Garden Office Planning Permission

A question we are frequently asked is “Do I need planning permission if I am going to use a garden office for business use?” We asked the experts at for their advice, and this is what they recommend:


There are two aspects to garden rooms and the need for planning permission – the building itself and the business use proposed within it.

The Building

Government rules on ‘Permitted Development’ are highly relevant and since October 2008, are more generous than previously:

  • Outbuildings and other additions must not be more than 50% of the garden
  • Outbuildings must be single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof, or 3 metres in any other case (If an outbuilding is within 2 metres of a boundary, it cannot be higher than 2.5 metres);

The Planning Portal interactive guide is useful to ascertain if a garden room falls within Permitted Development rules.  If not, then planning permission will be required.

The above is only a summary of what can be achieved outside designated land, (ie. Conservation Areas, etc.) and professional advice should be sought to be sure planning permission is not required.

The Use

Whether a use requires planning permission is, in legal terms a matter of ‘fact and degree’ and Planning Permission may be required, dependent upon the intensity of the use. This is especially the case if the use goes beyond what is considered as ‘ancillary to the main dwelling house’ (even if the garden room itself falls within the definition of permitted development as set out above).

Issues to consider include the type of work (eg. whether it is solely desk/computer based or involves goods being brought to site) and the numbers of staff and visitors and any traffic, noise etc. that may result, (eg. an occasional visitor turning up for professional advice will have little impact – no more than say the visit of a family friend – compared to 20 customers per day arriving to collect goods).  The impact of these activities may be considered greater if the property were situated in a sensitive location, such as a Conservation Area.

If the use is prominent and noticeable or were to intensify over time as the business grew then the threat of Planning Enforcement Action by the Local Council may arise when they become aware of the use. In some cases it may be advisable for a Certificate of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD) to be submitted to the Council to ascertain their view on whether the proposed use is ‘Permitted Development’ or not. Interpretations can differ from one place to another, so always seek professional advice.

Brian Gatenby RIBA

Architect and Planning Consultant

For more professional advice visit the Get-Planning website


Visit the Garden Spaces websiteVisit the eDEN Garden Rooms websiteVisit the Gembuild website for garden offices & studiosFind out more about Green Studios Visit the Booths Garden Studios websiteVisit the Timeless Garden Rooms website Visit the Smart Garden Offices websiteVisit the Hideouts websiteVisit the ModBox Spaces websiteVisit the My Eco Space websiteSee what a garden room will look like in your garden