Shitty Neighbours Pt.3 – Top 10 bamboo tips

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For juicy neighbour stories and a good laugh check “Dear Neighbour”.

So it’s been a while since I updated my blog with some shitty neighbours stories. I have received a large number of supporting emails and many inquisitive souls have asked for updates. As I am feeling in a festive mood today, I thought it would be the perfect time to provide yet another update.

The following top 10 bamboo tips have helped address my privacy issues with my neighbours. Consider this as free advice that worked for me. In no way do I recommend you try this yourself prior to seeking advice from your legal counsel.

Top 10 bamboo tips

1) Planting bamboo or similar plant to form a privacy hedge.

Obviously the tips outlined in this post are all related to protecting your bamboo investment. Make sure that if you decide to plant bamboo, you choose a clumping variety that suits your purpose. And if you have the time, money and patience, plant your bamboo in a raised garden bed so they can’t say “your bamboo is growing into our yard”. For my purpose, I picked Bambusa Textilis var. Gracilis.

top 10 bamboo tips

1 year old bamboo bought in November 2012

top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis in January 2013

2) Increasing the fence height and installing “garden furniture”.

According to Queensland’s construction governing body (BSA) and as outlined in the Qld Standard Building Regulation 1993 – page 125, you are allowed to build a support structure for a climbing vine that is exempt from all other building codes and regulations – this “type 10B” structure is labelled as “garden furniture” and it needs to stand less than 3.0m above ground level to meet the criteria.

Also, in accordance with the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011, you are entitled to build a fence up to 2.0 metres above natural ground level on the joint boundary line. If you wish to go higher than 2.0 metres, you will need to complete a siting variation from your local council. Other factors are at play with joint fences and there is a “ceremonial” process that should be followed first (check the neighbourhood act) but the bottom line is if you have notified your neighbour of your intentions and have obtained council approval, then it’s all fair game.

top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis growing even though neighbours interfering

Top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis bamboo in late March 2013 – note timber posts

Top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis bamboo had leaves cut back in mid April as they had been heavily sprayed.

3) Placing surveillance cameras.

Surveillance cameras are fantastic for providing supporting evidence of liquid being thrown over the fence from your neighbours. Be mindful of rules around invasion of privacy. Check with your local police station or legal counsel before putting cameras up. I asked my neighbour if he knew anything about my bamboo being broken and sprayed. He told me he knew nothing about it, and added: “If you don’t believe me, you can put some cameras up” – so I did.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Surveillance cameras watching over Gracilis bamboo


4) Placing a bamboo screen on the “garden furniture”.

Once a bamboo screen is applied to this structure, the definition is altered and you will require a building relaxation which you must pay for.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Bamboo screen installed in late April.


5) Placing clear construction poly plastic on the fence.

This is one more way to stop any unwanted overspray from your neighbours and does not require any approvals.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Late July – Plastic installed to protect bamboo from deliberate spraying between fence palings.

6) Installing a timed irrigation system.

I think installing an irrigation system on my “garden furniture” was the best idea to date as it serves as a deterrent. Herbicides cost money and are ineffective if washed off on a daily basis. If you install a battery operated timer, you can configure it so your investment is looked after on a regular basis. And your bamboo plants will love you for it too! I bought these microjet sprinklers as they served the purpose perfectly.

Top 10 bamboo tips

180 degree microjet sprays are used to wash the bamboo leaves.

Top 10 bamboo tips

This fine spray mist works wonders as a deterrent.

Top 10 bamboo tips

The idea is to discourage the spraying behaviour.

Top 10 bamboo tips

This is overkill. One line is sufficient so I put control taps on each line.

7) Attaching bait bells to the fence.

These bait bells will guide you to where your neighbours are shaking the fence. Yes, my neighbours like to shake the fence so the bamboo slats in the bamboo screen slide out. Fence shaking also served to increase the gap between the palings so liquid can be sprayed onto the bamboo between these.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Jingle bells, Jingle Bells – neigh-bours shake the fence!

