Trellises are a popular choice for many gardeners in the United Kingdom, providing a beautiful and practical solution for climbing plants and adding an extra layer of privacy to outdoor spaces. One of the questions that often arise for garden enthusiasts is whether a trellis can be higher than a fence, especially when it comes to planning permissions and regulations. This article will discuss the ins and outs of trellis height and offer useful advice for homeowners and gardeners looking to install a trellis in their gardens.

Understanding Trellis and Fences

A trellis is a structure made of intersecting wood or metal pieces that create a pattern of squares or diamonds. The purpose of a trellis is typically to provide support for climbing plants, flowers, or even small trees. On the other hand, a fence is a structure that provides privacy, security, and demarcation of property boundaries.

It is not unusual for homeowners to combine fences and trellises, attaching the latter on top of the former to create an attractive, functional garden feature. However, when it comes to the height of these structures, certain rules and regulations need to be considered.

Height Regulations in the United Kingdom

In the UK, there are planning permissions that apply to fencing and other garden structures. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the ensuing General Permitted Development Order provide guidelines for the installation of fencing and trellises. In general, these regulations limit the height of fences and other boundary structures without planning permission in residential areas.

  • The maximum height of a fence, wall, or gate without requiring planning permission is limited to 1 metre when adjoining a highway used by vehicles, or a footpath next to the highway.
  • For all other cases, the maximum height allowed is 2 metres.
  • If a fence or other structure is built on a raised platform, such as decking, the platform height must also be considered in these measurements.

These regulations also cover trellises attached to fences. However, there is a bit of leeway when dealing with the height of the trellis alone.

The Trellis Height Debate

The height limit for fences combined with trellises can be confusing and a subject of debate. While the above-mentioned regulations focus on fences and walls, they do not explicitly mention trellises as standalone structures. This has led to a common interpretation that adding a trellis to a fence can be considered permitted development if the overall height does not exceed the 2-metre limit, meaning that the trellis can indeed be higher than the fence itself.

However, it is crucial to note that every local council may interpret the regulations differently, and it is always recommended to consult with your local planning authority before installing a higher trellis. In cases where a trellis significantly exceeds the height limits, planning permission may be necessary.


While it appears that, in general, a trellis can be higher than a fence, it is essential to bear in mind the local regulations and potential planning permissions required. Consulting your local planning authority in advance and working closely with neighbours to ensure harmony in the community are good practices to follow when considering the height of your trellis.

In summary, gardeners can be creative and construct their dream gardens by striking a balance between creating an attractive, functional space and adhering to important rules and regulations.