Overgrown gardens

Overgrown gardens usually do not cause or constitute a public health nuisance or environmental health issue. Although overgrown gardens may look unsightly, they would not usually warrant action by us. 

The responsibility for keeping a garden tidy lies predominantly with the owner of the land. If it is a rented property, depending on the tenancy agreement in place, the tenant may be responsible for maintaining the garden. If it is a council property please view our council house gardens page.

To increase the biodiversity of green spaces, some people opt not to cut their grass during the summer months. This will cause grassed areas to grow thicker and taller than usual, but this is unlikely to attract any more pests to the area. Therefore this will not cause a nuisance and does not need to be reported.

What can you do about a neighbour's overgrown garden?

Firstly, we recommend speaking to your neighbour and advising them of your concerns. You should consider that they may be unable to maintain the garden themselves and may require assistance from neighbours or family and friends. You may wish to offer to help neighbours maintaining their garden or to help with taking the waste to the household waste recycling centre.

If your property is becoming damaged because of your neighbours overgrown garden you should seek legal advice as this will be considered a civil matter. We are unable to assist with this issue.

Pests in overgrown gardens

Overgrown gardens can provide short term harbourage for pests such as rats and mice. However this usually doesn't result in an ongoing or long-term infestation which would be considered a public health issue.

Most gardens, overgrown or not, will frequently be visited or passed through by rodents as they travel between feeding or nesting sites, or during their exploratory movements. A sighting doesn't necessarily mean that there is a problem which will become a greater issue or need any action to be taken. You should ensure that any food source is removed (such as bird feeders) as this will reduce the attractiveness of the area to any pests. 

We do not provide a pest control service.

When would we get involved?

Action against a property owner for overgrown vegetation may be considered where a public health issue has been identified and confirmed by the council.

There must be sufficient evidence to show that:

  • there is a significant and ongoing rodent infestation caused or exacerbated by the garden or lands condition
  • the owner of the property is deliberately attracting pests to an area, usually through providing harbourage and a readily available food source to pests
  • baiting of adjacent properties or land has proved to be ineffective in eliminating the rodent issue

Evidence will be required to show this is the case.

We will not get involved in cases about how a garden looks or where inert equipment or rubbish is accumulating in the garden. These matters are not considered as nuisances and will not be investigated.