a neighbour cut my trees...

this is a bit of an odd one and am just looking for advice and opinions. I am taking it no further but interested in views of others.

I arrived home from work on Friday evening to find 3 landscapers outside my house clearing up cuttings. I thought they were from the council cutting road trees down and stopped to chat with them. It turns out that they had been in doing garden work for my neighbour and she told them to go into our back garden and cut 2 hedges in our garden. they came over the wall and took about 5 foot off of a 12/13 foot hedge and opened our unlocked side gate and left that way.

I called into the neighbour and expressed my shock and anger that she would do something like that. She claimed she got permission from us during the summer (when we had a very general chat while both out gardening about both of us wanting to trim some hedges in each of our gardens but that was in august and no arrangements were made or even talked about). THe hedges block light from my garden not from her’s so no issue there. Anyway, I also rang the landscapers and their position was that they do this all the time and they have to take their clients word for it. he wasn’t apologetic and told me to take it the legal route if i felt like it, he’d been through this before.

I am really angry about the approach of both the neighbour and the landscaper but my gut says let it go. anyone hold a different view or have similar experiences?

This comes to mind:
irishtimes.com/news/crime-an … -1.2626373

Although that was very much an extreme case.

What is your grievance essentially? Will you suffer a loss of privacy as a result of the hedge only being 7-8 ft high now? I mean, if it was blocking light into your property then I assume that it served a purpose to you, or else you would presumably have cut it yourself.

Obviously it’s surprising/shocking that the neighbour would do this, but if it has no lasting impact then there’s probably very little you can do.

So the landscapers clearly did the cutting, and the neighbour instructed them to do so.
The neighbour has no evidence that they got your permission to do this.

So I’d expect that you could take action.

However, you can only really take action to the extent you’ve been damaged/harmed (like say the cutting was very badly done, and killed the hedge, you could look for the costs of reinstating the hedge, which would be quantifiable).

Since you’ve no clear basis for calculating damages (by your own admission/estimation) however, it’s hard to see what basis you’d have to take this any further by a legal route. It’s also apparently the case that both landscaper and neighbour may well have acted in good faith on the basis of a misunderstanding.

I don’t see that there’s much to do except rationalise this to yourself until you’re not annoyed anymore and being clearer in communication with that neighbour (not being smart, but it seems that the real issue is the feeling of affront/invasion that they cut your hedges without your permission, which is real, but probably the neighbour did it with no hostility)

The landscapers default should always be ‘Give me the neighbour’s telephone number’.

a few things only:

  1. the principle that she would give such instruction and that they would enter property unlawfully.
  2. Insurance: theoretical obviously, but had they injured themselves on my property was i going to end up with costs defending myself?
  3. Privacy: the corner of the garden that gets early morning sun is where we have our coffee. now it’s overlooked and will be for 2 years
  4. Mostly though, the hedge was the buggering height i liked it. I trimmed it myself in late september to a level we wanted. not 5 foot lower. they also took depth off of it which i did not want. looks like a bald poodle. i don’t need friendly neighbours doing my gardening for me. grrr
  5. the feeling of having you property ‘invaded’ is not nice and my other half is less comfortable - it’ll pass i know. obviously this is massively on the lower end of any such scale of “invaded” but it’s still on the scale. we don’t know these three lads and have no trust relationship with them.

they’re our grievances. as i said, we don’t intend taking it further just seeking opinions - i don’t presume to know the right thing to do in all situations and we don’t have a huge range of unbiased people we can run it by.

agreed, we were very clear with both the neighbour and the landscapers that this was never to happen again. and I also agree that there was no malice involved on their part and i made that point to both of them… while expressing my anger anyway!

My regular gardener overcut my favourite willow tree with his hedge cutters. It now has a fringe from hell and looks like the Jim Carrey character out of Dumb and Dumber.

I was really pissed off but in fairness he was operating under my (admittedly loose) directions to “tidy things up a bit”. :laughing:

I can only imagine how you’re feeling after having this done without your consent.

It will grow back, try and avoid going totally apeshit or else you’ll ruin the relationship with your neighbour. Just implore them to ask next time and make sure you can be on-site to supervise.

Build a wall and make them pay for it. :laughing:

It is not worth taking legal action. Also, you had some sort of a conversation so it may just be a misunderstanding which is common. No Judge will award you your legal costs based on the above facts, even if you won a case. Damages for trespass are nominal - I would not expect you to get more than €100.

What you could do is to get your Solicitor to write them and the tree cutters to recount what happened to and to note for the record that they are not to repeat their trespass without getting written permission from you and that your letter may be relied upon in Court if it does happen again. That way you put manners on them such that they probably won’t do it again and you don’t feel like you let yourself be walked on. However, I would not even do that if you think that there might have been a genuine misunderstanding. such a letter would surely kill all neighbourly relations.

Not least because by the time it gets to court the trees will have grown back or died of old age.


Defo no misunderstanding. the conversation was essentially:

me: “lovely day for it”
herself: sorry about that hedge blocking your light, i’ll be trimming it during the winter but sure we’ll chat closer to it. (it blocks out our light but doesn’t bother us but nice of her to be considerate though)
me: yeah sure. have a nice day.

4 months later…

her: i sent 3 lads into your garden and cut down your hedge :angry:
me: XX

but, yeah am thinking a letter would be an escalation of little value. am sure she’s just made a mistake that neither her nor landscaper will repeat


It is not worth taking legal action.
Not least because by the time it gets to court the trees will have grown back and I’ll have died of old age

Had something similar happen before.

Came home after a week working abroad, went to bed, opened the curtains next morning.
To my surprise, the 3 evergreen trees were cut down to level with the top of the wall and tar painted on the top of them.
The cut ends were lying about my garden.

Knew (or strongly suspected) it was the grumpy neighbour, but had no idea when it was even done.
He did built a little patio at the end of the garden and the trees did shade it.
Being a placid fellow there wasn’t much to do.

So count yourself lucky your garden was tidied up.

What is the hedge? Not leylandii, I hope?

edit: not criticising the choice, just leylandii doesn’t like to be cut hard.

My sympathies, but…4 metres is a very tall hedge.

The hard topping wouldn’t do it good, but hard cutting back (i.e. thinning/narrowing) will essentially never recover from what I’ve seen (currently burning firewood this winter from having taken down a bunch of overgrown and tatty leylandii last winter)

I’d frickin’ love someone to break into my garden and do my gardening. I’m not fussy either – I’d take whatever they were prepared to do. The little old lady next door trimmed her hedge and sent a guy round to do my side while I was out. It was embarrassing, but I thanked her profusely for it.

Me? I’m lethal with a hedge trimmer. Last year I cut through the satellite cable and had to get it repaired. Last month I cut through the UPC cable, and had to get it repaired. The other day I cut the other satellite cable and the guy is coming at 8am tomorrow. I told him their were two cables cut but just realised the other one is the old roof aerial cable which I cut years ago and abandoned. Don’t ask me to trim your hedge, but if you have any cables that need tidying … :angry:

It is borderline trespassing and criminal damage, if you were to purchase a hedge that height it was to replace it how much would that cost?
irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1991 … /html#sec1

I think you’ve probably handled it as best you can given the situation. The neighbour seriously overstepped the line, but it sounds like they didn’t have much to gain from it so I think it’s best to write it off as a misunderstanding. Assuming it was a genuine misunderstanding it is worth bearing in mind that they have borne the full cost of the work. Were they expecting you to share it?

I’d drop in a gift over Christmas to show that you’ve drawn a line under it. They know you’re not happy about it so it’s not going to happen again anyway. If it does happen again then kill her dog.