Top 10 bamboo tips

My neighbours like shaking the fence so bells are a must!

8) Starting a compost pile.

Studies have shown that adding natural compost and mulch to herbicide infested soil helps to break it down. Micro-organisms, microfungii, bacteria, thermophilic bacteria, and earthworms work together to break down insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals in the soil. If your compost heap is smelly, it probably means your carbon to nitrogen ratio and humidity levels are not right – just cover your compost with grass clippings or mulch. It works wonders!

Top 10 bamboo tips

The compost and mulch has worked absolute wonders for my Gracilis bamboo

9) Grow edible plants around the bamboo

When the day comes to take out a Peace and Good Behaviour order against your neighbours, you will need to provide some evidence that you feel threatened or are in danger from their actions. By growing such plants as tomatoes, mint or similar around the bamboo, you can tell the magistrate that you have video footage of liquid being thrown over the fence that lands on your edible plants and that you are afraid that the food you eat has been poisoned. You can also maintain a log book and take photographs of the leaves of these plants yellowing or dying off.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Planting edible plants and herbs such as mint is a great “insurance policy” in preparation for the Peace and Good behaviour order.

10) Start a blog

Starting a blog can be a great way to get support from friends and strangers. But be very careful, your neighbours may become aware that you have a blog and try to contact you via your blog. Signing them up for a new account to or similar can be one of many ways to respond to their email shenanigans without really responding – get my drift?

Top 10 bamboo tips

My Gracilis has more than doubled the number of culms it had.

These are some of my tips to help you address privacy issues you may have with your neighbours. Probably the best thing to do is ignore them, but if your neighbours are like mine then ignoring them is not enough, and you may need to put up a small barrier (like I did) or move house – if that is an option.

11 thoughts on “Shitty Neighbours Pt.3 – Top 10 bamboo tips

  1. Roz

    Hi I have a ghost bamboo near my back fence and a dwarf Mango which my neighbour has gone to qcat to get them removed and now wants me to pay for an arborist because I don’t want to get rid of them
    Any advise ?

  2. Bamboo lover

    Great Blog, and some very helpful information. We have a tree and privacy hating neighbour that has moved in and removed every single scrap of green on her side of the fence and insisted on a 10 metre plus Jacaranda tree on our side having every branch on her side cut back to the fence line resulting in our beloved tree not only looking ugly but no longer providing cooling shade over our house or yard.

    As the neighbours side pre her attack on anything green provided a lush, shady and house blocking outlook we had not bothered to plant on that fence line. BIG MISTAKE and lesson learnt. We are in the process of building raised garden beds along the fence line and deciding on the species of clumping bamboo to plant. As this neighbour is problematic I’m wondering if you are located in Qld and in particular Brisbane and if so are you aware of any height restriction laws on a fence boundary planting?

    1. Henry Gomez Post author

      Hi Danielle,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The only law I am aware of that covers the height of overhanging branches is covered in the Neighbourhood Dispute Resolution Act of 2011 ([s57] – page 38). Here is an excerpt for your convenience:

      [s57] Notice for particular overhanging branches
      (1) This section applies in relation to each of the overhanging branches—
      (a) only if the branch extends to a point over the neighbour’s land that is at least 50cm from the common boundary; and
      (b) only to the extent the branch is 2.5m or less above the ground.

      So unless your bamboo overhangs more than 50cm, and at a height of up to 2.5 metres above ground, you are ok. I would still recommend seeking your own legal advice for peace of mind.


  3. trevor

    Why do people insist on planting invasive species beside boundaries? You might be all fired up now about your rights and your nose way out of joint but in ten years time that bamboo will have invaded your neighbours yard and destroyed the fence and chances are you may not even be still living there! I speak from experience (wrecked fence, collapsed retaining wall, excavator required to remove roots etc etc ) not to mention the constant leaf drop. Take a tip old mate, plant a heap of passion fruit vines…better privacy and awesome fruit. You sound like you’d be dirty if your neighbour scored any of Your fruit though. Maybe it should have been Neighbourhood Attitude Resolution Act.

