You won’t need planning permission for your shed in most cases, as long as you stick to a few simple guidelines. See below for a full list of restrictions set out by the planning authority. All construction projects will be governed by your local council, which will have the final say on matters concerning any outbuildings you construct in your garden. If you are unsure of any of the rules, regulations and restrictions set out on the Planning Portal (as described in this guide) you should contact them for advice.
Most sheds are considered permitted development, meaning you have the right to construct one in your garden without planning permission. Read on below for all the exceptions to what is considered a permitted development.
This post details planning restrictions for outbuildings within the UK, but more specifically in England. Outbuildings consist of sheds, playhouses, greenhouses and garages and may also include other similar structures used in the garden, such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna cabins, dog kennels, fenced areas (including tennis courts), and any other type of structure used for purposes related to enjoying the main house.
A lean-to veranda, attached to the house, will also have restrictions in place but these are slightly different to those listed below. You can read my DIY veranda build guide for more details.
Table of Contents
- List of restrictions for building a garden shed
- Garden building restrictions in more detail
- 1. No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
- 2. 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.
- 3. Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
- 4. No verandas, balconies or raised platforms (a platform must not exceed 0.3 metres in height)
- 5. No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
- 6. In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from the house to be limited to 10 square metres.
- 7. On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
- 8. Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.
- What is the maximum size shed without planning permission UK?
- What is planning permission?
- What is permitted development?
- How do I seek planning permission?
- Can I build a shed next to my neighbour’s fence?
- What is the maximum size summerhouse without planning permission?
- What is the best type of shed base?
- Can I sleep in my shed?
- Further reading
List of restrictions for building a garden shed
Sheds are considered permitted developments, not requiring planning applications if they meet the following limits and conditions:
- No outbuilding 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.
- Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
- No verandas, balconies or raised platforms (a platform must not exceed 0.3 metres in height)
- No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
- In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from the house to be limited to 10 square metres.
- On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
- Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.
If you are looking to build your own shed from scratch or construct a flat-pack shed then you will need to understand each of these restrictions.
Before I go into more detail, here are a couple of the most asked questions about planning permission for outbuildings.
The most common restriction homeowners face is when they want a building within 1 metre of boundary. If you want to place a garden building within two meters of a boundary then the height must not exceed 2.5m. See below (Point 3) for more details.
All sheds from Garden Buildings Direct comply with these restrictions. View their range here.
Do I need to apply for planning permission or contact a local planning officer if I think my garden building is considered permitted development? No, if you believe your garden building is not impeaching on any of the restrictions listed here then you can go ahead with your building. If however you are unsure about any of these then it’s advisable to speak to your local planning authority to ask for their advice. They will be able to give you the thumbs up or point you in the direction of a planning application.
Garden building restrictions in more detail
1. No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
This means that there can’t be any additional structures built in front of the main building, where the front wall of the main building is located. The principal elevation of your house will be the wall (or walls) closest to the nearest highway or road. This image demonstrates the restriction where two walls form the principal elevation.
I know this is an American-style house but it helps me demonstrate this restriction. The light blue line shows the principal elevations, whilst the red line shows the area that cannot have an outbuilding constructed. For example; a shed cannot be constructed on this side of the line. Note that there are two principal elevations on this house. You cannot build in front of either.
2. 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.
This is pretty clear cut and can easily be demonstrated in the below image. Just be sure to read the next point before you go any further! (If your shed is to be located within 2m of a neighbouring boundary.)
3. Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
If you’re planning to build your shed within 2m of a neighbouring boundary then the overall maximum height cannot exceed 2.5 meters. This rule will affect the majority of people which is why most shed manufactures will ensure their designs are within this size.
What is the curtilage of a dwelling?
The term “curtilage” refers to a legally defined concept that encompasses the enclosed space of ground and buildings in close proximity to a dwelling-house. It represents the immediate surroundings and open space situated within a common enclosure that belongs to a residential property. The curtilage typically includes the areas that are functionally and intimately connected to the dwelling-house, serving as an extension of the private living space.
By encompassing not only the dwelling itself but also the adjacent grounds and buildings, the curtilage provides legal recognition and protection to the overall residential property. It establishes a boundary that distinguishes the private domain from the public or neighboring spaces. In essence, it serves as a spatial demarcation that signifies the extent of privacy, security, and exclusivity associated with a dwelling-house.
Can I build a shed within 1 meter of a boundary? Building within 1 meter of a boundary is perfectly legal as long as the overall structure height does not exceed 2.5 meters
4. No verandas, balconies or raised platforms (a platform must not exceed 0.3 metres in height)
A raised platform cannot be higher than 30cm from the floor. This includes decking areas, balconies, verandas and any other platform that can be walked on. If you are intending to build your shed on a decking area you must ensure it is not raised above 30cm.
This rule can be complicated when you have a garden located on a slope or uneven ground. The question many people ask is; where is the 30cm point measured? From the lowest point or from the highest point?
There is a lot of debate around this subject and in many ways, it would be best to confirm with your local authority. It’s also a great idea to chat with your neighbours and talk them through your plans. That way you will be able to gauge whether the shed (or outbuilding) will be an issue. If your neighbours aren’t opposed to the structure then you’re pretty safe.
Here are some extracts from the official documentation on the matter. These state that the height should be measured from the area closest to the ground. The section on the right in the above image.
You can read the full guide here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/permitted-development-rights-for-householders-technical-guidance
“Height” – references to height (for example, the heights of the eaves on a house
extension) is the height measured from ground level. (Note, ground level is the surface of
the ground immediately adjacent to the building in question, and would not include any
addition laid on top of the ground such as decking. Where ground level is not uniform (for
example if the ground is sloping), then the ground level is the highest part of the surface of
the ground next to the building.)
