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  1. Blog
  2. How to get around fence height restrictions (UK)
Advice about properties
27 October 2023

How to get around fence height restrictions (UK)

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
How to get around fence height restrictions (UK)

Table of contents

  1. 1. Fence height restrictions for domestic properties
  2. 2. How to get around fence height restrictions
  3. 3. Risks of an over-extended fence
  4. 4. Summary: Creativity and compromise is key!

As with many property features, your garden fence is limited by the regulations outlined by your local council. Whether it's at the front of your home, or the back, a fence can only be so high - this can be frustrating for homeowners who would like to build and develop their properties.

In this article, we work out common fence height restrictions, and discuss the ways (if any) you can get around them.

Fence height restrictions for domestic properties

Back fence

Typically, the maximum height of a back garden fence before you need to seek planning permission is two metres from the ground level. Your local authority will usually allow greater flexibility over a back garden fence.

Front fence

The legal fence height for your front garden is one metre from the ground level. Rules around front garden fences are much more stringent in order for visibility and aesthetics to be maintained at a street level.

What about if you live in a listed building?

Listed buildings come with special regulations that must be adhered to for any modifications, even small ones, like increasing your fence's height. Regardless of whether your proposed fence complies with the restrictions, securing planning permission is a necessary step for any construction project.

How to get around fence height restrictions

Before you get going, it's crucial to open a line of communication with your neighbours, especially if it's a shared boundary. Discuss your plans with them to ensure they're comfortable with your new fence. This will serve to avoid any potential disputes.

Alternative materials

Explore alternative materials for increasing your fence's height. Some, like trellis or lattice, can be added to the top of your existing fence posts to increase height while still complying with regulations. Adding them can usually give you an extra 0.3 to 0.6 metres in fence height.

Although this is a common method, it's essential to check with your local council to ensure that they allow trellis or lattice extensions and to confirm the specific height limits for your area. In some cases, you may need to fix the trellis or lattice to the inside of your fence post in order to keep with council rules.

Attaching climbing vines

In some boroughs, installing trellis or lattice will not be enough to get past fence height restrictions, with both your fence and trellis needing to equal 2 metres. In these instances, plant some dense climbing vines to naturally increase the height of your fence. Trumpet vine and honeysuckle are both viable options.

Consider hedges and plants

In some cases, a natural solution might be a better fit. Planting freestanding hedges or tall-growing plants like bamboo can act as a 'living extension' your wall, providing both privacy and aesthetic appeal while adhering to height restrictions.

While these freestanding plants are limited by a height of two metres, they can provide an additional bit of privacy between yours and your neighbour's properties.

Apply for planning permission

In some cases, there may be no better solution than seeking planning permission for a taller fence. Local councils may grant permission if you can demonstrate a valid need for increased fence heights, such as extra security or privacy due to specific circumstances.

Keep in mind that obtaining planning permission can be a more time-consuming and costly process. Some cases may also require Building Regulations. That's why it's essential to weigh up the benefits against the effort and expense involved.

Risks of an over-extended fence

If you decide to build a fence without permission, you could be issued with an enforcement notice. Notices can be served up to four years after construction.

What's an enforcement notice?

It's a formal letter issued by your local planning authority to address a breach of planning regulations or conditions. In the letter, your council will outline the nature of your violation - in this case, an extended fence - and outline the steps you need to take to rectify it, along with a deadline for compliance.

If you fail to comply with the demands of your council, they can take legal action in the form of fines or penalties. In the case of an over-extended fence, you may have to tear down the fence or additional structure by the specified date.

Depending on the circumstances, you may have the option to appeal, negotiate alternative solutions, or take corrective actions to meet the terms of the notice and avoid legal consequences.

Summary: Creativity and compromise is key!

Getting around fence height restrictions in the UK requires both creativity and compromise. Nevertheless, it's important to adhere to local regulations to avoid potential legal issues.

By exploring alternative materials, seeking planning permission when necessary, and communicating with your neighbours, you can find practical ways to work within these limitations.

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