How close to the property line can i plant a tree

Trees and Property Lines: 8 Things All Neighbors Should Know

Leafy Conflicts


The most admired and sought-after natural specimens in the landscape, trees do more than provide soothing summer shade—they enhance curb appeal and increase the property's value if they're cared for. However, trees that grow on or near property lines can cause ongoing disagreement between neighbors, and in some cases, can lead to unneighborly feuds and lawsuits.

Related: 6 Fast-Growing Shade Trees



A tree near a property line belongs to the neighbor who owns the ground where it's growing. This is true even if the other neighbor planted the tree, so it's a good idea to have the property surveyed to determine the exact boundary line before planting border trees. Don't assume the boundary line lies where you stop mowing—it might be a few feet in either direction.

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Boundary Trees


When a tree's trunk lies directly on the boundary line between properties, the tree is known as a boundary tree and is assumed as owned by both neighbors. In the case of boundary trees, both neighbors benefit by agreeing on how to care for the tree and share the trimming and care expenses. Both neighbors must consent to the tree's removal, and both hold legal responsibility for its care.


Bickering Over Branches


When branches from a neighbor's tree extend over the boundary line, the property owner has a right to trim the branches back—but only to the boundary line and no farther. Also, the trimming and pruning must not be so extensive that they kill the tree. If overpruning leads to a tree’s demise, the heavy-cutting property owner could be legally liable for replacing the tree, which, in some cases, can run thousands of dollars.

Related: How to Prune a Tree

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Encroachment Issues


Spreading roots of large trees can push down fences and cause curbs and sidewalks to heave and crack. When wandering tree roots damage a neighbor's property, financial liability for the damage falls on the tree's owner. A court—or in some cases, the local planning and zoning authority—might order the tree's owner to pay to remove the tree.

Fruit Rights


Although one neighbor can reasonably trim a branch that extends over a property line, if that branch bears fruit, the fruit belongs to the tree's owner—no picking without permission. However, the law is less clear about fruit that falls to the ground, so check with local authorities to see whether you can gather apples or pears that fall on your side.

Related: 8 Disease-Resistant Apple Tree Varieties


Fallen Leaves


Fallen leaves from large deciduous trees can blanket a yard in autumn, but a tree's owner is not responsible for clearing fallen leaves from a neighbor's yard. The law typically considers leaves a "natural product," and as such, each property owner is obliged to remove the leaves from their own yard. However, a thoughtful tree owner might offer to rake the leaves that fall in a neighbor's yard.

Limb Legalities


Healthy, well-maintained trees are less likely to break, and if a storm sends a limb from your tree through a neighbor's roof, you might not be liable if you can show that the tree was healthy when the limb broke. Courts (and insurance policies) might deem the damage an "Act of God." If, however, the tree was in bad shape and you failed to fix it, you might have to pay to repair the neighbor's property.

Scenic Squabbles


In many communities, you're just out of luck if the neighbor's tall trees keep you from enjoying the sunset. Still, a few communities have view ordinances that acknowledge a scenic view increases property value, and if a neighbor's trees block that view, you might have the right to have the trees removed.

Related: Why It Matters Whether Your Home Faces North, South, East, or West

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How Close to the Property Line Can You Plant a Tree and Hedges? – BackYardWay

Good neighbors’ relations can get easily tainted over an issue regarding the property line and the fences or trees planted alongside it. It feels like there is always a grey area left for individual interpretation when it comes to the proximity of plants and fences to the border between two properties.

Trees and hedges can be planted close to or on the property line if your neighbor agrees with it. However, if you don’t have their consent, you must plant the trees or hedges away from the border, in such a way that the plants don’t interrupt nor endanger your neighbor in any way.

Different countries have different legislation regulating this matter, so you might want to check those before you decide to plant something on your property. Although, there are some universal guidelines you can follow, which are thoroughly explained in this article.


How Close to the Property Line Can You Plant a Tree?

