Garden Office Guide: Planning Permission


In many cases garden offices don’t require planning permission but as the householder you should be absolutely sure about planning permission before starting any building work, in the worst case scenario you could be made to down your garden office if it does not comply with planning regulations.

In England garden offices fall into Permitted Development, these are rules that allow home owners to do certain improvements without applying for full planning permission, if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you need to look at the relevant countries section on the Governments Planning Portal.

If you live in a Listed Building, a National Park, The Broads, an area of Outstanding Beauty or a World Heritage site then you will need to apply for planning permission for your garden office – whatever.

There are some specific rules relating to the size and positioning of a garden office for it to comply with Permitted Development rules, we’ll list each taken from the Planning Portal and try to explain them.

No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation

This rule says you can’t place your garden office in the front garden without planning permission; a garden office needs to be situated behind the front wall of your house.

Outbuildings 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.

Garden offices should only be single storey to comply with Permitted Development rules, if you want a second floor in your garden office you will need to apply for planning permission. This rule is also saying that the garden office should have a maximum eaves height of 2.5m and a dual pitched roof should be no taller than 4m at the ridge and single pitched roofs no taller than 3m at the ridge.

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 dwelling house.

If the garden office is to be placed within 2m of the boundary line then it should be no higher than 2.5m to comply – you will need to look at a flat roofed garden office to meet this height requirement.

If you are opting for a garden office with single pitched roof it will need to be placed more than 2m away from your garden’s boundaries and be no higher than 2.5m at the eaves and 3m at the ridge, a dual pitched roof will also need to be placed more than 2m away from the boundary line and should be no higher than 2.5m at the eaves and 4m high at the ridge.

No verandas, balconies or raised platforms

Your garden office shouldn’t have a raised balcony, deck or veranda to comply with Permitted Development rules.

No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.

Extensions to your house, sheds, garages, greenhouses and garden offices should not cover more than 50% of your garden to comply with this rule. The term original house means as the house was before any extensions.

Your garden office supplier will be able to advise you regarding planning permission, but at the end of the day it’s your responsibility to check your status, we always recommend that people have a word with their local planning department before starting work – they’re not the enemy!

We hope this article makes the subject a little clearer, planning permission is one of the main concerns of garden office buyers and the suppliers are there to support you through the process, many will actually handle the application for your if planning is needed. It’s worth mentioning that in 13+ years we never had an application for a garden office turned down and many of the garden office suppliers in this guide have a 100% success rate when it comes to planning permission.

In the next chapter of this guide to buying a garden office we look at site visits.

This article is intended as a guide and is not designed to be a definitive source on the subject, please refer to the Planning Portal for more information.

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