyway, so, detach, let it lie on your side while she does the fence, and then put in poles/trellis/climbing frames on your side for them to climb on.

Once you tell her how much the plants will cost to replace I am sure she will like the idea of doing it from her side.

Mermaidinthesea123 Mon 24-Apr-17 17:40:08

They do not need to set foot in your garden. I made my fencing guy do the entire fence without encroaching on the neighbour at all out of courtesy.

theanxiousgardener Mon 24-Apr-17 17:43:34

**Steppemum, wrapping the plants, that is a great and very practical idea for my prize specimens - thank you.
Unfortunately it does seem that she is correct about the boundary - our paperwork says nothing but hers clearly does refer to the boundaries in question. We were misinformed by the person we bought off, and never challenged by the previous owner next door. Clearly I'd never looked at next door'a deeds til she brought them over last night.
Could be worse I suppose, at least she's not demanding I pay for it - but at least then I'd have control over tradesmen and timing. And thank you to those who understand how precious a nurtured garden feels to its owner! Makes me feel I'm not off my rocker being so upset.

AlternativeTentacle Mon 24-Apr-17 17:47:41

I'd carefully pull off the plants on my side, and get one or two of those big garden bags or dustbins and cover my plants that I wanted to be saved. Then tell them not to go near those plants, and be there when it is done to make sure they don't.

Our next door neighbours removed a block wall just a few weeks back, I told the builders not to touch my black hellebores and so they put a bin over them, and used that to stash the mortar on whilst they built it.

The welsh poppies have already grown back after the trampling.

sunnyhills Mon 24-Apr-17 18:37:24

Gosh your reaction is completely understandable - I feel sick on your behalf .

Y Y to something physical - you can buy these pop up garden bags cheaply in shops ,though you might want something sturdier to protect rather than just mark .

YY to talking to neighbour ,maybe she could delay ?

What exactly is the paperwork you've been shown ? Title deeds with T marks ?

LanaDReye Mon 24-Apr-17 18:46:45

It's very sad, but if she's only just moved in she couldn't comment before. She wants a football area for her children so, assuming the boundary details are correct, you may wish to encourage her to build a high fence. Could you also ask that it's built entirely on her side (she sees the posts you get flat side). Also that you can choose the colour on your side. You could replant up against this fence?

CatchIt Mon 24-Apr-17 18:46:49

It doesn't have to be so bad. We had to replace a fence when it got damaged in a storm and our neighbours were very keen gardeners. We adjusted where the concrete for the posts went so as to not damage anything, also, all the work was done our side of the fence. There were no climbing plants though, as a pp suggests, get them up a trellis.

sunnyhills Mon 24-Apr-17 18:48:06

I don't suppose she could leave the fence as is and erect her new one right next to it ?

It's not worth making an enemy of a neighbour so I'm not recommending this as an argument , but thinking outloud I'm wondering if it's your fence ,put up by you or previous householder on your land . It's usually very hard to establish exactly where the boundary is .It would be hard to prove that your fence wasn't on your land wouldn't it ?

And my neighbours deeds say he has to maintain the northern boundaries of his plot ,but the deeds don't specify how ,they don't say that he has the right to put a fence up .

Sorry ,I'm not being helpful.Boundary disputes can take on a life of their own ,cause huge aggravation and cost thousands .

loveka Mon 24-Apr-17 19:41:10

Be clear with her that you won't allow the workers on your side. Otherwise they will trample on your plants.

As it's her fence, legally you are not allowed to attach anything to it without permission. If you pay half, you can attach things to it. So you need to discuss this with her. It might've better to go halves and be able to do what you want on your side. It is the ownership of the fence that is key, not the boundary. You can of course erect your own fence in front of hers.

I know this from bitter bitter experience.

If you look on the land registry website you will see the guide to fences and the law. It's really clear.

My beautiful border was completely destroyed by my next door neighbour, with 20 year old roses and clematis ruined. He laughed in my face and told me they were only plants.

We now have a bare wall as he won't allow us to attach any plants. I can't put a fence up my side as the garden is tiny and this would make it even smaller.

We are moving because I can't live next door to someone who would do this and find it funny. Cost- £17,000 In moving costs.

arbrighton Mon 24-Apr-17 20:59:55

I've had several perennials dug up carefully to move and left for a few days due to poor weather/ third trimester tiredness. The vast majority have been fine plopped in any old pot/ tray and kept watered.

But agree, you don't have to agree to them stomping across your land. But you will need to carefully disentangle your climbers and perhaps consider moving those

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