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Different jurisdictions have varying lengths to determine how long a property must be held in this way before it converts to a new owner.

But before you decide to move that fence in the middle of the night and re-landscape your side, consider this: Landscaping your neighbor’s land won’t be enough to gain those extra inches you might crave, but if your neighbor denies you access, well then, you might just have the basis for a legal claim.

“If I just build a retaining wall, then I may not actually be taking the land,” says Mr. Konopka, “but if I enclose some space, or tunnel underground, that’s a different scenario.”

More often than not, neighbors are content simply to point out that that fence or rosebush is actually on one or the other’s property and let it go at that.

“If you both understand that your fence is on my land, then I’ve preserved my right of ownership,” says Mr. Maher.