This hedge is the bane of my existence!
July 31, 2011 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Laurel hedge plus cedar fence....bad idea or incredibly bad idea?

So I've got approx. 150 feet of laurel hedge in my backyard. The neighbor I share this with insists that he likes having the hedge instead of a fence, but does not take care of it on a regular basis (instead he does a major cutback every few years).

I for one hate the damn's way too much work for one person (not to mention all of the yard waste), I don't really want to pay someone to take care of it. Currently, I've got a 4 foot chicken-wire type fence in front of it (I need the fence part for the canine).

I'm wondering about putting a cedar or composite fence in front of it with the hope that it'll just grow upward, making it easier to maintain.

Is this just a pipe dream? I'd appreciate any thoughts on this idea, as well as any other possibilities I haven't thought of...

posted by Zoyashka to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
laurel hedges need to be trimmed about twice a year to maintain a decent appearance and not take over the yard. A wood fence (or any solid fence) will keep it contained until it grows up over the fence then will 'descend' on the far side of the fence and you now have a harder trimming job as well as rotting fence because the dense laurel hedge is keeping the fence from breathing and keeping it wet all the time. Also an amazing amount of garbage and laurel debri will accumulate at the base of the fence where you can't clean it up easily if at all.

Don't know how to convince the neighbor about this, maybe start spaying round-up on the laurels when he is gone till it dies all the way and then pay for a new fence? (only joking a little here)
posted by bartonlong at 11:10 AM on July 31, 2011

I would be LIVID if my neighbor secretly poisoned a shared hedge. In your shoes I would probably get expert advice on how to care for the hedge and estimates for having professional maintenance and present them to the neighbor. If you approach it as a shared problem that you'd like to resolve, you're likely to get at least an acknowledgment from him regarding the difficulty of maintaining the hedge.

Why not preserve the good neighbor relationship and work out a mantainence plan? The money you would put into a fence would surely hire a crew twice a year for the next few years.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:22 AM on July 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Is the hedge actually shared? Whose property is it on?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:33 AM on July 31, 2011

It's unclear as to who it technically belongs to...I assume that it was planted years before either of us moved in. The plants appear to criss-cross over the apparent property line.

As for working with the neighbor--believe me, I've tried. He wants to keep it and doesn't want to pay shared costs. Which I don't blame him, I don't really want to pay twice yearly what it would cost to rip the things out.

Thanks for the reality check on a cedar fence in front of it. I guess I'll just have to keep accumulating yard waste for my one bin that I fill up each week. Le sigh.
posted by Zoyashka at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2011

Could you look at property layouts or whatever they're called? My dad had a similar problem with a neighbor. He looked at these property maps and found that the tree actually belonged to him and not the neighbor. It was a pretty close 1/2 inch!

So he cut it down, the neighbor threw a fit, but he showed him the property map(sorry I don't know if that's the correct term) and pointed out that the tree was actually on HIS property. And he threw in a quick, stop mowing my extra 1/2inch of lawn.
posted by Sweetmag at 12:42 PM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Put the money into having a property survey done. As Sweetmag says, if it's your hedge, you can cut it down (or tell him if he wants you to keep it, he needs to trim it once/twice a year.)

You might also want to consider adverse possession:

Adverse possession is a principle of real estate law whereby somebody who possesses the land of another for an extended period of time may be able to claim legal title to that land. The exact elements of an adverse possession claim may be different in each state.

If it does turn out that the hedge is on his property, I suppose you could always pave in four feet then put up a fence.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:40 PM on July 31, 2011

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