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Navigating Council Regulations With Your Garden Room

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

What Is Planning Permission, Building Control And Permitted Development for Garden Rooms?

Why This Is Important to Know When Building A Studio In Your Garden.

Having decided to get a garden room built, it is easy to get excited about its uses and the design can quickly go beyond the allowable scopes that council regulations allow.

Social media presents so many options from mountain cabins through to slick modern city designs. Seeing what people use their garden rooms for, ranging from hosting parties with images of stunning landscaped gardens strung with lights, the latest outdoor furniture and people gathered over barbequed food and flowing drinks. Looks so attractive and inviting. Or maybe a garden room is set up as a bedroom with a little kitchenette and bathroom and being used as a serviced accommodation business from home.

Social media can influence your design for a garden room but it is important to know your council rules first.

Wouldn't it be tragic to put in all the effort and money only to provoke the local council's fury simply because you overlooked checking the regulations, possibly leading to the worst-case scenario of having to demolish the garden building?

When considering the addition of a garden room to your property, it’s important to understand the regulations and permissions that may apply. In the United Kingdom, garden rooms are subject to specific planning rules, and it is crucial to determine whether you need planning permission or if your project falls under permitted development rights.

Here we will explain the differences to help you navigate the process and make informed decisions, so you get the garden room that fits best for you.


1. What Is Planning Permission?

Planning permission is the formal consent required from your local planning authority to carry out certain types of development, including garden rooms. It ensures that your project aligns with local planning policies, considers environment factors, and maintains the overall aesthetics of the area. The application process involves submitting detailed plans, architectural drawings, and paying the associated fees.

Important to know the permitted development rules for height and distance from boundaries for garden rooms.

2. What Is Permitted Development

Permitted development grants homeowners the freedom to carry out specific types of development without the need for planning permission. These rights allow for smaller-scale projects that meet specific criteria and do not significantly impact the surrounding environment. Permitted development rights may differ depending on the location, property type, and other factors, so it’s essential to check with your local planning authority or seek professional advice.

3. Permitted Development For Garden Rooms

The majority of our garden rooms fall under Permitted Development and do not require planning permission.

In recent years, the government has introduced permitted development rights that specifically cover garden rooms, making it easier for homeowners to add to their properties. These rights generally apply as long as certain conditions and limitations are met, such as maximum height, distance from boundaries, and overall size restrictions.

The Planning Portal and the official government website in the UK outlines the requirements with the following:

- No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation. This means that if you want to install a garden room at the front of your property, then you will need to apply for planning permission.

- A garden room must be single storey with maximum height of 2.5 metres at the eaves, and maximum overall height of four metres if the roof is dual pitched. A flat or single slope roof, no more than three metres high at the ridge or 2.5 metres at the eaves.

- If you need to position your garden within the two metres of a boundary, then the maximum height allowance is 2.5 metres.

A garden room may be built near the boundary as long as it adhere to the permitted development rules.

This often necessitates a flat roof garden room.

- Decking around the garden room may not exceed 0.3 metres in height.

- If you have other additions on your property, such as sheds, greenhouse, decking, and conservatory and including the garden room, the combined area of these shouldn’t take up more than 50% of the garden area.

- In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and World Heritage Sites, a garden room would typically need planning permission. This would also apply to designated land, buildings, enclosures, containers, and pools at the side of properties.

- Within properties of listed buildings any garden rooms will require planning permission.

These restrictions aim to prevent structures that may overshadow or affect neighbouring properties privacy or disrupt the visual harmony of the area.

4. Benefits of Permitted Development

Opting for a garden room project under permitted development rights can offer several advantages.

The eaves of a garden room provide a dry area for bike storage, but also falling under the permitted development rules from the council.

Firstly, it streamlines the process, allowing you to start construction sooner. It eliminates the uncertainty and potential delays associated with waiting for planning permission which can typically take between 6-12 weeks to come through.

Additionally, it can save you money by bypassing the architectural costs and fees associated with the planning application process.

5. Applying For Planning Permission

If you have a more elaborate design or for example you are tall and want a higher ceiling for space and ease, or require certain other uses for your garden room, then you will need to submit a planning application to your local planning authority. The application may typically take 8-12 weeks. The Planning Portal has a link to find your local authority.

Don’t let any need of getting Planning Permission put you off getting it for your garden room. If you want a certain design, shape, size, and height that suits you, then this is certainly the avenue to go down and definitely worth getting.

We recommend using an architect who will interpret what you want and supply the necessary drawings and even do the submission on your behalf. Or alternatively you can do the do the research yourself by visiting your local application website and view applications for garden studios/ancillary accommodation to see if they have approval. Look at applications that have been done by architects to learn the right terminology and format.

Building control regulations applied here for the shower and toilet waste water.

6. When Does Building Control Apply?

Whilst planning permission is about the how the building looks, where it is situated and what size it is, Building Regulations is about the structure being built well and adhering to current requirements for the foundation, insulation, ventilation, plumbing, electrical systems, fire safety and other components. This is if your garden room requires planning permission in particular.

If your garden room comes under permitted development, then it is exempt from building control, except for any of the following: bathroom with toilet and shower, hot water cylinder, wastewater, and fuel burning appliance, then it would be advisable to get building control. This is where you would book an approved inspector either independently or through your local authority building control department. We at Cedar Living Garden Rooms can advise on this.

7. What Is A Lawful Development Certificate (LDC)

This certificate is not the same as planning permission but is proof that your garden room is lawful. This is not a necessary requirement; however, this may have the advantage if you are looking to sell your property in the future. If your garden room complies with permitted development, this certificate is particularly useful to answer queries raised by buyer or their solicitors.

You can apply to your local council for a LDC using the Planning Portal’s secure online application service. There will be a fee for this.

Cedar Living Garden Room

If you're ready to take the next step in building your dream garden room, contact Cedar Living Garden Rooms today for a consultation. We are here to help you create the perfect space for your needs and enhance your outdoor living experience.


This article is a guide only and is not a definitive source of legal information. Before starting any works, seek professional advice or contact your Local Planning Authority.


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