Do I need planning permission for a deck in the UK?

Adding a deck to your property can enhance your outdoor living space and increase the value of your home. However, before you start planning your dream deck in the UK, you need to consider an essential question: Do you need planning permission? 

Do I need planning permission for a deck in the UK? banner image

The answer to this question isn't always straightforward, as it depends on various factors, and it can even vary from one Local Planning Authority (LPA) to another. In this blog post, we'll delve into the complexities of this issue, explain how to determine whether you need planning permission, and discuss what might be covered by permitted development.

The Complexity of Planning Permission

Planning permission for a deck can be a surprisingly intricate matter in the UK. The rules and regulations are set by local authorities, and these can vary significantly. What might be allowed without permission in one area could require extensive approvals and assessments in another. The first step in navigating this complexity is to understand the local planning process and who to contact for guidance.

The Concept of Permitted Development

Permitted development is a term used in the UK to describe certain types of construction work that can be carried out without the need for formal planning permission. Decks often fall into this category, as long as they meet the criteria outlined by each country and/or council.

However, even if your deck qualifies as permitted development, you may still need to comply with building regulations. Building regulations ensure that structures are safe and structurally sound. It's advisable to consult with a qualified builder or architect to ensure your deck meets these requirements.

Determining the Need for Planning Permission

In general, some decks can fall under the category of "permitted development," meaning they don't require planning permission. However, under permitted development, certain conditions must be met. These might include limits on the height and size of the deck, as well as restrictions on its proximity to property boundaries, and these requirements can change depending on where you live.

Some examples of factors that can affect this determination:

  1. Size: The size of your proposed deck plays a crucial role. For instance, if it exceeds certain dimensions, it may no longer qualify as permitted development.
  2. Location: Decks situated within designated areas, such as conservation areas, national parks, or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), may require permission, even if they meet the size criteria.
  3. Height: Elevated decks, especially those with raised platforms or balconies, may have different requirements than ground-level decks.
  4. Listed Buildings: If your property is a listed building, additional considerations and permissions are necessary.
  5. Boundaries: Decks near property boundaries can impact your neighbours, so you might need to address potential concerns.
  6. Materials and Appearance: The materials and appearance of your deck can also affect whether planning permission is required. Decks that visually clash with their surroundings might face stricter scrutiny.
  7. Local Conditions: Local planning policies can further influence the need for planning permission. Some LPAs have stricter rules than others.

To determine if your deck qualifies as permitted development, it's advisable to seek guidance from your LPA or consult the government's information on planning permission, which provides valuable information on permitted development rights.

The Scottish Government - Permitted Decking Development

MYGOV.SCOT has provided guidance on what might count as permitted development for decking behind a dwellinghouse in Scotland.

You may not have to apply for planning permission if your decking meets the 'permitted development' rules.

The permitted development rules for adding decking to your house are:

  • it's located at the back of your house
  • the height of the floor level isn't any higher than 0.5 metres above ground level
  • the total height, including any attached structures or roof, isn't any higher than 2.5 metres above ground level
  • if it's within the grounds of a listed building or within a conservation area, the footprint doesn't exceed 4 square metres

For a more detailed explanation of what's considered a permitted development when adding decking to your house, read the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication and go to section 4.106. This includes more circumstances where this sort of development may qualify as permitted development but also instances where additional restrictions apply. - quote copied 26/09/2023

It is still important to contact your local authority to confirm that what you are planning does or does not require planning permission as local authorities can impose differing rules than those outlined above.

The Rest of The United Kingdom

Permitted Development in the rest of the UK can differ in governmental and local authority scopes.
For example, one of the differences between what is laid out on versus is a difference in one rule for permitted development in height:

Garden decking will therefore be permitted development under Class E subject to it not exceeding this 0.3m height limit and subject to the other limits and conditions under this Class. - quote copied 26/09/2023

Finding the Right Authority

The LPA is the key to understanding the specific regulations in your area. They are responsible for deciding on planning applications and enforcement of planning laws. To find out which LPA covers your location, you can use the government's "Find your local council" tool on their website. Once you know your LPA, it would be a good idea to contact them or visit their website to access specific information regarding planning permission for decks.


Navigating the rules and regulations surrounding planning permission for a deck in the UK can indeed be a complicated endeavour. With factors such as size, location, and local policies at play, it's crucial to do your due diligence. The only foolproof way to not fall afoul of the rules is to:

  • Start by identifying your LPA
  • Reach out to them for guidance
  • Exploring the specifics of permitted development in your area.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your deck project proceeds smoothly and in compliance with local regulations, ultimately enhancing your outdoor space without any unnecessary legal hurdles.

If you're still unsure about whether your deck project requires planning permission or if you want to ensure compliance with building regulations, consider seeking guidance from a professional architect, builder, or planning expert. They can provide you with the most up-to-date information and help you navigate the sometimes complex world of planning permission in the UK.