In the UK, where garden design and privacy play pivotal roles in the aesthetic and utility of outdoor spaces, the question of whether a trellis is considered a fence is both relevant and interesting. This query not only touches on the subject of garden landscaping but also dips into legal implications regarding boundary definitions and privacy regulations.

Before we unravel this query, it's crucial to understand that the definitions and regulations surrounding garden boundaries can become quite intricate, reflecting the rich tapestry of British gardening and property rights history.

Understanding the Trellis

A trellis is an open framework or lattice of interwoven or intersecting pieces of wood, bamboo, or metal typically used to support climbing plants or trees. They are popular in British gardens for their ability to add beauty and character to outdoor spaces, as well as for the practical function of supporting plant growth.

The Legal Perspective

From a legal standpoint in the UK, the definition of a fence is broader than what one might initially assume. Essentially, any structure used to mark the boundary of property, offer privacy, or provide security can be considered a fence. This definition does indeed encompass trellises when they are used as boundary markers or to add privacy to a garden.

However, the inclusion of a trellis within the category of fences becomes particularly pertinent when considering issues like planning permission, height restrictions, and boundary disputes.

Planning Permission and Height Restrictions

In the UK, planning permissions are guided by regulations outlined in the Town and Country Planning Act. According to these regulations, fences, walls, and gates do not require planning permission if they do not exceed 2 metres in height above ground level. However, if your trellis is atop a wall or fence and the total height exceeds 2 metres, you may need to seek planning permission.

It's also worth noting that if your home is listed or located within a conservation area, you might need to obtain consent even for changes that would generally not require permission.

Boundary Disputes

Another aspect where the classification of a trellis as a fence becomes significant is in the realm of boundary disputes. Such disputes can often arise when one party believes a new structure infringes on their property or view. Given that trellises can be considered fences, they are subject to the same laws and regulations that apply to any boundary or privacy structure. Therefore, it's advisable to discuss plans with neighbours and potentially consult with your local council before erecting a trellis, especially if it's near the perimeter of your property.

Best Practices

When considering adding a trellis to your garden as a fence or decorative feature, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Check Local Regulations: Before installation, check with your local council to ensure your planned trellis complies with local planning permission requirements, especially concerning height.
  • Consider Your Neighbours: Avoid disputes by discussing your plans with adjacent homeowners, particularly if the trellis will be close to property boundaries.
  • Professional Installation: To ensure that your trellis stands the test of time and weather, consider professional installation, especially for larger structures that might significantly impact privacy or boundaries.


In summarising, a trellis can indeed be considered a fence in the UK when it serves a similar purpose, such as marking a boundary or providing privacy. Given the potential legal and communal implications, it's prudent for homeowners to proceed with awareness and care. By following local regulations and engaging in open communication with neighbours, adding a trellis to your garden can be a wonderful way to enhance both its beauty and functionality.