Aussie gardener 'caught in the crossfire' settles common neighbourhood dispute

Nathan Stafford revealed he's often having to be the 'peacekeeper' between angry neighbours over the great fence debate.

Aussie gardener Nathan Stafford trimming the hedge back in Gladesville, Sydney before he admitted his stance on the common neighbourhood dispute.
Aussie gardener Nathan Stafford often cuts down hedges and trees which protrude over neighbour's fences. Source: Supplied

A popular gardener who's often cutting down trees and hedges that protrude over from a neighbour's yard has finally revealed which side of the fence he's on in the long-standing and contentious debate that has Aussies divided.

Nathan Stafford, of Nathan's Lawns and Gardens, recently trimmed back a large hedge which was hanging over the fence into a resident's walkway from their neighbour's yard in Gladesville, Sydney. He admits he's often got to be the "peacekeeper" between neighbours while they argue about whether or not the plant should be cut back at all.

"Over the years I've done this I've come across so many problems with disputes between neighbours and sometimes I've got to be the peacekeeper," he told Yahoo News Australia.

He recalled one situation years ago where he was contacted to trim back a hedge and the resident confirmed the neighbour had approved the work. However, while he was "halfway" through the trim a face appeared over the fence.

"He [the neighbour] looked over the fence and started to absolutely give me everything," he explained. "Turns out the guy I spoke to hadn't spoken to the neighbour... all I could do was apologise. I was caught in the crossfire of it.

"I was disappointed but the good news is [for the neighbour] it's going to grow back."

It's a contentious topic that Aussies often have differing opinions on — whether a resident's tree or hedge which is encroaching onto a neighbour's property can be cut. However, Stafford is firmly of the belief it's fair game if the plant is hanging over the border.

"My opinion is if it's over your side of the fence, you can do what you want with it, as long as you're not hacking it or destroying it. For me personally, I think you're able to trim it," he said. He did say one factor was non-negotiable though.

"It's always best to approach the neighbour first... I understand these [trees or hedges] are good for the environment and one person owns them, but I think when it's over the fence it's more neutral ground."

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