Planning Permission: Rules Governing Outbuildings in England (2022)

Planning permission in the UK refers to the permission needed in order to legally build on the land. Or, to change the use of your land and its existing structures. Even for garden sheds, youmayneed planning permission.

A planning application to receive planning permission needs to be made to your local planning authority (LPA) or through a planning portal. LPAs are usually the local district council or borough, and each LPA will have their own planning officer or planning consultant. They’ll also have their own website that allows the public to access necessary application forms, information on development rights and the application process, contact information, and other important documents.

When you decide to build a garden shed, a log cabin, workshop, or even a cheap summerhouse, you may need to obtain planning permission via an application for planning. Other panel constructed structures may be exempt from these provisions. Before you start your construction project, it’s crucial that you research planning provisions and building regulations in your area to determine whether you are able to own a shed without a permit.

To do so, contact your local planning department for some informal advice. It’s best to have a development plan in mind at this point. This way, even if you need to get building consent, it’s more likely to be granted.

Planning Permission: Rules Governing Outbuildings in England (2)

Planning Application– Limits and Conditions

Outbuildings and garden sheds are considered to be what’s called permitted developments. This means they shouldn’t come with any planning constraints –to a degree. Whilst they typically won’t cause contentious planning issues, before construction can get underway, there are certain limits and conditions that need to be considered.

For assistance with planning, bear in mind these planning regulations:

  • Garden sheds and outbuildings must be one story, and maximum eaves height cannot exceed 2.5 metres.
  • Overall, your shed cannot exceed 4 metres in height for a dual pitched (apex) roof is present or 3 metres with any other type of roof (pent/flat roof).
  • If a garden shed will be situated within 2 metres of a dwelling house boundary, the maximum height is 2.5 metres.
  • Eave heights cannot exceed 2.5 metres.
  • No raised platforms, balconies, or verandas.
  • Outbuildings should cover no more than half (50%) of the area that surrounds the original home.
  • Outbuildings are not allowed on land in front of a wall that forms the principal elevation.
  • With buildings, containers, and enclosures found on designated land (including natural parks and other conservation areas), planning permissions will be required.
  • Any outbuilding within the curtilage of a listed building will require planning permission.
  • Log cabins should be at least 5 metres from the main dwelling.

Remember that these planning rules are for houses and not maisonettes, flats, or other buildings. If you’re considering constructing a garden shed or another outbuilding on one of these types of premises, you should seek further guidance regarding planning laws and guidance on flats.

(Video) Permitted Development - Outbuildings

Planning Permission: Rules Governing Outbuildings in England (3)

Outbuilding Building Regulations

If you’re interested in constructing small, ancillary garden buildings like a bike store or garden or tool shed, it’s important to know your development rights. Typically, regulations won’t apply if the area touching the ground is no larger than 15 metres and there’s no sleeping accommodation inside.

If the floor area is 15-30 square metres in size, building regulations will still be unnecessary as long as there’s no sleeping accommodation for permanent living space and the structure is situated at least one metre from any boundary. A building that has been constructed from materials that are non-combustible may also be exempt from building regulation approval.

Planning Permissions for Specific Garden Structures

Whilst most typical garden sheds won’t require planning permission, other garden structures will have unique considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind if you hope to put one of these outbuildings on your property. Just remember to build any and all garden buildings on a sturdy base.

Log Cabins and Summerhouses

Planning permission rules that govern outbuildings most commonly apply to log cabins, summerhouses, and other large structures. However, the criteria for erecting a log cabin, summerhouse, or a similar building is fairly straightforward – planning permission is only needed if your structure will be larger than the above rules or used for a habitable space.


Greenhouses would be considered permitted developments for which it’s not necessary to obtain planning permission. However, it’s important to note that any greenhouse intended for construction in a front garden may well require planning permissions.

Additionally, your title documents may prevent or restrict the construction of greenhouses on your property, so you should be sure to check out title documents to verify that these provisions aren’t in place before you get to work.

(Video) The Rules of Planning Permission Explained UK | Must Watch for Land Developers

Outdoor Offices

If you are intending to use your outbuilding as a garden office, you’ll need to consider the building, its location, and the proposed use in order to determine if planning permissions are required.

