Outbuildings such as sheds, greenhouses, summer houses and other buildings in your garden are generally considered by the government as a “permitted development”. This means that you can build your shed or greenhouse without requiring planning permission from your local authority - providing that you meet the existing permitted rights set by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Outbuilding regulations for homes (not applicable to flats, maisonettes or other buildings):
You cannot build a shed on the grounds of any listed building. If you live in or near a building that is older than 30 years, your grounds may be a part of a nationally protected site. If you are unsure, you can take a look on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) website which features a free Search the List tool that you can use to find out whether your building or gardens are registered properties.
You cannot build a shed to the side of your house on designated land. This includes areas of the countryside and nature sites which have a special ‘protected’ status. Examples of designated land are national parks, marine conservation zones, wetland sites and areas of special scientific interest. To check if your area has restrictions, contact your local council for more information or take a look on the gov.uk website.
However, if you decide to build a shed behind your property on designated land such as national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or World Heritage Sites, you must ensure that the entire area that is covered by a shed is situated not more than 20 metres from any wall of the house. The shed can only be 10 square metres in size.
You are not permitted to build an outbuilding forward of the principal elevation of the original house. A principal elevation is merely another term for the ‘front’ of your house. Original house refers to the state of your home when it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if your property was built prior to that date).
Your shed must not exceed the size of 50% of the total area of land surrounding the original house. Other existing outbuildings such as ponds, swimming pools, kennels and extensions to the original house should be accounted for when calculating this 50% limit.
In order for your shed to be considered permitted development, it cannot be used as living accommodation or be self-contained. Microwave antennas are prohibited.
Outbuildings have a restricted eaves height of 2.5 metres, with a maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof or 3 metres in any case. Your shed must also be single storey.
However, if you choose to situate your shed within 2 metres of your property, its entire height is reduced to 2.5 metres.
If you choose to store a fuel container (e.g. for domestic heating), it cannot exceed a capacity of 3,500 litres.
For a detailed version of your permitted development rights, take a look at the official publication.
Please be aware that this legislation is only applicable to those building sheds on their home grounds. If you are undertaking a commercial or residential project, the regulations will be different.