Deciding to erect a fence around your property is not merely a matter of selecting the right materials or choosing a style that complements your garden. In the United Kingdom, certain regulations could impact your decision, primarily whether you need planning permission to proceed. Navigating these rules can be a tad bewildering, so we're here to simplify things and guide you through the process.

Understanding Planning Permission

First, it's crucial to understand what planning permission is. Planning permission is a formal approval from your local planning authority, allowing you to proceed with a building project. This system is designed to regulate development, ensuring that individual projects do not negatively impact their surroundings or the broader community.

General Guidelines for Fences, Gates, and Garden Walls

Fortunately, in many cases, fences, gates, and garden walls can be erected without the need for planning permission. However, there are specific conditions where permission is required. According to the UK's planning portal, you will not need planning permission for your fence if:

  • It's not higher than 2 metres.
  • For fences located next to a highway used by vehicles, the maximum height without planning permission is 1 metre.
  • The fence is not part of a conservation area, a listed building, or falls within an area of outstanding natural beauty.

However, if your plans exceed these limitations or your property is subject to specific conditions, you will need to seek planning permission.

When You Might Need Planning Permission

Here are some circumstances where planning permission for a fence might be necessary:

  • Height: If you intend to erect a fence over 2 metres tall.
  • Proximity to a Highway: If the fence is by the roadside and over 1 metre in height.
  • Historic or Special Areas: If your property is in a conservation area, part of a listed building, or within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, special rules apply.
  • Conditions in Place: If there are conditions attached to the original planning permission of your property restricting such development.

How to Apply for Planning Permission

If your garden fencing project does fall under the criteria requiring planning permission, don’t worry. Here's how you can apply:

  1. Contact Your Local Planning Authority (LPA): Your first step should be contacting your local council's planning department. They can provide specific advice and requirements for your situation.
  2. Submit a Planning Application: This can usually be done online via the Planning Portal website. You'll need to provide details of your proposal and any required plans or drawings.
  3. Application Review Process: The LPA will review your application, which may involve consulting with neighbours and publicising the plans to give others a chance to comment.
  4. Decision: After reviewing all comments and considerations, the LPA will make a decision. If granted, you may proceed; if denied, they’ll provide reasons.

Tips Before You Start Building

  • Talk to Your Neighbours: Before you start, it’s courteous (and sometimes enlightening) to discuss your plans with adjacent neighbours. This can prevent disputes and even provide valuable insights.
  • Consider Hiring Professionals: If your fencing project is complex or involves applying for planning permission, consulting with an architect or builder experienced in local planning laws can be invaluable.
  • Check for Tree Preservation Orders: If your fencing might affect any trees, ensure there are no Tree Preservation Orders in place that could affect your plans.


In many cases, you won’t need planning permission to install a fence around your garden. Still, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Before you buy materials or start building, make sure to review your local authority's regulations regarding planning permission. Taking the time to understand these rules and follow them can save you from potential headaches, fines, or having to dismantle your hard work. Taking an informed approach ensures your garden project enhances your home without causing legal issues.