If you have decided to enrich your backyard by planting a tree, the location where you wish to plant it needs to be determined strategically. Sometimes, people are worried about whether or not their tree, or that of their neighbor, is too close to their fence.

Tree branches that are hanging over your fence from your neighbor’s yard can be really annoying, especially if the trees are growing uncontrollably and are not being taken care of. When you plant a tree, you need to take responsibility for it and cut the branches on time.

When deciding where to plant your tree, be mindful of your surroundings. Always check if it is going to interfere with the neighboring area in any way. Although it will take several years for the tree to be fully grown, consider whether or not it is going to block the sun for your neighbor.

If the tree is likely to block the sun from your neighbor or you, you need to reconsider its location. Unfortunately, narrow parcels make it hard to plant a tree away from a fence.

Although many people believe the easiest way is to consult with the law, Canada and the U.S. are not actually regulating this matter via official channels. The only thing stated by the government is that you have to act as a good neighbor.

The definition of a good neighbor is left open to everyone’s interpretation, so you cannot rely on the law to protect you if your neighbor has something against the position of your newly planted tree.

On the other hand, in countries like the UK, this issue is covered by a law that clearly states which shared responsibilities people have if the plant is on or close to the property line.


Trees are beautiful, provide us and the wildlife with shade, and protect us against the harsh sun and rain. But just like humans, trees grow old and die. When your tree starts to show signs of decay, it may be time to remove it as it can cause you personal harm and property damage. The question is, can you remove a tree from your backyard? Read our article to find out. 


Planting the Tree on the Property Line

If you and your neighbor don’t have a fence on the border between your two properties, you are not allowed to plant the tree right on the property line. The only case that would allow you to do so is if you have consent from your neighbor.

If you don’t possess such a written attestation, planting a tree on the property line would be considered trespassing, since the tree will eventually grow on both sides of the line.

You must be ready to bear the consequences if you decide to neglect this advice and plant the tree on the property line anyway. In such a case, your neighbor has the right to sue you and demand the tree’s removal.

The cost for the removal will fully fall to you since you were the one who unilaterally decided to plant the tree there in the first place. Bear in mind that different local authorities have different regulations for this kind of situation, so make sure to check yours before proceeding.

However, if you and your neighbor bought properties with already existing trees on the property line, then the cost of the removal should be split between you two. In any other case, the side who made the “damages” bears the costs on its own.

If you both decide to keep the tree, then you are both considered the owners of the tree, meaning you will share equal rights and obligations regarding it. If you decide to cut the tree but your neighbor disagrees, you are not allowed to cut it and have to come to an agreement.

If you make a sale or profit from the tree in any way, you are required to split the money with your neighbor. Also, keep in mind that you are only allowed to trim and cut the branches on your side of the property. You are not allowed to trim the tree on your neighbor’s side unless they agree with you doing so.


Can You Throw Your Neighbor’s Branches Back?

If your neighbor has a tree with branches that are crossing to your side of the fence, you have the right to cut the branches, under one condition — if the tree is not under government protection.

Indeed, certain trees and plants are protected since they are of great value for our nature and sustainability, so you need to get a permit to cut or trim those. If this is the case with your neighboring tree, make sure not to do anything without a permit, as taking action without a permit would be considered breaking the law, and you would probably bear some consequences. To avoid this, simply consult your neighbor and local authorities.

On the other hand, if you want to completely cut down the tree, you are not allowed to do so since the roots are not within your property lines. You are only allowed to trim the overlapping branches.


Can You Ask Your Neighbor to Cut Their Tree?

If the tree is interfering with your view, you find it very aesthetically unpleasing, or you are annoyed with the branches that are constantly overlapping onto your property, you have no right to ask your neighbor to cut the tree.

You can ask them politely, but they are not obliged to listen to your request and cut the tree, even if it is blocking your view. If the tree is not fundamentally dangerous to you, then you cannot do anything about it.

However, if the tree is casting shadows or if the roots are causing substantial damages to your property or pathways, you have the right to ask your neighbor to cut it down.

