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Do I need planning permission to make changes to my garden?

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With summer just around the corner, many people are planning to make changes to their gardens. Some changes might be extensive, including decking, a garden office, fences or a total landscaping overhaul. While you generally won’t need permission to plant your favourite flowers, bigger projects may require planning permission. In this article, we look at different garden projects and whether you might need to think about getting permission before going ahead.

What is Permitted Development?

The law allows you to carry out certain types of home and garden work under Permitted Development, which means that you will not be required to obtain planning permission, subject to compliance with the applicable restrictions and conditions. Permitted Development has very strict requirements for each type of development, including factors such as height, size, whether there are neighbouring properties and whether you are near a main road.  Additional restrictions also apply in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas, and land within World Heritage Sites.

Do I need planning permission to put up a wall or fence?

Generally speaking, under Permitted Development, you can build, improve, maintain or alter a fence, wall or other enclosure. However, the work must remain within the below limitations:

  • The height of the wall or fence must not exceed 1 metre if it is adjacent to a highway;
  • The height of any other wall, fence, gate or other enclosure must not exceed two metres;
  • You cannot carry out such work under Permitted Development if you live in a listed building.

Do I need planning permission to build a shed, summerhouse or garden office?

If you want to add a shed for storage, a garden office or a summer house, you may be able to do so under Permitted Development. However, the total area of outbuildings must not exceed 50% of your total area of ‘curtilage,’ i.e. your garden space. The 50% limit covers all buildings and will therefore include any existing or proposed new extensions to the original house, as well as existing and proposed outbuildings.   It is also worth checking that any previous planning permission granted in respect of the original house or any extension to it, did not remove the permitted development rights afforded to householders.  In such a case sheds or other outbuildings would require planning permission from the local planning authority.

Do I need planning permission for decking?

You do not need planning permission for garden decking, so long as you meet certain criteria. The main concern for many is that the decking platforms cannot be more than 30cm from the ground and subject to the other limits and conditions under the Permitted Development Right.   Verandahs, balconies and raised platforms are not Permitted Development and will require planning permission.

Do I need planning permission for landscaping?

Generally, garden design such as returfing a lawn area, adding garden paving or creating flower beds will not require planning permission. The rules for walls, fences and other enclosures are set out above. However, you should be mindful of pruning trees. Certain types of trees are protected under Tree Preservation Orders, so you may wish to check with your local council before cutting down or significantly pruning a tree.


If you require advice from our Commercial Property team, please contact your local office, or complete our online enquiry form.