Planning permission for greenhouses

When is planning permission required to construct a greenhouse?

If you want to construct a greenhouse in your garden, this will normally be classed as a ‘permitted development’ so planning permission is not usually needed.
You will, however, need planning permission where:

  • the greenhouse is to be constructed in a front garden;
  • the overall height of the greenhouse would exceed 4m, in the case of a building with a dual pitched roof, or 3m for any other roof;
  • the green house will be higher than 2.5 metres if it is within 2m of a boundary of the curtilage of the house;
  • more than half of the area of land around the ‘original house’ (the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 if it was built before that date) would be covered by the greenhouse or other buildings;
  • the greenhouse is to be built in a national park, the Broads, an area of outstanding natural beauty or a World Heritage Site and it is to be more than 20m away from the house and is more than 10m 2;
  • the greenhouse is to be constructed on ‘designated land’ (designated land includes national parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites);
  • the greenhouse is to be built within the curtilage of a listed building.

The same rules apply to other garden structures such as sheds, garages, swimming pools, ponds, saunas, kennels and tennis courts.

If you’re unsure whether planning permission is required, check with your local planning authority; if you carry out unauthorised work you’ll be breaching regulations and may be forced to demolish the greenhouse.

Is planning permission required to increase the height or size of an existing greenhouse?

Planning permission will be required to increase the height or size of an existing greenhouse if one or more of the conditions set out above applies.

How do I apply for planning permission?

An application for planning permission can be made online via the Planning Portal website. Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form and send it to your local planning authority.

Is there anything else I should consider before constructing a greenhouse?

Sometimes covenants are placed in title documents (deeds) preventing or restricting the construction of greenhouses and other types of outbuildings. You should, therefore, check that your deeds do not contain any such provisions before carrying out any work.

It will not normally be necessary to obtain building regulation approval to put up a greenhouse. It’s best to double check with your local authority building control if you’re unsure though.
Where building regulation approval is not required it is still, however, important to make sure that the greenhouse is built and maintained properly, to ensure there is no risk that it will damage someone else’s property or injure someone.

Article written by...
Nicola Laver LLB
Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola on LinkedInNicola on Twitter

A non-practising solicitor, Nicola is also a fully qualified journalist. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a legal journalist, editor and author.