Considerations include:

  • The frequency and number of expected visitors
  • The number of people who will work out of the office
  • Whether or not goods will be brought in and out of the garden office

The answers to these issues will become especially relevant if the garden office will be built in a sensitive area, like a conservation area. Additionally, while making your outbuilding into a home office is generally accepted without planning permission, if you intend to run a business out of it, you will need to seek planning permission.

When you are considering your new garden office space, you’ll also want to consider other issues that are not related to planning permission, including power and electricity supplies, Internet connections, and whether or not the building requires water and waste.

Special Considerations

Special considerations other than what colour to paint your garden building need to be taken into account in a few additional scenarios when building a garden shed, tool shed, or other outbuildingsf.

Designated Land

If your property is situated on designated land, you will have additional limitations. Designated land refers to national parks, including conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites, and the Norfolk Broads. If you live on one of these properties and are hoping to add a garden building to your property, you’ll need to follow these planning rules:

  • The maximum area to be covered by your shed found more than 20 metres away from any wall of the original house must not exceed 10 square metres in size. If these criteria are met, the shed is considered to be a permitted development.
  • When constructing a garden building on designated land, no structures will be allowed on the side of your property without requiring planning permissions.

Listed Buildings

A listed building is a structure or object that has been designated by English Heritage to be of high national importance in terms of historic interest or architecture. With these properties, there are additional rules regarding garden sheds or outbuildings, and they will require planning permissions. However, you shouldn’t let this deter you from building your garden shed, as there are still many options available to you. Whilst obtaining planning permission isn’t a difficult process, you should be sure to properly investigate the rules that govern Listed Buildings before you purchase any type of garden structure.

(Video) Planning permission laws CHANGING in the UK

For more information, check out these resources

Log Cabin Planning Permission – This quick guide breaks down everything you need to know about building rules for even more types of garden building.

When Do You Need Planning Permission? – A UK Gov guide to planning permission.

Planning Control Enforcement – The New Forest National Park explains breach of planning control procedures.

Planning Permission for Trees – This helpful guide provides suggestions regarding tree protection during property construction.

Planning Permission for Farms – Review the rules of planning permissions when building outbuildings on farmland.

Obtaining Planning Permission – This public service video from UKELA explains how to obtain planning permission.

Garden Room Planning Permissions – This quick guide discusses how to build a garden room under the Permitted Development Rules.

Garden Office Planning Permissions – This guide explains the need for planning permissions when building garden buildings or offices.

(Video) Garden Room Planning Permission & Permitted Development Rules | Green Retreats

Greenhouse Planning Permissions – This resource explains when planning permissions will be required for greenhouse construction.

Planning Permissions for Self-Build Projects – A helpful video providing tips and tricks to secure planning permissions for a self-built project.

Building Regulation Exemptions – This resource explains the Building Regulations 2010, which outlines the types of work that are exempt from Building Regulations.

Planning Permissions for Renewable Energy Projects – PlanLoCal explains how to navigate the process of obtaining planning permission for a low carbon, renewable energy project.

Planning Breaches – An explanation of what happens when you fail to obtain or comply with planning permission.

Breach of Condition Notices – A breach of conditions notice will require property owners to secure planning permission compliance.

Planning Permission For A Garden Room – Do you need planning permission for a garden room?

Garden Offices – A description of garden offices in the UK and when planning permissions are needed.

Stick Built or Kit – Learn The Pros & Cons

(Video) Garden Room Workshop: Part 2. Planning permission & Building regs

Proudly part of the REDSHED family Garden Buildings Direct Resources

Kybotech Limited, Dukeries Industrial Estate, Claylands Avenue, Worksop, S81 7BQ, United Kingdom Copyright Garden Buildings Direct Blog 2021. All rights reserved.


How big can an outbuilding be without planning permission UK? ›

Garages, sheds and other outbuildings

You can build a garage or outbuilding on your property without planning permission as long as it's of a reasonable size – no higher than 4 metres. Do bear in mind though that outbuildings cannot take up more than half of the land around the original property.

Do I need planning permission for an outbuilding UK? ›

Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, provided all the conditions are met. 1. On designated land* outbuildings to the side of the house are not permitted development.

How big can an outbuilding be before planning permission? ›

An outbuilding can not be constructed on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation. Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.

