When it comes to enhancing privacy, security, or simply defining the boundary of your personal space, erecting a fence is often the first solution that comes to mind. However, when you share boundaries with neighbours, the decision to install a new fence close to an existing one can be complex, requiring not just a good understanding of local regulations but also a considerate approach to neighbourly relations.

In the UK, boundary disputes are surprisingly common and can sometimes escalate unnecessarily. To avoid such situations, here are some key points to consider before deciding to install a fence adjacent to your neighbour's.

Understand Legal Boundaries

Before undertaking any work, it’s crucial to establish the boundaries of your property. This information can typically be found in your house’s deed or official property documents. Local Land Registry records can also provide clarity on this issue. Misunderstandings about the extent of one's property are at the root of many disputes between neighbours. Hence, having clear, documented evidence of your boundaries is indispensable.

Review Local Planning Permissions

In certain instances, planning permission may be required to erect a fence, especially if it exceeds the height permitted by local regulations. In England, for example, fences up to 2 metres in height are generally allowable without planning permission, unless it fronts a highway used by vehicles (in which case the height limit is 1 metre). Checking with your local council before proceeding with any installations is always a good idea to ensure compliance and prevent potential legal issues.

Discuss Plans with Your Neighbour

Good fences may make good neighbours, but the process of erecting one can sometimes test this adage. Communication is key. Share your plans with your neighbour(s) before starting any construction. This is not only courteous but can also help identify any concerns or objections they might have. Occasionally, they may be planning something similar, opening opportunities for collaboration on the fence, potentially saving time and resources for both parties.

Consider the Implications for Maintenance and Access

When positioning a new fence close to an existing one, it’s important to consider how this will affect its maintenance. Installing a fence too close to another might limit access for repairs and upkeep, potentially leading to deterioration over time. Furthermore, ensuring that any installation does not encroach on your neighbour’s property or restrict their access is essential.

Alternative Solutions

Before opting to put up a new fence, consider whether there are alternatives that might achieve your objectives while minimising potential friction. For instance, planting a hedge can provide privacy and enhance the garden’s aesthetics, serving as a natural divider without the permanence or formality of a fence.

Legal Considerations

If, despite your best efforts, disputes arise, seeking legal advice is advisable. Legal professionals can offer guidance based on the specific details of your case, including any adverse possession claims, rights of way, or other easements that might affect your ability to erect a fence.


Putting up a fence next to your neighbour’s requires careful consideration of legal, practical, and social factors. Ensuring clarity around property boundaries, staying informed about local regulations, maintaining open lines of communication with your neighbours, and contemplating alternative solutions are all steps that can contribute to a harmonious outcome. With thoughtful planning and consideration, it’s possible to enhance your property in a way that respects both your and your neighbour’s rights and preferences.

Remember, the aim is to improve your living environment without compromising neighbourly goodwill. Taking a proactive, considerate approach can help ensure that your new fence not only adds to your property but also maintains, or even enhances, your relationship with those next door.