So, you’re thinking about building a summer house. After all, they’re a great addition to your garden and offer you a whole host of benefits such as additional living space, a garden office, and guest accommodation to name just a few! But, before you put in the plans, you need to know whether you need planning permission for the build. There’s plenty to think about; not all are legal concerns. So, here are some guidelines to help you understand what you need for the planning and if you need it.

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Things to consider when thinking about building a summer house

A summer house is known as an outbuilding. Many outbuildings require planning permission. Though whether you need planning permission for your summer house will depend on certain factors.

The requirements for planning permission will typically need to be dealt with by your LPA (local planning authority) through the local council. You can find out more about this essential guidance via the government planning permission space.

Find your local council via the search provided by the government website or through the planning portal website.

Here’s a brief overview of what to consider. If you would like further information, please view the original ‘Permitted development rights….’ documents for the latest guidance.

The size of the summer house

The height and general size of the summer house will play a considerable part in whether planning permission is needed.

Overall height of the summer house

As a rule, it’s essential that any summer house with an overall height above 2.5 metres has planning permission. Again, check with your LPA to confirm whether permission is needed.

Extra features on the summer house

Your summer house must not have verandas, balconies or raised platforms exceeding 0.3 metres in height.

Land coverage

When it comes to building a summer house, no more than half the area of land around the original house (as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948) would be covered by additions or other buildings (confirm whether an extension has been built either by you or the previous owner(s)).

Summer house’s location

Location is another key factor in whether your building needs planning permission.

Building a summer house on designated land

Designated land includes National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites. If you’re building on this type of land, maximum area coverage by buildings, enclosures, contains and pools more than 20 metres from the house must be limited to 10 square metres.

Any of the above at the side of properties must also have planning permission in the majority of cases.


This is in relation to the size of the outbuilding. To summarise, as defined under ‘Permitted development rights for householders”, the curtilage is “land which forms part and parcel with the house” (aka, the area of land within which the house sits is attached such as the garden).

Should the outbuilding be built within two metres of the residence’s curtilage, the maximum height must not exceed 2.5 metres. You will also need to have planning permission for any outbuildings within the curtilage of listed buildings.

Distance from the fence

The distance your summer house is near a fence depends on practical as well as legal reasons. It can’t be too close for the following points:

If there isn’t enough space between the summer house and the shed, it can’t “breathe” because of poor airflow which can result in damp, mould or rot forming, limiting the potential to treat it because of lack of access.

Putting the summer house too close to the fence can prevent the door from opening when entering or exiting the building, with or without items like chairs.

Some neighbours might be okay with it, but it’s best to ask if you can build the summer house close to the fence beforehand. If its height exceeds the legal maximum of 2.5 metres and/or is closer than the legal boundary of two metres, you can be at risk of having a neighbour report you for ignoring legal requirements.

You can visit our guide ‘how to measure a shed’ for more about distancing outbuildings such as sheds.

Where can I buy a summer house?

We’re glad you asked! Drainage Superstore can spoil you with many different summer houses to choose from. Explore our range of garden houses to see what styles, sizes, colours and more you get to pick from and sit in your garden space.

Already have a summer house? Reduce the risk of pesky water ingress by making sure the roof and building last longer with guttering! Find out more in our guide to “How to put guttering on a summer house”.

Need more advice about additional outbuildings or drainage solutions? Check out our other Help and Advice! You can also contact our friendly customer service team for support with queries.

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