"A man's home is his castle" might be how the saying goes but just how much control do you have over what you can do on your own land? It appears under UK law it might not be as much as you think.

For there are a number of common activities that householders might finding themselves on the wrong side of the law for doing. Whether it is sleeping in the shed or building decking there are strict rules over what is allowed.

Garden Shed expert Sam Jenkinson from garden building specialists Tiger has shared common garden laws that Brits could be breaking unknowingly, to help them avoid hefty fines and potential neighbour disputes. Here are nine of the most likely areas you could be fined if you get it wrong.

Feeding birds

You generally cannot receive a fine for simply feeding birds in your own garden in the UK. There is no national law prohibiting it, and putting out feeders for your feathered friends is a common and enjoyable practice. However, Sam warned there were things 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.

Too 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. 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, if you don’t you could risk being forced to remove your shed or garden building.

If you're unsure about if your garden building fits the height requirements, speak to your shed manufacturer. 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.

Putting down decking

If you have decking that is higher than 30cm or decking that covers more than 50% of your garden without planning permission, you could be fined. 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.

Sleeping in my garden building

If you’re using your garden building for regular and frequent overnight accommodation (especially if you are charging for it) without planning permission, your local council may not take too kindly to it. The odd friend sleeping over on an informal, more occasional basis is less of an issue, but if you want to use your garden building as a permanent guest room, you need to check building regulations and get planning permission.

Watering my garden during a hosepipe ban

A hosepipe ban limits outdoor water usage and are 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. If a person is found breaking the ban, they can be fined up-to £1,000.

Invasive plants

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. Fines for Japanese Knotweed can reach up to £34,000!

Trimming neighbours trees and bushes

When it comes to trimming overhanging branches, only cut them up to the property line. 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.

As well as this, it’s important to remember that if a tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, you can’t cut the branches, so always speak to your neighbour first.

Planting new trees

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. If you did want to plant a new tree, consider placing it in a new corner of the garden or opting for something smaller.

Hedge growing too tall

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