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Lay a hard surface outside your house

You may want to add a hard surface (like paving, patio or a driveway) to the grounds or garden of your house. You might also want to repair or replace a hard surface you already have.

If you want to do any of these things, you should first check to see if you need to apply for planning permission.

This guidance only applies if your home is a dwellinghouse. This means it's a house you live in and is not used as a business premise to any significant degree.

Permitted development

If the hard surface you want to build meets a set of rules, you can add it without having to apply for planning permission. This is called 'permitted development'.

Hard surfaces usually qualify for permitted development, unless:

  • they're placed between the house and a road
  • your house is in a conservation area or near a listed building

If you add a hard surface that sits between your house and a road, the surface has to be able to deal with water to prevent flooding.

This means it has to either:

  • be made of a 'porous' material, which means it allows water to soak into the ground (like permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt), or
  • be built to let water run off to a porous area in your garden (like grass or a border)

For a more detailed explanation of what's considered a permitted development when laying down a hard surface, read the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication and go to section 4.99.

Planning permission

If your house is in a conservation area or within the curtilage of a listed building, hard surfaces are not permitted development and you'll have to apply for planning permission.

If the hard surface you want to add is not either made of a porous material or designed to let water run off to a porous area, you have to apply for planning permission.

Find out how to apply for planning permission, or contact your local authority for further information.

Aberdeen City CouncilAberdeenshire CouncilAngus CouncilArgyll and Bute CouncilCairngorms National Park AuthorityClackmannanshire CouncilComhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Dumfries & Galloway CouncilDundee City CouncilEast Ayrshire CouncilEast Dunbartonshire CouncilEast Lothian CouncilEast Renfrewshire CouncilEdinburgh CouncilFalkirk CouncilFife CouncilGlasgow City CouncilHighland CouncilInverclyde CouncilLoch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park AuthorityMidlothian CouncilMoray CouncilNorth Ayrshire CouncilNorth Lanarkshire CouncilOrkney Islands CouncilPerth & Kinross CouncilRenfrewshire CouncilScottish Borders CouncilShetland Islands CouncilSouth Ayrshire CouncilSouth Lanarkshire CouncilStirling CouncilWest Dunbartonshire CouncilWest Lothian Council

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.

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 authority.

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.

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