Do You Need Planning Permission For Garden Shed? Garden Tips 2024

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Even though you own your own property, you can’t simply build whatever you want on it. A garden shed is a common structure in a backyard, so let’s find out if you need planning permission to build one.

Do you need planning permission for a garden shed: Whether or not you can build a garden shed on your property is completely in the hands of your local government. Whether you live in a city or a municipality, the local council will have bylaws that govern what you can build. However, most areas will allow for shed structures, as long as they are smaller than 8 by 10 feet.

What is a garden shed?

A garden shed can mean a lot of different things to different people. At its core, however, it is an extra place to store tools and items for your garden.

A garden shed is often made out of rudimentary materials, such as wood, plastic, or aluminum. There is no insulation as all the items stored in the shed should be non-perishable.

Lawnmowers, rakes, shovels, and grass seeds are typical contents of a garden shed. You can also store seasonal equipment or sports equipment.

Garden sheds have a reputation for being dirty, as the items stored inside usually come into contact with dirt, but you can keep them as neat and tidy as you want.

What is planning permission?

If you live within the boundaries of a city or municipality, you need planning permission to add any extra structures to your property. However, if you live in an unincorporated area, you do not need permission.

Planning permission ensures you follow the agreed-upon guidelines about adding new buildings. This takes into account the length, width, and height of new buildings.

Other factors include where the building is situated, including if it is on someone else’s property lines, if it impedes with overhead wires, or if it covers access to sewers or other utilities.

Planning permission can seem like a headache. After all, you own the property, so why can’t you do whatever you want with it?

However, think of planning permission like someone going over a checklist. Safety is a top priority, as is the consideration of not just your needs but your neighbor’s, as well.

Where to apply for garden shed planning permission?

If you want to build a larger shed than is allowed, you will need a permit. To do so, you need to contact your local city or community council.

Many communities now have online resources that you can access. You can read through guidelines and download applications.

Sometimes, you can apply for a building permit directly on a council’s website. However, at other times you will need to submit additional documentation either by dropping it off or by mailing it in.

Each community is different but building permits are a universal need. There should be a section on the website that is easy to find.

Alternatively, you can find the council’s phone number and access the directory. There will be a department that is dedicated to permits that will help you with more specific information.

Is there a limit to the size of a shed in the garden?

The average size of a garden shed is 8 by 10 feet. However, you can create a shed that is whatever size you want it to be.

Just remember that once it goes past a certain size, you will need a permit.

Many people simply purchase a pre-made shed from a home improvement store. These come in different dimensions but should be well within the local limits of a garden shed.

You can build a free-standing shed or if you don’t need much extra storage, you can simply add on a smaller alcove to a garage or the back of your house. This is easier to build as it means one less wall to worry about and won’t take up as much space as a free-standing shed.

Can I build a shed next to my neighbor’s fence?

Technically, yes, you can build your shed right next to your neighbor’s fence. There are no limits for structures as to how close to a property line they need to be.

However, sometimes fences are not built directly on property lines. This is especially true in older neighborhoods that have properties on the diagonal and not straight lines.

Other times, fences are built around existing trees. So, you might find that you share a fence with a neighbor but some space on your side of the fence technically belongs to your neighbor.

You might think this doesn’t matter, especially if you have a good relationship with your neighbor. However, neighbors come and go and you don’t want to have a grumpy new neighbor knocking on your door in a few years’ time, demanding you take down the shed that is on their property.

How big can a shed be without a permit?

Permitted shed sizes are at the discretion of local city councils, so you should always check your local bylaws to see what size you can build. However, there is usually a standard size that can be built without a permit.

Generally, a shed that measures 8 by 10 feet is completely permissible. This is the average size of a pre-built shed that you can find at most home improvement stores, and they make their money by being able to sell sheds that are usable anywhere.

Height is often the biggest factor when it comes to shed size and what you can build. You definitely cannot build higher than one story, as this becomes a separate category.

If you want to build a shed with a loft area for extra storage, this is where complaints can happen. Neighbors don’t want their views obstructed and they don’t want towering sheds throwing shadows onto their yards.


A garden shed is a useful structure as it can hold all your dirty or seasonal gear, such as lawnmowers and shovels. While you should be fine with a shed that measures less than 8 by 10 feet, always check your local bylaws before you build.

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