When it comes to adding a shed to your property, it’s natural to wonder about the legalities and whether you need planning permission. In the UK, there are specific guidelines surrounding the erection of garden buildings, including sheds, which are largely determined by their size, purpose, and location on your property. This guide will walk you through the essential information you need to know before adding a shed to your garden.

Understanding Planning Permission

Planning permission is a legal process designed to guide urban development and rural land use. It’s implemented to preserve the environment, regulate congested urban areas, and ensure that any addition to your property conforms to local development plans.

For many garden structures, including sheds, the need for planning permission hinges on several key factors:

1. The Size of the Shed

In many cases, sheds that are smaller and take up less than 50% of the land around the original property, "the curtilage", can be considered permitted development, thereby not requiring planning permission. However, size isn’t the only determining factor.

2. The Purpose of the Shed

Sheds intended for domestic use, such as storage or as a workshop, generally do not need planning permission. Nevertheless, if you plan to use the shed for commercial purposes or as a permanent dwelling, you will likely need to obtain planning permission.

3. The Location of the Shed

The location of your shed within your property can affect whether you need planning permission:

  • Front Garden: Placing a shed in your front garden almost always requires planning permission.
  • Designated Land: If your property is located in a conservation area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park, or a World Heritage Site, stricter limitations apply, and planning permission may be necessary for even minor additions.
  • Height Restrictions: Garden buildings that are taller than 2.5 metres and positioned within 2 metres of any boundary require planning permission.

4. Other Considerations

It’s also important to consider any additional restrictions that may apply, such as:

  • Listed Buildings: Properties that are listed have stricter rules, and almost all changes to the garden layout or structure would need consent.
  • Leasehold Agreements: If you don’t own the freehold to your property, you may need to seek permission from the landlord or managing agent before proceeding with installation.

Tips for Installing a Shed Without Planning Permission

  • Stay Within Size Limits: To avoid the need for planning permission, ensure your shed is proportional to the size of your garden and does not cover more than half of your garden space.
  • Avoid the Front Garden: Plan to place your shed in the rear or side garden to circumvent the stringent rules about front garden developments.
  • Consider the Height: Opt for a shed that is less than 2.5 metres in height if it will be within 2 metres of a boundary to comply with height restrictions.
  • Keep It Temporary: Structures intended for temporary use, such as a movable shed, often evade the need for planning permission.

It’s always a good practice to consult with your local planning authority (LPA) before constructing any new buildings or making significant changes to your property, as regulations can vary. Taking the time to understand and comply with local regulations can save you from potential fines and the need to alter or remove unapproved structures later on.


While adding a shed to your property can provide valuable storage space and enhance your garden’s aesthetic, it’s crucial to be mindful of planning permissions to ensure you adhere to legal requirements. By considering the size, purpose, location, and height of your shed, and staying informed about local guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of your new garden building without the hassle of legal complications.