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Summer DIY: Do I Need Planning Permission For Garden Buildings?

As the COVID-19 pandemic taught many of us, our outdoor space, no matter how small or large, can add considerably to our wellbeing and the enjoyment of our home. According to recent statistics from the DIY sector, 2021 saw a large increase in garden DIY expenditure, with Brits upping their spending in garden centres by around a third on average. Whether you are contemplating if you need planning permission for a garden office or gym, or if you need to submit a modest landscape design for planning permission, it is important to be certain before you proceed. In many cases, you may be surprised to know that under existing Permitted Development law, no permission is required at all, as long as you stay within the rules.


19 August 2022
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Do you need planning permission for landscaping? 

Many homeowners may decide to remove or prune trees within their garden to introduce light or make more space. You might be thinking, do I need planning permission to landscape my garden, or can I level my garden without planning permission? It is important to bear in mind that in the UK, many trees are subject to Tree Preservation Orders, requiring consent from your local authority before they can be cut down, topped, lopped, or uprooted. If you are unsure if you have trees within your garden that are subject to a preservation order, it is recommended that you speak to your local authority before proceeding with any work.

Do I need garden wall planning permission?

If you are considering renovating your garden, you may be wondering, do I need planning permission to terrace my garden? No planning permission is required if you wish to erect, change, or remove an existing gate, wall, or fence within your garden as long as:

  • It is next to a road (or a footpath next to a road) and is 1 metre or less in height
  • If not next to a road, it is 2 metres in height or less
  • The height of any existing fence, gate or wall is not increased 
  • The work is not taking place within the grounds of a listed building or on the boundary of a listed building
  • There is no specific condition (e.g. article 4 or other planning condition) which restricts you from putting up or altering a fence, walls or gate

Do you need planning permission for a garden room with solar panels?

Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular each year, especially given the rising cost of energy. Thankfully, the installation of solar panels on your property is considered ‘Permitted Development’ and hence planning permission is not required. The main exceptions to this being if you live in a conservation area, a listing building, or you wish to place the panels onto a flat roof; in this instance, you would need garden shed planning permission. The reason why permission is required if placing solar panels onto a flat roof is due to the requirement to keep the protrusion within 20cm of the plane of the roof slope. Solar panels on flat surfaces require a sloping frame to ensure the correct angle towards the sun and hence are visually intrusive. So, if you are wondering whether you need planning permission for a garden gym with flat-roof solar panels, the answer would be yes.

Garden structure planning permission: Decking, patios, and driveways

Work on decks, patios, and driveways within your garden can normally be completed under permitted development. Decking must be no more than 30cm above the ground, and when the size is added to that of any extensions and outbuildings within your land, the total area must not exceed half of your total garden area. 

If you are undergoing renovations in your driveway or anywhere else on your property, you might be thinking, do I need planning permission to concrete my back garden or front garden? If you plan to put in a new or replacement driveway, to avoid the need for front garden planning permission, you will need to ensure that surface water can drain properly by using a permeable surface or directing rainwater appropriately towards a permeable area. If the area to be covered is over 5 metres, and you want to lay a traditional surface that does not allow water to drain, you will most likely need planning permission. 

You might be wondering about front garden planning permission for listed buildings. In most cases, for any type of extensive groundwork within the grounds of a listed building, you will need listed building consent before you proceed.  

Do I need planning permission for a garden room?

You might be thinking, what size garden room do I need without planning permission in the UK? To avoid the need for garden room planning permission or garden office planning permission, the ground area of any outbuilding must not exceed 50% of your garden space (i.e. the land around the original house). It is important that you include any other area that has already reduced your garden footprint, such as other garden buildings and extensions to your property. You also need to ensure that

  • No part of the structure is on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation of the house
  • The structure is a single storey
  • The maximum heights are not exceeded: Eaves: maximum of 2.5m high, pitched roof: maximum of 4m high, other roof styles: maximum of 3m high

To avoid the need to comply with building regulations, you also need to ensure the structure is less than 15 square metres in area and does not have any sleeping accommodation, otherwise, you may need garden buildings planning permission.

Final words on planning permission for garden buildings

If you are unsure if you need planning permission for a garden room or other project, it is always better to check before you proceed. Proceeding on the basis that you probably won’t need permission or in the hope that no one will complain may be a costly mistake. If you do require garden rooms planning permission, as long as you are realistic about your expectations, in most cases and with professional assistance, the process can be extremely straightforward and stress-free. For more information on how we can support you with your property, take a look at our residential property and property disputes services. If you have any questions, get in touch with us today.

Guillaumes LLP Solicitors is a full-service law firm based in Weybridge, Surrey. We have a highly experienced team of property and dispute Solicitors who can assist you with any legal matter relating to planning permission. To make an appointment, please call us on 01932 840 111.