Gardens and Planning Permission – What You Need to Know

Getting on the property ladder is not an easy thing at the moment, with a high barrier to entry comprising both hiked mortgage rates and high-valued properties. As such, many first-time buyers are moderating their expectations, and downgrading to cheaper or smaller properties elsewhere.

If this is you, you needn’t be discouraged; buying cheaper gives you the opportunity to shape your home in your own image, including renovations and extensions that turn your property into your dream home. But with regard to your garden, there could be some logistical considerations – chiefly in the form of planning permission.

Understanding Planning Permission

Planning permission is a regulatory requirement for certain construction or renovation projects. In essence, the planning permission system exists to prevent homeowners or property developers negatively impacting the character of a neighbourhood, whether by inconveniencing other residents or making problematic alterations to older properties.

Planning permission is granted by your Local Planning Authority, or LPA, in turn linked to your local council. In the event that you proceed with a work that required planning permission, without having been granted planning permission, the LPA can compel you to reverse work done at personal cost.

Determining When Planning Permission Is Required for Your Garden

Planning permission is typically required for renovation works such as extension, where the boundaries of a property are expanded beyond their original foundations. But this isn’t the only situation in which planning permission is required; there are also garden-related works that can require you to seek permission first.

Granted, many garden projects fall under the ‘permitted development’, meaning you can proceed with your work without seeking formal permission. The building of an outhouse or garden shed generally falls under permitted development – unless the outhouse in question is projected to use more than half your garden’s space. Replacing the fence boundaries around your garden is also a permitted development, provided your new fence remains below two metres in height (or one metre if bounded by a road).

Applying for Planning Permission

As touched upon above, planning permission is applied for via your local council. Approaching your Local Planning Authority prior to submitting a formal application is recommended, as some more targeted advice can be given regarding the nature of your project, the likelihood of planning permission success and any potential changes you could make to your plans to improve your chances.

There are two principal ways to engage with the planning permission process. You can either submit a detailed plan of your prospective works as part of a full application, or you can give general information on your plans for outline planning permission – a sort of permission-in-principle.

As a domestic homeowner, practically every possible iteration of your potential project would fall under the ‘householder’ bracket. Householder applications tend to be in the region of £200, whether full or outline; costs, however, do differ from council authority to council authority.