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Old 17.04.2012, 23:46
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Height of trees in own garden

Hallo, newbie here, We have a large garden (in Aigle) and would like to plant a tree, maybe two or three. Is there a guide to how close we are permitted to plant next to our neighbour ? I imagine there might be a Swiss law about the maximum height it can grow to, if close to our boundary. Thanks.
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Old 18.04.2012, 00:13
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Yes, there will be laws and restrictions - and they are normally different from Gemeinde to Gemeinde so you need to ask yours.

In our area we are only allowed a fence of 1m25 and trees need to be planted >1m from the border. There doesn't seem to be a height restriction though. There are very strict rules about planting next to the road/pavement (we are on our third warning now for our hedge at the front of the house .)
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Old 18.04.2012, 00:25
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Yes, as Wattsli said, there are regulations and you need to check with the Commune for the specifics of your area. There may also be additional rules for your particular subdivision. Most pertain to areas near roads or public spaces, but please check to be sure. Distance inside property, etc.

Also, many communes have an 'approved list' of species, ie. native species that are not a nuisance, and you will be limited to these if they have such list.

And just for courtesy, if you are planting near a neighbor, best to ensure it will not block their view or give shade, etc. otherwise they could be cross with you for years. An informal chat often goes a long way.
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Old 18.04.2012, 00:28
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Not sure how good your French is. Here is the link. So regulations apply not only to height but also distance from your boundary. Of course, do remember that some trees grow much faster than others. Leylandii can grow to 20 m in 10 years- and are enemy numero uno in suburbs all over the world!

If you need help with the French, do ask and I'll do a summary.

Art. 142 Plantation des arbres et haies
1 Il ne peut être fait aucune plantation à souche ligneuse à moins de 50 centimètres de la limite parcellaire.
a) principe
2 Entre la limite de propriété et 2 mètres de celle-ci, aucune plantation ne peut dépasser la hauteur de 2 mètres.
3 A partir de 2 mètres de la limite de propriété, leur hauteur ne doit pas dépasser :
a) 6 mètres, si la plante pousse entre 2 et 5 mètres de la limite parcellaire;
b) 12 mètres, si la plante pousse entre 5 et 10 mètres de cette limite.
Demeurent réservées les dispositions relatives à la protection du patrimoine.
4 Les conventions contraires sont réservées.
5 En zone agricole, les prescriptions résultant des articles 142, 143, 144, 145 et 147 de la présente section ne s'appliquent pas si celui qui procède à des plantations obtient l'accord de tous les propriétaires des parcelles voisines.

Art. 143 b) arbres fruitiers et plantes grimpantes
1 Les arbres fruitiers et autres plantes grimpantes peuvent être plantés en treille ou en espaliers jusqu'à la limite de chaque propriété, mais sans qu'ils puissent dépasser la hauteur de 2 mètres.
2 S'ils sont appuyés à un mur plus élevé, leur hauteur a pour limite la crête du mur. Si le mur n'est pas mitoyen, son propriétaire a seul le droit d'y appuyer ces plantations.
c) en cas de clôture
3 S'il existe une clôture entre 2 fonds contigus, la distance légale n'est applicable qu'aux plantations dépassant la hauteur de la clôture.
4 Les conventions contraires sont réservées.
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Old 18.04.2012, 16:31
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Thank you all for the replies and esp Odile for the Art number and detail.
This part is most interesting: << b) 12 mètres, si la plante pousse entre 5 et 10 mètres de cette limite >> . . so I read that as meaning if planted more than 10 metres from the boundary, there is no height limit.
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Old 18.04.2012, 16:33
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Well up to 12 m - some trees grow a lot taller than that!
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Old 18.04.2012, 16:36
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

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Well up to 12 m - some trees grow a lot taller than that!
And if it's too tall, the Commune will come and cut it down. And bill you for it.

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Old 18.04.2012, 16:55
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Also, if you are considering fruit trees and live near an orchard, have a chat with the farmer. Some varieties are more prone to diseases than others; planting a variety that is not disease-resistant might hamper the local farmers's efforts to eradicate those diseases.

Our Gemeinde has banned certain kinds of trees and shrubs, due to the outbreak of Feuerbrand a few years ago - check with your Gemeinde, they are usually very helpful about that sort of thing.