Local authorities will not interfere in this kind of conflict unless the tree is dangerous to the open public, e.g. if the tree is poisonous or is interfering with the visibility at an intersection or on public streets.

We advise you to try sorting everything out with your neighbor. A nice conversation can take you a long way. Including a third party in the conflict is not the best option. They might solve the issue and order your neighbor to cut their tree, but you will be left with bad relations with them.


If you want to improve the overall look and functionality of your garden or yard, you should consider landscaping. One thing that you should know about this process, though, is that it can be extremely pricy. Why is landscaping so expensive? Read our article to find out.


Can You Plant Hedges on the Property Line?

Hedges are a very popular alternative to trees when you are looking for an easy and appealing way to create a privacy boundary between your and your neighbor’s property. The biggest mistake people tend to make with hedges is to look at them as a fence.

Indeed, a hedge is not a fence but a living plant that grows and needs to be maintained over time. Meanwhile, a fence is a cheap solution you install and do not have to worry about it in the future.

On the other hand, a hedge tends to grow in height and width, so it needs to be properly maintained and pruned since it is a plant. Thinking of a hedge as a fence will lead you to make a big mistake, that of planting the hedge exactly on the property line.

The issue with this is the same as with planting a tree on the property line. The hedge will grow in width into your neighbor’s lot and cause problems if the neighbor hasn’t agreed with you planting the hedge in the first place.

To avoid this issue, the best solution is to plant the hedge a little bit further from your side of the property line. In this way, you should leave enough space to be able to go to the other side of the hedge and trim it down, so it doesn’t grow uncontrollably into your neighbor’s property.

However, if you and your neighbor both decide you would like to have a hedge, you can build it on the property line. In this case, make sure to sign a written agreement in which you state your rights and obligations, to avoid any conflict in the future.

The best idea is to make a deal on who will take on the cost of fertilization and prune the hedge, and agree on the style of the hedge, as all these are areas can generate conflicts in the future.

Your cost estimation may be different from that of your neighbor’s, in which case you may have a hard time agreeing on the amount you should spend (and split) on maintenance. That is why it is best to define this with a written agreement so that only one side is in charge of the costs.

This doesn’t mean that the other side gets away without paying nor taking care of the hedge, but rather that you will have to create a model where both sides have equal duties that can be compensated in different ways.

For example, you may be in charge of the costs of fertilization, but your neighbor may be in charge of the logistics, organizing the transport of fertilizer, and hiring workers to do the job if the hedge is too long for them to do it alone.

The most important thing about this agreement is that it can be bound to the property itself, meaning that if your neighbor moves tomorrow and someone new comes in, the obligations and rights will be transferred to the new owner. If they are not okay with the agreement, then it can be renegotiated accordingly.


What Is the Legal Height of a Neighbors’ Hedge?

A hedge is considered to be high if it is over 6 ½ ft. (2m) tall. In case you are facing an issue with the neighbor’s hedge that is over this height, most countries have procedures that allow you to make an official complaint.

The first step is always to talk to your neighbor and try to sort everything out. The last resort is talking to the authorities as issues like these are a very sensitive matter.

In general, you are allowed to trim down the hedge that is growing on your side of the boundary. However, if you overextend the course of your actions, and trim into the neighbor’s part of the hedge, you might end up in trouble as it is considered trespassing and destroying a neighbor’s property, so they are in their full right to take legal actions against you if they feel like it.

If you tried to solve this issue reasonably, try to hold a copy of every written conversation you had with your neighbor, so you can prove to the authorities that you have made some efforts to resolve the issue.

Once you file a complaint, you will also have to pay a fee, which can range between $200 and $500 depending on your location. The authorities will take your complaint and arrange an official conversation with you and your neighbor.

Although 6 ½ ft. is considered to be the cut-off point for the height of the hedge, it is not necessarily the height for the hedge to be reduced to. The final height will be decided after all the factors from the location are taken into consideration.

