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Hedges, property boundaries and next-door neighbours

A hedge can be a beautiful way to define the boundaries of your property and provide a stunning backdrop for your garden. There are many choices of plant material, depending on the level of privacy you desire and the look you want year-round, from evergreens like cedar, yew and boxwood to perennial grasses and flowering shrubs – the possibilities are endless.

As with fence installation, proper placement of a hedge, tree or other living garden feature is essential, so be sure to check your property’s survey plan first – you don’t want to start digging and planting on someone else’s land!

While a fence ideally goes on the property line (allowing both neighbours to share ownership and the cost and maintenance), a hedge is different (as are trees).

As hedges grow in width over time, if you plant one on the boundary it will end up encroaching significantly on your neighbour’s property in time, which can cause issues either with the existing neighbour or future ones.

What makes hedge (and tree) issues so stressful is that you can’t just replace them if a neighbour cuts it down or accidentally kills it (over-pruning). You might have grown and tended that hedge for 20 years!

So if you want to be absolutely confident that nothing ever happens to the hedge, make sure it’s completely on your property and plan to have it stay that way over years of future growth. And make certain that your neighbour (and future neighbours) know that it’s on your property.

Before you plant the hedge, get a survey plan or, better, a boundary stakeout, so you know with 100% certainty that you’re planting it where you want it and you’re able to maximize the use of the rest of your property.

Note that trees and hedges in Toronto do have additional protection…if you unilaterally cut down a tree that is fully on your property, except for a small portion of the root flare, your neighbour still can claim rights to the tree and land you in hot water. Learn more about private property trees in Toronto.

If you have any questions, you can Talk to a Surveyor or ask us in a comment to this post. Happy planting!