From trimming your trees to putting down decking, you may not realise all the ways you could be fined from the comfort of your own garden. 

Since the warmer weather is (apparently) on its way, many of us will be thinking about spending more time in our gardens and might even be considering some renovations. 

To help us stay out of trouble whilst still making the most of our outdoor space, the garden-building experts at Tiger, have revealed nine ways that we Brits could potentially be fined in our own yards.

From feeding birds to sleeping in the shed, here are some of the key ways to keep you and your garden on the right side of the law!

Can I be fined for feeding birds?

The experts have reassured us that you generally cannot receive a fine for simply feeding birds in your garden in the UK.

The team at Tiger has pointed out that there is no national law prohibiting it.

In fact, putting out feeders for your feathered friends is a common and enjoyable practice.

However, Sam Jenkinson, Garden Building Expert for Tiger shares the few caveats to keep in mind:

Responsible Practices: While attracting feathered friends with bird feeders is a popular practice, some instances have seen residents facing restrictions.

In rare cases, excessive bird gatherings linked to specific gardens have been deemed "anti-social behaviour" under the Community Protection Notice (CPN) scheme. 

This could result in a £100 fine and an order to stop feeding.

A CPN is a formal warning issued by a local council or the police to address behaviour that is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life for others in the community. This can include, but is not limited to, noise, nuisance, and damage to property.

Don't let this discourage you from enjoying birdwatching! It's simply a reminder to embrace responsible practices.

Choose appropriate food types and quantities to avoid attracting unintended guests like rodents. Regularly dispose of leftover food and waste to prevent littering and maintain feeders with proper hygiene to minimize health risks.

By following these steps, you can ensure your bird feeding brings joy to both you and your feathered neighbours without causing any unintended consequences.

Local Bye-Laws: While there's no blanket ban, individual councils can create bye-laws restricting bird feeding in specific areas.

This might be due to local issues like excessive pigeon populations or litter concerns.

So, it's always a good idea to check your local council's website for any such byelaws that might apply in your area.

Attracting Vermin: If your bird feeding practices lead to excessive food accumulation or attract unwanted pests like rats, causing a nuisance to neighbours, your council might act.

This could involve warnings or even fines depending on the severity of the issue.

Read more about the rules around feeding birds via our explainer.

Can I be fined for having a tall garden building?

In the UK a shed can’t cover more than 50% of your garden or be higher than 2.5 metres if it’s within 2 metres of your property’s boundary without planning permission.

The Tiger team explained that if you do want to build a shed that is taller than 2.5 metres, you will need to apply for planning permission from your local council.

The experts warned: "If you don’t you could risk being forced to remove your shed or garden building".

They also urged people who are unsure about if their garden building fits the height requirements to speak to their shed manufacturer.

The team added: "Many companies, like Tiger, offer reduced height versions of their designs, or can create bespoke buildings, to help you comply with regulations even if your structure needs to be closer than 2m to the border.

"This can be a simple way to avoid needing planning permission".

Can I be fined for putting decking down?

The Tiger team have broken down all the rules when it comes to putting decking down in your outdoor space.

You could be fined if you have decking that is higher than 30cm or decking that covers more than 50% of your garden without planning permission, according to the garden building pros.

The experts elaborated: "There are many things that can impact a council’s decision to grant permission for decking such as the size and location, impact on surrounding area, and whether it complies with local planning policies".

Can I be fined for sleeping in my garden building?

Your local council "may not take too kindly" if you use your garden building for regular and frequent overnight accommodation (especially if you are charging for it) without planning permission, Tiger warns.

They went on to clarify that the odd friend sleeping over on an informal, more occasional basis is less of an issue.

However, the experts urged that if you want to use your garden building as a permanent guest room, you need to check building regulations and get planning permission.

Can I be fined for watering my garden during a hosepipe ban?

A hosepipe ban limits outdoor water usage and is typically put in place during the hotter months of the year.

A hosepipe ban is outlined in section 36 of the Flood and Water Management Act of 2010.

Tiger explained that if a person is found breaking the ban, they can be fined up to £1,000.

Can I be fined if I have invasive plants in my garden?

In the UK there are many invasive plants that you can be fined for if you let them spread.

Japanese Knotweed is one of the most invasive and will need professional removal if growing in your garden.

The experts warned that fines for Japanese Knotweed can reach up to £34,000.

Can I be fined for trimming my neighbour's trees and bushes?

"When it comes to trimming overhanging branches, you should only cut them up to the property line," according to Tiger.

The garden building experts continued: "If you lean into your neighbour’s garden and trim the trees and bushes, this may be considered trespassing, so it’s always best to check with your neighbours first".

They also urged people to be aware of whether a tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order.

The experts explained that on this occasion you can’t cut the branches, so you should always speak to your neighbour first.

Can I be fined for planting a new tree?

Under the Rights of Light Act, if a window has received natural light for 20 years or more, neighbours can't block it with a new tree.

The experts continued that if you did want to plant a new tree, you should consider placing it in a new corner of the garden or opting for something smaller.

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Can I be fined if my hedge grows too tall?

Under Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, homeowners are responsible for maintaining their hedges.

Tiger noted that if a neighbour complains to the local authority and they find that the hedges are negatively affecting the complainant's enjoyment of their property, the local authority can issue a formal notice and even a fine of up to £1,000.