If your primary cause of complaint is the blockage of the natural light due to the extreme height of the hedge, the authorities will very likely give you a positive response and ask your neighbor to trim down the hedge.

However, the authorities will not guarantee you will have an uninterrupted source of light after the hedge is trimmed. Yes, your property will probably get more light, but it depends on many other factors, and not exclusively on the hedge’s height.

Also, if the hedge is located on a slope that is overbearing to your side, your complaint will likely stand on solid ground. People often tend to say that the hedge is blocking their view, hence why they want it removed.

Although logic can be found in this, it is rather unlikely that the authorities will consider it. If that is your only argument, it won’t count as enough reasons to justify the need for cutting down the hedge.


If you want to improve the overall appearance of your yard, you should consider landscaping. While this process typically costs a lot of money, there are some things that you can do to lessen your expenses. Read our article to find out how to cut down the cost of landscaping.


How Close to a Property Line Can You Build a Fence?

How close to the property line you can build a fence has been highly regulated throughout history. It is one of the oldest issues that has been regulated with law. Nowadays, countries and cities tend to have very different laws on this matter, so it is always best to check the regulations in your area before proceeding with anything.

Typically, fences are installed from 2 to 8 inches (8 to 20cm) away from the property lines. The fence also has a height limitation, usually around 6 feet (1.82m) for the sides and backyard, and 4 feet (1.21m) for front yard fences.

In the case you have discussed and agreed with your neighbor on building a fence directly on the property line, you may proceed with this option too. In this event, you can both agree on the style and share the cost involved with installing the fence.

None of you has the right to unilaterally decide to place the fence on the border before consulting the other party. If one side initiates the project, the other one is most likely entitled to pay for half of the costs.

In most countries and cities, like in Washington state, the law states that a shared fence installed on the property line belongs to both parties and that they are both obliged to share the costs related to the fence.

Also, keep in mind that some types of fences are not allowed to be installed, for instance, a barbed wire or electrified fence. Beyond that, you can experiment with anything you like and even build a concrete wall if you are feeling like it.

Also, building a 20-foot fence inside your property, away from the border, is considered a breach of law, so try to avoid doing this. Otherwise, your neighbor may easily file a complaint, and all the money invested in the fence would go to waste.

SNIP and norms for planting trees from the fence

The necessary information is provided in the current SNiP 30-02-97 "Planning and development of territories of gardening (country) associations of citizens, buildings and structures." However, gardening associations often operate according to their own charter, so you need to check with the administration for local rules, especially if you have just moved and are planning to install a fence, build, orchard or something else.

SNiP is mandatory, we advise you to follow it. If plants or hedges obscure an adjacent lot, neighbors have the right to sue. Most likely they will win the case.

Why do we need norms for planting trees from the fence

Let's start with the most pressing question: why calculate the distance of trees from the fence at all? Why were landing standards developed, embodied in a separate SNiP?

It's simple: firstly, trees are not always decorative low bonsai, often they are large fruit-forest species with lush crowns, sometimes they are tall pines. They have a powerful root system, branches can hang over the fence and end up on the territory of their neighbors. To maintain the integrity of the garden plot, planting rules were developed. Although the law in Russia is not precedent, there have been cases of litigation for crops that ended up on neighboring territory.

Secondly, overgrown trees can greatly spoil the harvest of neighbors: many vegetables, flowers and berries need sunlight, and an overly rich crown sometimes obscures half of a standard summer cottage of six acres.

Thirdly, the root system feeds on the resources of the soil where the garden is planted. And because of them, it becomes difficult to carry out earthworks.

At what distance to plant trees from the fence

In planting norms, SNiP relies on the height of the tree.

  • Tall people must stay 4 meters or more from the fence.
  • Medium height - at least 2 m.
  • Low and shrub - 1 m from the neighbor's fence.

The rule book does not specify which plants are considered high, medium, low, which creates difficulties during litigation. A neighbor planted birch trees, the height of which can reach 30 meters - are they considered tall? SNiP does not answer this question, lawyers refer to Article 67 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation “Evaluation of Evidence”. In other words, each dispute is resolved separately, the court will evaluate the evidence in the aggregate and figure out which of them is more significant.