And building is defined as:
“Building” – includes any part of a building and includes any structure or erection, but does
not include mechanical plant or machinery or gates, fences, walls, or other means of
From this document, it should be understood that the measurement is taken from the point closest to the ground. As described above, always talk to neighbours and use common sense that your shed platform is not going to impact anyone around you.
You can read more about building a shed base on uneven ground in my other post. Follow the button below for the full article.
5. No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
*The term “original house” means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.
In the below example, we can see that the total number of garden buildings does not take up more than 50% of the area surrounding the original house. It doesn’t matter if you have one, or several buildings, you cannot take up more than 50%.
6. In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from the house to be limited to 10 square metres.
This will not apply to most of us out there. Only if you live in, or on one of these designated areas should you adhere to this rule. If you do fall within this category your shed will be limited to a footprint of no more than 10 square meters.
When measuring the 20m, the measurement is taken from any part of the original house. As shown in this image.
7. On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
If you are included in one of the designated land categories in section 6 then you will not be permitted to build your shed to the side of your house.
8. Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.
For this final point, the restriction only applies to those who live in listed buildings. If this is the case then no outbuildings, including sheds can be built without planning consent from your local authority.
We can apply a lot of common sense when planning the best location and size for our sheds. These restrictions and rules are put in place to protect each other from placing structures that might impose on each other. After all, you wouldn’t want someone to build a shed that blocks out most of your natural sunlight or prevents you from seeing natural scenery from your house.
You can read the full technical guidance on the Governments website: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/830643/190910_Tech_Guide_for_publishing.pdf
With consideration and communication, we can all find a solution that works and doesn’t infringe on anyone. Stick within these rules and there shouldn’t be any cause for concern. If in doubt, talk to your neighbours and failing that check with your local planning authority for the green light on your perfect shed design and location.
Here are a few common questions on the subject.
What is the maximum size shed without planning permission UK?
In the UK, the footprint of a shed can be up to 15 square meters before requiring building regulations. You will not need to apply for planning permission if your shed takes up less than 50% of your garden and is less than 2.5m tall. If your shed is located more than 2m from a neighbouring boundary then the overall height can be up to 4m for a dual-pitched roof or 3m for any other type of roof. Even small sheds can be subject to planning but in the majority of cases this won’t be an issue.
What is planning permission?
Planning permission in the UK refers to the approval granted by local authorities to develop or use land for a specific purpose. It is required for most building works, changes of use, and other physical changes to land and buildings. The planning permission process involves a review of the proposed development against local planning policies and regulations to determine if it is acceptable in terms of land use, design, and impact on the surrounding area.
What is permitted development?
Permitted development in the UK refers to a type of planning permission that allows certain types of building works and changes to land and buildings to be carried out without the need for a full planning application. This means that, under certain conditions, the development can go ahead without the need for formal consent from the local planning authority. The scope of permitted development rights can vary depending on the type of property, its location, and the nature of the proposed work. Examples of permitted development include the extension of a dwelling, the conversion of a loft space, and the erection of a fence.
How do I seek planning permission?
To seek planning permission in the UK, you need to follow these steps:
- Determine if you need planning permission: Some types of development may be exempt from the requirement for planning permission (such as permitted development) or may be subject to less stringent conditions.
- Research local planning policies: Before submitting a planning application, you should familiarize yourself with the relevant local planning policies and regulations that apply to your proposed development.
- Prepare and submit a planning application: This involves filling out an application form, providing detailed drawings and plans of the proposed development, and paying a fee. You may also need to provide additional information such as a design and access statement, environmental impact assessment, and heritage statement. You can find the planning application form here: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/planning/planning-applications
- Consult with neighbours and relevant authorities: Your local planning authority may consult with neighbours and other relevant authorities, such as the Environment Agency or English Heritage, to gather additional information.
- Wait for a decision: The local planning authority will assess your application and make a decision within a specified period of time, usually within 8-13 weeks. If your application is approved, you will be issued with a planning permission certificate.
It’s recommended to seek the advice of a planning consultant or professional, such as an architect or surveyor, to help with the planning application process.
Can I build a shed next to my neighbour’s fence?
Yes, you can build a shed next to a neighbouring boundary as long as no part of the shed touches or overhangs the fence. you will however want to ensure the shed is at least 50cm from the fence to allow for access. You will want to leave some space for maintenance reasons. Your shed needs to be protected to ensure a long life. Not only for the shed but also for any repairs required to the fence.
If you decide to construct a massive shed of more than 15 square meters, but less than 30 square meters then the shed needs to be constructed at least 1m away from a neighbour’s boundary or constructed from a none combustible material.
What is the maximum size summerhouse without planning permission?
A summer house cannot take up more than 50% of the total garden area surrounding your house, cannot be taller than 3m or 2.5m if it’s within 2m of a neighbouring boundary, A summer house constitutes an outbuilding and all the above rules and restrictions apply.
Do you have your own shed-related question? Please ask me in the comments below and I will respond as soon as possible.
What is the best type of shed base?
This will vary from location to location and will depend on the type of ground on which you plan to build your shed. Some shed bases are suited for flat surfaces whilst others might suit a sloped garden. Have a look at my full guide on how to build a shed base for all the pros and cons of each type of shed base.
Can I sleep in my shed?
Sleeping in any kind of garden building is not prohibited within the UK unless the building has signed off on building regulations and planning consent. Even if you wish to sleep in there for a night or two you will need to apply for planning.
In the UK, it is not legal to live permanently or sleep in a shed. The shed must be used as a garden building and not as a place of habitation. However, if you have planning permission, you may be able to convert your shed into a living space.