You’ve decided that you want to build a home garden office or room, worked out exactly where it’s going to go and what it’s going to look like, but are you allowed to do this under planning law?

Did you know that both the size and location all have an impact on whether you need planning permission for your home garden office or room?

This guide takes you through the different types of development that might be considered ‘permitted development’, what this means, and the restrictions that apply.

Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garden Office?

The vast majority of home garden offices or rooms don’t actually require planning permission.

Garden Room Planning Rules

This is because they are classed as outbuildings which means you are allowed to build as long as you comply with a few restrictions.

These are:

  • If the building’s floor space is less than 15 square meters and no sleeping quarters are present.
  • There is no outbuilding ahead of a wall that makes up the main elevation.
  • Garages and outbuildings must have a single-story plan with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 meters, a maximum overall height of four meters, and a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other type of roof.
  • The highest height permitted for a building, enclosure, or container within two metres of the curtilage of a dwellinghouse’s boundary is 2.5 metres.
  • There must not be any verandas, balconies, or raised platforms (a platform must not exceed 0.3 meters in height)
  • Additions or other constructions would not cover more than half of the area of land surrounding the *original dwelling.
  • The maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers, and pools more than 20 meters from the dwelling in National Parks, Broads, Areas of Natural Beauty, and World Heritage Sites is set at 10 square meters.
  • On *designated land, buildings, enclosures, containers, and pools at the side of properties will need planning permission.
  • Any outbuilding within the curtilage of a listed structure will require planning permission.

*The original house term is the house as it was originally constructed or as it stood on July 1, 1948 (if built before then). Although you didn’t build an addition to the home, a previous owner may have done so.

*National parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas, and World Heritage Sites are among the protected spaces.

Permitted Development for householders – Technical Guidance

You should read a technical advice paper produced by the government to assist you to determine how permitted development rules may apply to your case.

View ‘Permitted development for householders – Technical guidance’ on Gov.uk

Disclaimer

This is a limited overview and should not be considered a comprehensive legal source.

This material pertains to the planning system in England. Wales’ policy may differ. If you have any questions, contact your local planning department.

Garden Room With Bathroom

If you plan to use your home garden office room for similar activities as you would in your main home like cooking, showering, etc, then you may need planning permission.

You’ll need new plumbing to get a cold water supply to your garden room. There are two pairs of pipes required: one for bringing fresh water and one for removing wastewater.

A connection from your mains water in your home is required for freshwater. An existing drain may be able to connect to your wastewater pipe.

If this isn’t an option, you may need a pump to move the wastewater outside. If you want hot water, small hot-water heaters are an alternative.

They can be installed under a sink and produce around 7-10 liters of hot water.

Toilet installation will almost certainly necessitate the use of a macerator to turn solid waste into pulp.

It’ll also need to be linked to a soil pipe so that solid waste may be carried away to the main sewer system.

Why Doesn’t A Garden Office Need Planning Permission?

Within their permitted development rights, local authorities allow any type of outbuilding, as long as they are under 2.5m in height externally (or 3m if 2m from your boundary).

Most garden offices come standard with a 2.5m height externally and can be built to a maximum height of 2.7m, meaning that they qualify for permitted development rights.

Building Regulations

This change in use is not specifically defined as “material” in the regulations. If your project includes work that would affect the building’s structure, egress routes, or fire safety precautions, it will be considered a “physical modification” (and therefore “Building Work”) and must adhere to the regulations.

You should also inquire with the local fire department, usually the County Council, to find out what “ongoing” fire precautions legislation will apply while the structure is in use.

Need Proof?

If you’re ever unsure about your neighbors’ opinion, or if you think their yard office might be a source of friction for them, you may apply for a “Lawful Development Certificate (LDC)” to show that it is legal.

FAQs

How close to the boundary can I build a garden office?

If you build an extended height garden room structure 2m away from your property line, you will not need permission. You may still have a garden office built within 2m of your property line, but you will require planning permission.

Does a garden room come under permitted development?

Yes, garden offices or rooms come under permitted development. If a garden room or structure is built in accordance with permitted development rules, it does not require planning permission. It must not contain sleeping quarters and must be single-story and have a maximum eaves height of 2.5m to be considered an outbuilding under permissible development laws.

How big can a garden office be without planning permission?

If your garden room is more than 20m from your main structure and less than 10 m x 10m in size, you may construct it without planning permission. With planning permission, you may build a garden room greater than 10m x 10m.

What can I build in my garden without planning permission?

You can build the following without planning permission:

  • Add a standard loft conversion.
  • Add a single-story extension.
  • Install a garden room.
  • Replace windows and doors.
  • Reconfigure the internal floor plan.
  • Install solar panels. …
  • Erect fences and walls around boundaries.
  • Elevate space with a two-storey rear extension.

Note: If you are unsure whether you still need planning permission or not, please get in touch with your local council.

Can you sleep in a home garden office?

Most individuals build a garden structure under permitted development rights with the intention of using it only occasionally. However, if you wish to sleep in your garden building at any time, it must adhere to building codes.

What is the 4-year rule in planning permission?

If your work was built, engineered, or carried out without the benefit of planning permission and has been unchallenged by enforcement action for four years or more, it may be subject to ‘THE 4 YEAR RULE.’ In this case, operational development or physical works have been completed.

Do I need planning permission for a garden room with a toilet?

The building regulations that apply to your project might be different from the planning permission that you would need for a garden office, even if it does have a toilet. However, some municipalities have stricter requirements, and adding a toilet may in certain situations determine the structure as a living room. At that point, official permission is required from your local council.

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