Building, engineering and installation work behind your home

Last updated: 20 March 2019

If you live in a dwellinghouse (a house used as a residence rather than for business), you may want to add or install something in the garden or grounds behind it.

This could include:

  • garden works
  • free-standing solar panels
  • a flag pole
  • a swimming pool
  • an oil tank

Permitted development

Before you do this you should first check if you need to apply for planning permission.

Some installations like this do not need a planning permission application, because they meet a set of rules called 'permitted development'.

The permitted development rules are:

  • it's not closer to a road at the front or side of the house, if the front or side house faces a road
  • it's not taller than 3 metres
  • it, and any other development, does not take up half or more of the 'curtilage' – this means half or more of the grounds behind your home
  • it's not in a conservation area or within the grounds of a listed building
You should always check with your council's planning department to see whether you need to apply for planning permission. Even if you meet the permitted development rules, there may be other approvals you'll need to get.

For a more detailed explanation of what's considered a permitted development when adding an engineering or installation behind your house, read the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication and go to section 4.87.

Planning permission

If what you want to add does not meet the conditions for permitted development, you have to apply for planning permission.

Find out how to apply for planning permission, or contact your Planning Authority for further information.

Other approvals

You might need other approvals before you can carry out work. For example, you might need approval under the building regulations from the local council.

If you do not own the land on which the development is being carried out (for example, if you're a tenant or the land's in joint ownership), you need to get the landowner's permission.

If you live in a listed building you'll also need to obtain listed building consent.

It's your responsibility to make sure you get any necessary approval.