Do garden outbuildings need planning permission? ›

Most garden rooms don't require planning permission. They are classed as outbuildings, so you're allowed to build one as long as you comply with certain rules. That's as long as you have permitted development rights at your home or the area you live in.

Can I build a shed next to my Neighbours fence UK? ›

According to UK shed regulations, you do not need to seek planning permission if your shed is 2.5 metres tall (or less) and sits at least two metres from the boundary of a property – whether a fence or wall [1].

Do I need building regulations for an outbuilding? ›

When do you need them? Building regulations normally only apply to outbuildings that are above 15 square metres in floor area. You might also avoiding needing them if your outbuilding is below 30 metres, and contains no sleeping accommodation.

What is the difference between a shed and an outbuilding? ›

According to Merriam Webster's dictionary, an outbuilding is: “A building (such as a stable or woodshed) separate from and accessory to a main house.” So, technically, a shed can be considered to be an outbuilding.

Can I build a brick shed in my garden without planning permission? ›

You must apply for full planning permission to erect a garden building, greenhouse or shed in your garden. This includes timber sheds.

What size barn can I build without planning permission? ›

How big can I build a barn without planning permission? If you're constructing a barn on your land solely for agricultural use and the land is 0.5 hectares or more, you may be able to build without the need for planning permission.

What size agricultural building can I build without planning permission? ›

Planning permission is required as the total floor area (340 metres) of the two Class 6 buildings exceeds 300 square metres. Class 7 covers the housing of pigs and poultry. The exemption limits are 75 metres for individual structures and 100 metres on aggregate.

How far from a boundary can I build a shed? ›

In some areas, you are allowed to build as close as four feet away from your property line. In other places, your LPA may ask you to keep your shed 10-15 feet away from your fence. But generally, you need to maintain at least 5 feet between the further edge of your shed and the fence.

Do you need planning permission for a summerhouse? ›

The majority of summerhouses and garden rooms do not require planning permission. However, permission is required for any summerhouse which covers over half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof.

What outbuilding means? ›

Definition of outbuilding

: a building (such as a stable or a woodshed) separate from but accessory to a main house.

How close can I build to my Neighbours boundary? ›

As a rule of thumb, a build that reaches 7.2 feet is considered acceptable and anything over that we do recommend speaking to your neighbour.

Can a Neighbour attach things to my fence? ›

The short answer to this question is, of course, “no”. If you own the fence and you have not granted your neighbour permission to do so, they are not allowed to attach or nail things to your fence.

Can I put a fence up without my Neighbours permission UK? ›

Can you put up your own fence to hide or disguise it, without their permission? Generally, yes, you can, but you must make sure that your own fence is inside the boundary of your own property, and it mustn't exceed the maximum two metre height limit without planning permission.

How big can my outbuilding be UK? ›

Garden sheds and outbuildings must be one story, and maximum eaves height cannot exceed 2.5 metres. Overall, your shed cannot exceed 4 metres in height for a dual pitched (apex) roof is present or 3 metres with any other type of roof (pent/flat roof).

What buildings are exempt from building regulations? ›

Exemptions. A detached single storey building with an internal floor, no more than 30m², without bedrooms and is: less than 1m from any boundary, or. built mostly of non-combustible material.

Is a garage an outbuilding? ›

Sheds, garages, workshops, summerhouses and other garden buildings are classified as outbuildings.

Is a gazebo considered an outbuilding? ›

Outbuildings include freestanding: sheds, garages, playhouses, outdoor gyms, greenhouses, storage buildings, gazebos, patios, covered decks, back yard arbors and trellis', barns, tents, swimming pool cabanas,tree houses any other temporary structures on an owners property lot.

Do sheds devalue property? ›

Generally speaking, storage sheds do not increase the value of your home by much. However, certain types of sheds can increase your home's value by as much as $15,000.

Is a greenhouse considered an outbuilding? ›

In most cases, a standard greenhouse is what's called “an accessory building.” It falls into the category of sheds and other such structures that are permanent but don't house residents.

Can I put a shipping container in my garden UK? ›

There are some cases in which you wouldn't need to worry about planning permission at all. If you wanted to place a shipping container in your garden (perhaps as a summer house or a shed), then this wouldn't require planning permission. Despite this, you may want to consider your neighbours before doing this.