Consider how much the crown shade the yard. If the tree is just above the boundary fence, you don’t have to worry too much.

Distances from trees to buildings and other communications

Mighty roots, growing, destroy the foundation, brickwork, cut asphalt, destroy paths, power poles, pools. They can harm underground communications, break the pipeline.

Therefore, it is important to observe not only the distance of the trees from the fence, but also their location relative to the buildings.

For example:

  • the distance from a tall birch tree to a permanent building (cottage, for example) must be at least 5 meters,
  • to an outbuilding (barn, livestock buildings) - at least a meter,
  • to a garden path - 1 , 5 m or more,
  • to communications - from 2 m. But remember: non-compliance with SNiP can lead to the fact that some garden work will have to be done again, spending time and money on this. Which could go for something else - for example, to install a new beautiful fence.

    Features of installing fences in TSN

    At the same time, we recall the rules for erecting fences in gardening partnerships, because the law is especially strict with them. Fortunately, these rules are simple and few of them.

    • It is necessary to fence off neighbors with a transparent fence up to 1.5 m. Chain-link mesh, 3D mesh are ideal, picket fence, polycarbonate can be used.
    • The street can be fenced off with a high solid fence - for example, with a solid corrugated board. Height can also be any.
    • If you plan to decorate between creepers, remember the main rule: the fence should not create a shadow.
    • Local authorities may amend the set of rules, statutes sometimes differ from SNT to SNT. Check with the administration!

    What distances still need to be taken into account

    And finally, let's talk about how to arrange various buildings on the site so as not to violate the rules.

    Place an outdoor country toilet at a distance of 15 m from the house and 8 m from a well, sauna, shower, from a neighbor's fence - at a distance of at least 1 m.

    Locate a barn, pigsty, poultry house, greenhouse at least 4 m from the neighboring fence.

    Garage, shed, sauna, summer kitchen - at a distance of one meter from the fence.

    The distance from the house to the fence that separates the yard from the street must be at least 5 meters.

    Building regulations in the private urban sector are not so strict because the land is not intended for agricultural use. However, high vegetation and fences, proximity to outdoor toilets and a chicken coop can interfere with neighbors. We recommend discussing serious construction and economic decisions with them - this will help to avoid courts, quarrels, scandals and other unpleasant situations.

    We recommend documenting any decisions, even if relations with neighbors are currently idyllic. The owner may change, and with it the attitude to a rapidly growing garden, a deaf fence, or currant bushes planted along the hedge will change. Documentation means a certified receipt.

    We hope our article answered your question, how many meters from the fence you can plant trees.

    Distance to trees from the fence: planting norms7 the distance to the trees from the fence, since the roots can cause damage to communications, branches - conflicts with neighbors. You will find detailed requirements for building a site according to the law here: “How far can a house be built from the fence of neighbors.

    In this article, we will consider in detail all aspects of planting in the backyard.

    Users often search:

    • What trees to plant along the fence
    • Fence height between neighboring plots

    What SNiP requirements should be followed

    Choosing a place in the garden for plants and following the rules for planting trees and shrubs is more of a recommendation than a hard line of the law, since each land plot has its own relief features and area.

    However, it is worth trying to adhere to them for several reasons:

    1. The fast-growing root system of large rocks can destroy the foundations of buildings, garden paths, small buildings (arbors, bathhouses). We recommend that you read: "The distance from the fence to the bath."
    2. High crowns create a permanent shadow, which is dangerous for a wooden fence. Since the likelihood of developing a fungus, rotting material increases.
    3. There should be no trees near underground utility lines. Even the roots of shrubs can damage a telephone cable, water supply or gas pipe.
    4. The dissatisfaction of the neighbors will be provoked by excessive shading of the site. Another option is that fruits, leaves from your trees fall on their estate.

