Garden Office Planning Permission – The Definitive Guide

Garden Office

Garden office planning permission is usually straightforward, and in certain cases, it isn’t even necessary. I’ll teach you how to get the planning permission you need without making a stink with your local council or your neighbors in this detailed guide.

What can you build without planning permission?

Please bear with me while I explain. The height of the structure and how it will be used are the two most important elements in determining whether you may build without obtaining planning approval.

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How tall is your building?

The maximum heights at which garden offices can be built without obtaining planning permission have been established to safeguard the interests of neighbors from the shade, loss of light, and other factors. Various heights correspond to the distance between you and your neighbor as measured by the fence. See the following graphic:

How are you going to use it?

When deciding whether or not your garden structure requires planning approval, you must first decide what you wish to use it for:

Mine’s a shed

If it’s a chicken coop or a shed to store the lawnmower, it won’t be very tall and should fall under the “no planning approval required if it’s under 2.5m height” criteria.

Mine’s an office

If you want to utilize your building as a garden office or spend time there every day, there are two things to consider:

You may be uncomfortable if it’s under 2.5m tall.

A structure that is less than 2.5 meters tall will not have enough insulation in the floor and ceiling to keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and provide enough headroom for you to stand on your tiptoes or stretch your arms above your head.

How you use your garden office affects your permitted development rights.

Even if the structure is less than 2.5m tall, you may require garden office planning clearance if you conduct a company eight hours a day, five days a week. You may not require permission if you just use your outside office on occasion, but more on that later…

Mine’s a garden room or studio

If your garden room and garden studio fall within the allowable development sizes on our table, you may not require planning permission if you are solely using them for recreational reasons.

We did, however, have to seek planning approval for the garden room across the street, even though it:

All allowed development size and location standards were met.

Was only meant to be used for fun and sometimes labor.

Why? Because the planning department at Warwick Council believed it wasn’t an incidental structure because it had a bathroom and was occasionally going to be used for work.


Planning approval is always the homeowner’s obligation, not the builder’s, so don’t trust anyone who tells you that you don’t need it without conducting your research.

You could require planning approval for your backyard structure, and you’ll almost certainly receive it.

Although you may not require planning approval, learn from Gina Barton’s blunders and avert tragedy by consulting your local planning authority.