How to apply for garden office planning permission

This can be the trip hazard for many people. Obviously, if you have set your heart on a garden office you want it to work – but you really have to consider neighbours and the impact any possible building (log cabin, shed, summerhouse) will have on them. The rules governing permissions are set but having said that, if they infringe negatively on your neighbours you may be declined. There are a few simple procedures to make sure everyone is happy and you don't break local planning rules.

Talk to your neighbours

Firstly, talk to your neighbours. Tell them what you are planning and see how they will feel. This doesn't mean you will get planning permission, but at least you have them on your side (and it's only courteous anyway) Secondly, go to your local council’s website and study the information on planning. For example, on my local council site, it suggests you fill in and send an 'Enquiry questionnaire for planning and building regulations' before actually applying for permission. They promise to tell the sender whether or not a full planning permission is required. The form is basic – a few questions and I would need to supply a sketch with dimensions of the proposed building – so it doesn't take long. I'd also suggest that you phone them up and have a chat – councils are usually quite helpful.

Think about height

2.5m is the magic number – if the height of your proposed building is equal to or less than that figure then, at the moment, you can slap it anywhere in your garden. I'd still talk with the neighbours first, though. Anything higher than that enters the grey are where the council can reject the proposal even though you are allowed up to around 4m in height. Just imagine your neighbour puts up a 3m high building right up to a fence and blocks your light or 'intimidates' you in any way (what kind of neighbours do you have?!). I think you would expect the council to have a look and take a view on it.


So, it's council, council, council all the way. Even if you are absolutely sure that you are allowed to put up a building without permission, still check. It doesn't take long and you know you won't be having to pull it down if the council see it and decide it shouldn't be there in the first place.

House insurance

Then, of course, you need to ensure your house insurance is up to date to cover whatever you do in the building, and check you aren't violating the terms of anything anywhere by using your home as a place of work etc! Just phone the council, it's partly why you pay your council tax.