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Old 04.01.2021, 13:42
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Planting a hedge/trees

In the area immediately behind our garden the planning sticks have been erected. As it‘s part of the village‘s building zone, it doesn‘t appear that there is much that we can do to object to it, but it does mean we will lose all of the privacy we previously had in the garden and sadly on the terrace too, as the building will be on higher ground and high enough that the top floor will be able to look over our roof onto the garden.

We would like to put up a hedge or similar on our boundary to try and maintain some privacy. I‘ve tried asking our management company about this, but they haven‘t been particularly helpful. Where can I find out if there are any rules regarding whether we can plant something and what the maximum height would be?

If helpful, we previously had grapevines, shrubs and trees on the boundary, but they had to be removed for access when we were renovating and because some were rotten. The length of the boundary is c. 20m and for us is north facing, so for the new building south facing, looking onto the Etzel.
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Old 04.01.2021, 14:00
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

There are regulations on this. You should first check with your commune and also the Canton Regs. Around here it is one meter from the boundary and 2 m high, if separating from a neighbour. If it abuts a road etc, different rules generally apply. Even within the commune there may be different zoning regs. so they are generally the best place to start.

Unfortunately if old hedges were removed and were not within today's norms, they would have been grandfathered. Replanting now would require alignment with today's regulations.
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Old 04.01.2021, 14:41
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

From HEV Schwyz:

https://www.hev-sz.ch/aktuell/infos/nachbarrecht/

There are two linked documents. The first, Nachbarrecht in Schwyz, explains planting issues on page 7. The second is an illustration of the regs.

These documents are from 2006, but since HEV has not updated them there likely have not been changes.

So these are cantonal regs - now you need to make sure there are not further regs at the Gemeinde or neighborhood level. The Pfäffikon Bauamt should be able to help you there.

An example of those further regs: After the mother of all bun fights in the never-ending Hedge Wars at our owners annual meeting, a little known factoid came out: Our Quartier is actually one unit, meaning that the cantonal Abstand and height regs apply to the borders of the Quartier, but technically the individual houses may plant hedges on the border line between individual properties within the Quartier borders. Which was good news IMO.

Next thing: Get advice as to what to plant based on your needs/gardening ability/esthetic preferences, probably best from a local gardening firm who understand your 'microclimate' better than someone farther away might. She says, as she puts 'Pull out the sad 15 year old Thuja and replace with something more robust' on her spring to-do list.

(A higher maintenance hedge is a good excuse to buy new power tools, though. So there's that.)
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Old 04.01.2021, 16:19
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

Talking about the aesthetic quality of hedges, another point you should consider is shadow. Maybe you are blocking your (future) neighbour's view of your garden, but if you're doing so by excluding a good part of the sunlight from your own plot, maybe it's not really worth it. A friend of mine put in a thuja hedge and as the hedge shot up, his ornamental bushes and even an apple tree died off one after the other as things simply got too shady for them. Now even most of the lawn has succumbed to moss.

Last edited by amogles; 04.01.2021 at 16:47.
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Old 04.01.2021, 17:07
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

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Talking about the aesthetic quality of hedges, another point you should consider is shadow. Maybe you are blocking your (future) neighbour's view of your garden, but if you're doing so by excluding a good part of the sunlight, maybe it's not really worth it. A friend of mine put in a thuja hedge and as the hedge shot up, his ornamental bushes and even an apple tree died off one after the other as things simply got too shady for them. Now even most of the lawn has succumbed to moss.
It‘s a good point, but if anything we already have too much direct sunlight and not enough shade and due to our orientation, I don‘t think we would lose any light to anywhere that has plants.
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Old 04.01.2021, 17:17
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

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In the area immediately behind our garden the planning sticks have been erected. As it‘s part of the village‘s building zone, it doesn‘t appear that there is much that we can do to object to it, but it does mean we will lose all of the privacy we previously had in the garden and sadly on the terrace too, as the building will be on higher ground and high enough that the top floor will be able to look over our roof onto the garden.

We would like to put up a hedge or similar on our boundary to try and maintain some privacy. I‘ve tried asking our management company about this, but they haven‘t been particularly helpful. Where can I find out if there are any rules regarding whether we can plant something and what the maximum height would be?
We are in BL, so obviously things may be different for you. We have a rebuild planned behind us with some of the issues you state. Important points.

If you do not object, then by default you agree. If you are unhappy, don't roll over and die. Notwithstanding the local politics, the rule of law pretty much applies across Switzerland - even canton SZ.

You may not have a lot of time. Find out how to see the plans. Get hold of the building regulations for where you live. Check the plans do not go over what the regulations allow (for us, they wanted more than one storey and higher than permitted by the regs for the zone - everything else was within the rules). Get your objections in. Talk to your neighbours and see if you wish to make a joint objection.

