Do You Need Planning Permission for a Summer House?

UK Sheds guide to the legal and visual considerations for garden buildings

When considering adding a summer house to your garden, it's important to understand whether planning permission is required. Fortunately, summer houses are generally classified as 'permitted developments,' meaning you typically don't need planning permission if you adhere to specific rules.

Key Rules for Summer Houses:

  1. Proximity to Boundary: If your summer house is within 2 metres of the property boundary, the building’s total height (including the roof) must not exceed 2.5 metres.
  2. Distance from Boundary: If the summer house is more than 2 metres from the property boundary, the maximum eaves height must be under 2.5 metres. For roofs, a pent or hip roof can have a total height of up to 3 metres, while an apex roof can reach up to 4 metres.
  3. Size and Location: The internal area of the summer house must not exceed 30m², and it should not be installed in front of the property.
  4. Land Coverage: The summer house and any other garden rooms must not occupy more than 50% of the land around the original house.
  5. Usage: The summer house must not be used as self-contained accommodation.

As buildings increase in size, they tend to increase in height, but we can manufacture most of our UK sheds and summer houses to be under 2.5 metres if needed. Always check with your local council, as planning permission regulations can vary depending on location. For more detailed information, you can visit the government Planning Portal.

Legal Considerations for Garden Buildings:

There are planning rules that govern all outbuildings, including garden rooms, summer houses, contemporary summer houses and metal sheds. Generally, you do not need to seek planning permission for an outbuilding if it is at the back or side of the house, does not take up more than 50% of the space, and is ancillary to the main building.

Exceptions and Restrictions:

  • If the outbuilding is within 2 metres of your boundary, it should be no taller than 2.5 metres at its highest point. Always check with the local planning authority as these measurements can vary by county and region.
  • Elsewhere in the garden, buildings with an apex roof can be up to 4 metres high, while other roof types are limited to 3 metres, with eaves no higher than 2.5 metres.

In designated areas such as national parks or conservation areas, planning permission might be required regardless of the height of your bespoke summer house.

Regional Differences:

Planning permission rules can differ across England, Scotland, and Wales, and even between counties. Scotland, for example, is stricter about boundaries. Common to all regions is the relaxed attitude towards outbuildings under 2.5 metres in height. Nonetheless, always verify with your local council, especially if you live in a conservation area.

Visual Considerations:

When planning your garden room, consider how its height will look in situ. Ensure it is proportionate to nearby structures to avoid it appearing out of place. Additionally, allow for air circulation under your summer house to prevent damp and rot. Remember, the base of the building can add up to 20cm to the overall height.

Researching Planning Permission:

If in doubt, check before purchasing and installing a summer house. Your local council’s website is a good starting point, offering clear information on planning permission rules. For more in-depth regulations, you can refer to government websites for England, Scotland, and Wales.

By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, you can confidently add a beautiful wooden summer house or garden room to your property in Norfolk, enhancing your outdoor space without the hassle of planning permission issues.