    It is strictly forbidden to plant tall plants near power lines. In severe frosts or with a squally wind, the branches can break the wires and de-energize the entire area of ​​​​the city, village, or cause a fire.

    When calculating the distance from the trees to the fence, buildings, only the distance from the central part of the trunk is taken into account. Therefore, any claims of neighbors for a larger branch are appropriate if the plant is located closer than indicated in the norms.

    There are no differences between the requirements for landing in the private sector, if the territory is under individual housing construction (individual housing construction) or belongs to a housing cooperative (housing construction cooperative).

    Let's consider the main regulations depending on the location.

    Between buildings (house, gazebo, garage)

    The distance between trees and the outer walls of a residential building, garage, gazebo is at least 5 m. The calculation is based on the post. If plants want to be planted to protect from the scorching sun, preference should be given to species with a well-branched crown or shrubs. When choosing the latter, the distance to the house is reduced to 1.5 m.

    In addition, there are requirements regarding the placement of plantings near the base of retaining walls. The distance from the tree trunk is 3 m, the bush is 1 m.

    The distance to the edge of the garden paths is reduced to 0.7 m. Therefore, before landing, it is better to check all the details with the competent authorities.

    Up to the neighbor's fence

    These norms directly depend on the height of the future plant. Among them:

    1. Trees with a trunk over 15 m (birch, oak, maple, pine) are planted at a distance of at least 4 m.
    2. Fruit specimens (cherries, plums, pears, apricots) with a trunk up to 10 m are medium-sized. These trees can be planted 2 meters from the fence of neighbors.
    3. Bushes, dwarf fruit trees (viburnum, cherry) are considered undersized. They can be placed at a distance of 1 m.

    But in addition to legislative recommendations, it is worth considering the relationship with neighbors. Hanging branches, falling fruit, leaves or breaking the integrity of the fence will lead to disagreements. Therefore, in order to avoid such a situation, it is better to plant plants regardless of height in the range of 3 m.

    Recommended reading: "How far from the fence to build a garage."

    Before the carriageway

    The requirements for observing the remoteness of planting are due to the following reasons:

    • the root system can damage the integrity of the road surface;
    • overgrown branches cover part of the route and reduce visibility;
    • close placement to the road in the wrong place will complicate the access of vehicles.

    Therefore, trees are planted to the roadway at a distance of 2 m, bushes - from 1 m.

    On the border of different plots

    If you want to create an additional green fence from your neighbors in this way, you must first ask their consent. Unauthorized landing will lead to conflicts or litigation. In addition, tree branches hanging over a neighbor's plot can be removed by him without your consent.

    Therefore, the norms of SNiP recommend planting perennial plants at a distance of 3–5 m from the border. The exact figure depends on the overgrown crown.

    Between plantings

    A key factor in the long life of a planted plant is the presence of sufficient space for full growth and development.

    In order not to calculate this distance for each species, one should use the universal distance between plants. It is 5 m.

    If the estate of the private sector is small, then you should try to save on space: leave the generally accepted recommendation for tall trees, and plant shrubs a meter apart. Shade-tolerant specimens should be placed at a distance of 2-3 m between each subsequent unit.

    Near communications

    The following standards apply:

    • distance from gas, heat, water supply, sewerage for planting trees - from 2 m, shrubs - 1 m;
    • distance from underground power or communication cable for perennial plants - 2 m, bushes - 0.7 m;
    • distance to the power line pole - 1.5 m (applies to all types of plants).

    In addition, when arranging a dacha, it is worth considering tree species. If you are going to grow ash, beech, acacia on the site, then there should be nothing within a radius of 4 m from them. This is due to the developed root system.

    The right place, compatibility of plantings

    The estate looks spectacular, where there is cypress, birch, arborvitae. The latter breed is especially popular among residents of the private sector. It is planted near a fence or street side.

    In addition to legal requirements, it is important to follow the recommendations for the correct planting of seedlings:

    1. Fruit trees are placed at a distance of 3 m from each other.

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