As the warm embrace of summer draws near, many homeowners find themselves dreaming of creating a serene retreat in their garden—a cosy summer house where they can unwind, entertain guests, or simply escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. However, amidst the excitement of envisioning the perfect outdoor oasis, one crucial aspect often overlooked is planning permission. Navigating the intricacies of local regulations and obtaining the necessary approvals can seem daunting, but fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about planning permission for summer houses, empowering you to turn your garden dreams into reality while staying compliant with the law.
In general, smaller summer houses strategically placed within a back garden often fall under the category of “permitted developments,” sparing homeowners the need for planning permission. These charming structures are usually exempt from the rigours of obtaining approval, granted they adhere to specific guidelines. These guidelines are as follows:

1. Proximity to boundary:

  • If the summer house is situated within two metres of the property boundary, its maximum overall height (including the roof) must not exceed 2.5 metres.
  • If the summer house is positioned over two metres from your property’s boundary, the maximum eaves height should be under 2.5 metres.

2. Roof type specifications:

  • A summer house featuring a pent or hip roof can extend up to three metres in total height.
  • For a summer house with an apex roof, the total height allowance is up to four metres.

3. Size and placement restrictions:

  • Internally, the summer house must not exceed 30m² and should not be installed in front of the property.
  • Ensure that the combined area of the summer house and other garden buildings does not surpass 50% of the total land around the house.

4. Usage limitation:

  • The summer house should not be used as self-contained accommodation.

5. Additional regulations:

  • Specific rules may apply to areas of interest such as national parks or listed buildings.

6. Height flexibility:

  • While larger structures typically correlate with increased height, most of our garden buildings can be manufactured to remain under 2.5 metres tall if necessary.

7. Ensure compliance:

  • It’s crucial to verify with your local council regarding planning permission regulations, as these can vary by location.

This list provides an overview; further clarification on what permitted development is and which outbuildings are considered to be permitted development can be found here. Alternatively, please refer to the government Planning Portal.


1. What Size Summer House Can I Have Without Planning Permission?

Approval is required for any summer house with an internal floor area of more than thirty square metres. Plus, planning permission will be required if the summer house does not adhere to the permitted development guidelines listed above.

2. How Close Can I Build A Summer House To My Neighbours’ Fence?

According to planning regulations, there are generally no strict limitations on how close you can build to the boundary between your property and your neighbour’s. However, building regulations advise maintaining a minimum distance of one metre from the boundary. If you choose to build closer, the structure should be constructed using non-combustible materials.

3. How Far Does A Summer House Have To Be From A Boundary?

Provided your summer house adheres to the following conditions outlined in planning laws mentioned above:

  • Construction occurs within two metres (6.6 feet) of the property boundary.
  • The eaves height of the summerhouse does not exceed 2.5 metres (8.25 feet).

4. Do You Need Planning Permission For A Summer House With Toilet?

Most summer houses equipped with toilets are typically categorised as permitted development, and therefore, exempt from requiring planning permission. However, it is advisable to verify with your local planning authority for confirmation.

In fact, we always recommend checking any plans you have with your local planning authority before commencing work.

By verifying your plans, you can address any specific requirements or restrictions related to the size, placement, and appearance of outbuildings, reducing the risk of legal issues or fines. Plus, it will help avoid delays, maintain positive relationships with neighbours, protect property values, and ensure safety and structural integrity.

Consulting your local planning authority before commencing work on outbuildings is essential to ensure compliance with regulations, avoid delays, maintain positive relations with neighbours, protect property values, and ensure safety and structural integrity.

For more information on our wooden summer houses and garden rooms, click here. Still have questions? Contact us at your leisure and we can discuss your requirements and answer your questions.

National Timber Buildings

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