How large a garden do you need to have a beehive?
Our garden is 9m long by 5.6 wide, plus an access path down the side of the flat. That's plenty of room for one hive. I want to be keeping more than one hive; between the practicalities of which bits of the garden get enough sun and the danger of alarming our neighbours, I don't think I could risk more than one extra. I mean, I could fit 3 or 4 along the back wall but at that point the nervous woman next door would start complaining to the council etc.
You can manage in a smaller space but past a point the risk of tangling with the bees becomes much higher because there just isn't any space that isn't on their flight paths.
whats the risk if you dont have a massive garden for folks to get stung?
As long as the garden isn't tiny and you position the hive well, the risk is small. Ours is facing the back wall, which means the bees some out and head straight up a couple of metres before heading off to forage. If your hive is facing the garden and you don't place an obstacle close to the entrance, they'll zoom out ad entrance height until they do meet an obstacle.
If we're standing just a few feet from the hive, bees will occasionally zip past our heads on their way back to the hive. One returning bee got caught in my gf's hair last year and stung her; she's now a little cautious if she's right close to the hive but it hasn't stopped her from gardening. This week, I was walking barefoot across the lawn and stood on a dying bee, which unsurprisingly stung me. There aren't usually dying bees in our lawn but there's an illness affecting a small portion of the bees at the moment. So I'm going to give in and get some sandals.
We've had friends in the garden for a beer in the sun and none of them have been stung. None of our neighbours has been stung (they'd definitely let us know). We can have a barbecue and not worry about it.