How big can I build a brick shed without planning permission UK? ›

Put simply, in most cases you will not need planning permission if your shed is:
  • under 2.5 metres tall at the eaves;
  • intended for a use that's incidental to the enjoyment of your house;
  • situated in your back garden;
  • away from property boundaries.
Oct 7, 2021

Can I build a pergola without council approval UK? ›

You will need planning permission for your pergola if it is in a conservation area or on the side of your house between the house and the boundary wall. If your house is in a conservation area and your pergola is more than 20m from the house and greater than 10 square meters, you will need planning permission.

Do farm sheds need planning permission? ›

Planning permission is required for most developments unless they are deemed exempt. In the case of farm buildings, where the size exceeds certain limits or where specific conditions are not met, the exemptions no longer apply.

Do you need council approval to convert a garage into a room? ›

You may not need planning permission, but building regulations mean that if you're converting a garage (or part of one) into habitable space, you'll normally need approval from your local authority.

What is a class Q barn? ›

The permitted development right known as Class Q was introduced to England's planning policy in 2014. It allows for 'prior approval' to convert agricultural buildings to change their use, such as converting a barn into a residential home.

Can you put a log cabin on agricultural land? ›

Commercial ventures – Log cabins are a great way to start up holiday lets or a home business. Any commercial ventures will require a full planning application. Agricultural accommodation – If you build a log cabin for agricultural workers. Then it won't be considered permitted development.

Can I put a barn up on agricultural land? ›

At present, you can erect, extend, or alter a building on agricultural land if it meets the following criteria: The agricultural land must not be less than 5 hectares in area. You cannot erect, build or alter any building classed as a dwelling. The building must be solely for the purpose of agriculture.

Are stables classed as agricultural buildings? ›

Unlike farms, equine facilities do not have any agricultural permitted development rights, meaning that most development requires planning consent. This is because horses kept for recreation, sport and business are not classed as an agricultural activity.

Can I build a shed next to my fence? ›

In order to avoid potential buildup of mold, mildew, and rot growth, it is advised that you should leave space between a fence and a shed. This allows air to flow more freely and reduces the chances of dampness between the shed and fence.

What is overshadowing in planning? ›

The overshadowing assessment calculates the impact the proposed development will have on neighbouring private and public amenity spaces, such as gardens, parks and play areas.

Can I put a shed right next to my house? ›

How Close To A House Can A Shed Be? You must avoid building a shed too close to your house. Generally, a shed must be at least 10 feet (3m) away from your home. However, you should check your location's specific zoning laws and regulations, as there may be additional limitations.

How far can you extend without planning permission UK 2022? ›

Detached House Extension Rules 2022

Under permitted development for a detached house, you can extend up to 4m under permitted development, and up to 8m under the larger home extensions scheme / prior approval.

What is the maximum size extension without planning permission? ›

The recent relaxation of permitted developments means that homeowners are now able to add extensions without needing planning permissions. You can add a home extension or conservatory up to six metres, or eight metres if your home is detached, without needing to apply for planning permission.

How close can I build to my Neighbours boundary UK? ›

Single story extensions to the side of your property to be no more than four meters in height and no wider than half the original size of the property. For those building a double extension on their property, you cannot go closer than seven meters to the boundary.


1. The ultimate guide to UK Planning rules and building regulation for garden buildings update - Bakers
(Bakers Garden Buildings)
2. Planning Permission V Permitted Development Rights
(Skill Builder)
3. Outline Planning Permission vs. FULL Planning Permission
4. What Planning Permission Do I Need? | Property Advice (UK)
(Move iQ)
5. Home Office/ Outbuildings / Garden Buildings under Permitted Development, England
6. Eligibility of your House for Permitted Development

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Prof. An Powlowski

Last Updated: 10/02/2022

Views: 5804

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. An Powlowski

Birthday: 1992-09-29

Address: Apt. 994 8891 Orval Hill, Brittnyburgh, AZ 41023-0398

Phone: +26417467956738

Job: District Marketing Strategist

Hobby: Embroidery, Bodybuilding, Motor sports, Amateur radio, Wood carving, Whittling, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Prof. An Powlowski, I am a charming, helpful, attractive, good, graceful, thoughtful, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.