Our canton has very strict height limits and set-backs for trees and hedges, and the local preference is for no trees at all. Trees have been the subject of many a neighborhood dispute, a couple of lawsuits, and at least one tree-poisoning incident around here. As others have mentioned, do have a chat with your neighbors before planting - you could save yourself years of misery.

And just an FYI, despite the strict rules, there is also a 5 year complaint limit. A neighbor must lodge an objection to your tree within 5 years of planing in order to force you to cut it down. If he/she does not do so within 5 years, the tree is allowed to stand. However, the height limits are always in force; one will be required to keep the tree pruned t to the limit (8 or 12 meters, depending on placement) at all times.
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Old 18.04.2012, 17:03
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

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and the local preference is for no trees at all.
Anyone else think that's crazy? Lack of trees (and too much asphalt) is a big complaint of mine here.
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Old 18.04.2012, 17:35
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

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Anyone else think that's crazy? Lack of trees (and too much asphalt) is a big complaint of mine here.
I think it's insane - and will never understand the esthetic that prefers concrete to grass.

I love nothing more than majestic old trees, gently shading the garden. I love a natural garden, a riot of colors and textures. I love growing things just for the sake of growing things. I love a thick tall hedge - providing privacy for us, and a home and safe-haven for local wildlife.

But my ideas are not the norm here.

Everyone seems to want concrete, or at best a rock garden. I think it's because few people are gardeners, few enjoy pottering around and getting dirty, few come from a rural-ish background. My area has turned from a farming community into a ZH bedroom suburb in the last few years - most of the 'newcomers' want something that requires no work, as their lives are still pretty much lived elsewhere.

Another issue is the lake view - which adds a good quarter million to the value of your house. Hence the neighborhood fights over trees get as heated as the fights over rooflines.
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Old 18.04.2012, 17:42
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

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Another issue is the lake view - which adds a good quarter million to the value of your house. Hence the neighborhood fights over trees get as heated as the fights over rooflines.
Drain the bl**dy lake. That's what I say. Bl**dy waste of good car parking space.
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Old 18.04.2012, 18:20
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

That's exactly what they are doing round where I live. People are really keen on cutting down trees and getting rid of shrubs on the most spurious of pretexts. No one wants to spend anything on pruning and garden care. The big complaint is that trees have leaves which make a mess in the autumn. Leaves are also apparently very dangerous as someone might slip even in areas where no one actually ever goes. Plants which might conceivably attract dangerous insects such as bees are also not approved of. People take the dangers of nature very seriously.
We have had had much soul searching about what trees to plant and find it rather difficult to explain that many trees take a long time to grow to their full height and that in the mean time they might look really nice. My take on the matter is that one should plant something for the next few years and if it gets out of hand it can then be cut down or lopped. Everyone thinks I am really eccentric.
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Old 18.04.2012, 18:38
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

How about a nice olive tree. Slow growing, and pretty.
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Old 19.04.2012, 08:08
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

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...and the local preference is for no trees at all.
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Anyone else think that's crazy? Lack of trees (and too much asphalt) is a big complaint of mine here.
Not wanting to go too off-topic on this, but it is just the opposite here--they want and require you to plant trees. So I guess it is more a regional or local issue like a lot of things here.

When asking permission to cut down a very old, very big, very problematic, and prohibited species tree at our place, the Commune said yes but required us to replace it with a new tree in order to keep the greenery, even though our place had too many trees and needed less shade.
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Old 19.04.2012, 15:08
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Maybe it also has to do with preferences between the German and French speaking parts of the country. Although I should also point out that I didn't notice a lack of trees when I was in suburban Basel. Neighborhoods seemed to be much greener than the northeast where I live now.
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Old 19.04.2012, 15:15
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Re: Height of trees in own garden

Trees in suburbia cause tensions in the UK too. Fights about roots causing damage, right to light and view, leaves making a mess and blocking gutters, and of course trees incroaching on pavements and roads have to be maintained and cut, not just in CH. And in the UK we had regular Leylandii WARS in many neighbourhoods.

Here in our hamlet, we are surrounded by majestic and very ancient trees. Some massive helms had to be cut as undermined by disease - just about to come into leaf and I can't wait. Ash, maples, beech, black poplars, willows, and hornbeam. If you want majestic old trees, suburbia is sadly no the place to live.
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