    1. Henry Gomez Post author

      Dear Trevor,

      Thank you for your comments. However, a wee bit of research wouldn’t have gone astray.

      There are two main Bamboo types on planet earth. Invasive bamboo, and Clumping Bamboo. I have purchased the latter for my purpose. The dropping of bamboo leaf matter provides a beautiful and rich mulch that I use in my garden and gives my passion fruit awesome flavour (thank you for the advice but I already have such vines growing on the boundary line with my shit-for-brains neighbours).

      Finally, you sound like you think you know me, so I should add that I don’t particularly care if they eat my passion fruits, as long as they eat them with a good dose of the same herbicide they’ve been spraying over the fence.

      Kindest regards,

    2. David Wilks

      @Trevor, I have been growing bamboo for may years. Gracilis will not invade anything. In fact, it will happily grow in a 450mm wide strip if contained by a path or wall as it is here. Yes, it will throw culms on the other side of the fence if there is room, but a sharp spade will remove both the culm and the rhizome thereby preventing any further growth.

      There are around 650 varieties of NON-invasive bamboo. Assuming you are a gardener, read up, be surprised and then delight yourself by adding some of these amazing plants to your own garden.

      A Malay dwarf will grow happily in a corner, reach 2.2 to 2.5 metres and take 50 – 100 years to have a root ball a metre in diameter.

      Unfortunately, too many people have foolishly planted running bamboo and now lump all bamboo in the same basket. It is the single most valuable plants on earth. It consumes more carbon from the atmosphere than any other plant. It is an exceptional building material. You can eat it. You can wear the fabrics made from it. Your kitchen undoubtedly has utensils made from it.

      Message to the world… PLANT BAMBOO!

    3. Dale

      I have a psychopathic neighbour who has basically killed anything planted on the boundary…even the 2 passionfruit vines I planted. The front boundary fence we erected for privacy cost us $6000 of which he wriggled out of paying more than $800 (even though the council put aside $1400 in a bank account for him to pay…then he got a ridiculous quote that the cheapest fence would cost $1600 even though all of our quotes were always more than that, and the council caved). e is on the “Vexacious Neighbours list” at our council, and yet they cave every time. The sqeaky wheel gets the oil once again!

      So, I refuse to pay to get the back half of the fence replaced, especially considering that he has pulled numerous pickets off the fence (we now have that on CCTV). Maybe karma will prevail!

      No plants will screen if they are poisoned, even passionfruit vines! (sorry to go on…I’ve just realised that the 2nd vine is dying and I’m really sad and frustrated…and continue to be “watched” by this psycho)

      1. Henry Gomez Post author

        Hi Dale,

        I am sorry to hear you are having to go through this. It is a shame that some people just don’t know how to be civilised and decent towards others. Have you considered installing a structure up to 3 metres in height that is used for “climbing vines”? These types of structures are labelled as Type 10B and are exempt from council building regulations. Check with your local council first, but if the rules in WA are the same as in QLD, then it might be helpful…

        All the best and keep your head up. Don’t give in to this bullying attitude.


    4. q.T

      We have a neighbors citrus, macadamia, mango and other tree’s doing the same type wrecking at the moment. We would prefer bamboo! No massive overhanging tree branches that threaten the patio roof.

  4. Paul

    From someone who has gone through similar with bamboo poisoning I have been thinking about the best response. These tips are great. I have added LED floodlighting and placed a BAMBOO HAS BEEN POISONED sign at the front and rear which the neighbour has been trying to get removed with complaints to the police and council but without success. They have truley shot themselves in the foot. CCTV is very effective as well. Thanks for the blog and keep us updated. Our blog is at


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