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

(April 2022) 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. 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.

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

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,’ ie. your garden space. The 50% also includes any extension your home may have but does not include areas covered by the main building.

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.

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.

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