For us as well, if we raised a private action (we didn't) they could not even begin to build until it was resolved.

Check my post here: it may have useful information.

Also check you local rules for hedges and borders. The gemeinde offices are your first port of call.
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Old 04.01.2021, 17:55
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

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We are in BL, so obviously things may be different for you. We have a rebuild planned behind us with some of the issues you state. Important points.

If you do not object, then by default you agree. If you are unhappy, don't roll over and die. Notwithstanding the local politics, the rule of law pretty much applies across Switzerland - even canton SZ.

You may not have a lot of time. Find out how to see the plans. Get hold of the building regulations for where you live. Check the plans do not go over what the regulations allow (for us, they wanted more than one storey and higher than permitted by the regs for the zone - everything else was within the rules). Get your objections in. Talk to your neighbours and see if you wish to make a joint objection.
For us as well, if we raised a private action (we didn't) they could not even begin to build until it was resolved.

Check my post here: it may have useful information.

Also check you local rules for hedges and borders. The gemeinde offices are your first port of call.
Thanks. Yes, already been to the Gemeinde and looked at the plans and spoke with our Verwaltung and immediate neighbours. The plans unfortunately don‘t look out of keeping with the area - a parterre (the land slopes down towards ours) and 2 floors. Feedback from the Verwaltung was everyone has the right to object, but they are building in an allowed zone. As we live on the top of a Terrassenwohnung the impact on the other neighbours is limited, so I just got a shrug.

So I think the chances of actually doing anything to stop the building are minimal, hence am looking at the best way to mitigate the impact.

ETA having read your thread. The land is owned by the Gemeinde, so no doubt will be earning them Baurechtzins from the lease. I really don‘t think we have a leg to stand on.
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Old 04.01.2021, 18:30
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

Try blackmail. Put in an objection based on loss of view, sunlight, and peace of mind.

Offer to remove your objection should the builders plant a suitable hedge on their side of the property line.

Win-win. They cover the cost of planting and assume the maintenance costs.
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Old 04.01.2021, 18:41
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

Our entire garden is surrounded by a privacy hedge of evergreen thuja trees, which were here when we moved in. We're beginning to lose more and more of them each year, where they slowly turn completely brown. A professional gardener told us that it's common for that to happen with them and that it will continue to happen more and more. They easily die from "winter burn" or other problems (I guess you're supposed to water them when it's dry, even during the winter, which is a bit difficult when you have 40+ trees!).

Anyways, we finally decided to no longer replace the dead thuja trees with new thuja trees because they just die much too easily, and also the side of the trees that get no sunlight look awful (the side that faces north). So I think we're going to slowly replace them with Bamboo Rufa plants instead, which are evergreen and grow to about 2 meters tall and about 150 cm wide. And with those, you plant one plant every one meter, which means less plants to put in the ground.

Sorry to ramble... Just wanted to let you know what our experience with thujas has been, as a privacy hedge, in case you decide to go that route.
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Old 04.01.2021, 18:53
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

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Sorry to ramble... Just wanted to let you know what our experience with thujas has been, as a privacy hedge, in case you decide to go that route.
Agreed, thujas are horrible, for the reasons mentioned above and also I am highly allergic to them. So every cutting required long sleeves and gloves and I still came back all red and cut up. Best decision I ever made was to have them removed on first occasion. There are so many other more suitable varieties that are aesthetically more pleasing and require much less maintenance, etc. I'm very happy with eleagnus as a hedge, downside is the thorns but some subspecies don't have them, or they are minimised.
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Old 04.01.2021, 18:58
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Re: Planting a hedge/trees

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Our entire garden is surrounded by a privacy hedge of evergreen thuja trees, which were here when we moved in. We're beginning to lose more and more of them each year, where they slowly turn completely brown. A professional gardener told us that it's common for that to happen with them and that it will continue to happen more and more. They easily die from "winter burn" or other problems (I guess you're supposed to water them when it's dry, even during the winter, which is a bit difficult when you have 40+ trees!).

Anyways, we finally decided to no longer replace the dead thuja trees with new thuja trees because they just die much too easily, and also the side of the trees that get no sunlight look awful (the side that faces north). So I think we're going to slowly replace them with Bamboo Rufa plants instead, which are evergreen and grow to about 2 meters tall and about 150 cm wide. And with those, you plant one plant every one meter, which means less plants to put in the ground.

Sorry to ramble... Just wanted to let you know what our experience with thujas has been, as a privacy hedge, in case you decide to go that route.
Your mileage may vary, and there are difference sub-breeds of thuja

I know of a thuja tree on an abandoned plot, encroached by wild blackberries and nettles and a particularly adventurous virginia creeper. Not to mention a lot of rubbish, beer cans and the like that have accumulated there. Nobody has done anything to this plot for at least 15 years.

The thuja is not showing any sign of suffering in the least.
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