Little known rules mean you do NOT need planning permission to build in your garden

Improving your home or garden doesn’t have to be stressful – as long as you follow these planning rules.

Here’s what you need to know before you start working.

Garden improvements can add thousands of pounds to your home.


Garden improvements can add thousands of pounds to your home.Credit: Getty

Hiring a planner can be expensive – and if you follow the rules, you don’t have to.

Home and garden improvements can add thousands of pounds to your home’s value.

And most cosmetic improvements no planning permission required.

But if you want to add exterior windows or if there are zoning restrictions on your property documents, you will need the council to proceed.

If you want to build in garden, here are some lesser-known planning permissions you must get first – and what you can do without the app.

Garden shed

Building a shed, a garden office, or a typical Wendy’s house will not require planning permission.

But if they are larger than 15 square feet, sleep in or take up more than half of your garden, zoning permit requirements apply.

Fence height

Not many people know the boundary fence rules, but they are simple enough to remember.

For most people, 2m is the magic maximum number to consider for your fence height.

If you live next to a highway, 1m is the limit.

Significant ‘Earth in motion’

If you are undertaking a large garden project such as uprooting a tree or constructing a concrete building, you may need to obtain permission for engineering work.

Earth-moving work that is considered ‘critical’ requires planning permission, but smaller projects do not.

Local governments vary in their definitions, so if you have a large project you should consult experts, attorneys – and possibly your neighbors – first.

Use your space wisely

Keeping the rules of adding windows and doors in mind to the outside, you don’t need to plan to allow the transformation of unused space in your home or garden.

And to keep costs low and reduce the risk of neighbors complaining, don’t change the exterior walls like adding a bedroom window.

One more room

The one-story rear extension is the most common and easiest construction to do using your permissions.

The allowed growth rules mean you can do this easily as long as they don’t grow more than 4m tall.

All you need is a pre-approval certificate, which costs £96 – hundreds of pounds cheaper than the alternative.

How to get your plans signed, stamped and delivered

A legal development certificate is a legal confirmation that you have the right to plan for home and garden renovation.

Only the more ambitious developments will require these – and they will cost you around £1,250, including the £600 registration fee.

So keep in mind what you’re trying to build, keep the ground rules in mind, and do your best to avoid costly planning.

Andrew Cann, director of Planning Direct, tells us: “Getting a Legal Development Certificate will help you avoid the costly demolition process or the inability to sell your home in the future.

“Simplify it because if you start complicating the design, construction and building materials, your costs will increase.

“Try to hire self-employed staff to save on VAT costs.”

If you need financial help with your home renovation, Citizens Advice recommends some top tips.

And if you want to start working right away, here’s information on whether The local garden center is open over Christmas.

My teenage daughter moved out of our housing association because she was so embarrassed her moldy walls fell into disrepair.

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Bobby Allyn

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