Lay a hard surface outside your house

Last updated: 11 June 2018

If you own a house, you may want to add a hard surface (like paving, patio or a driveway) to your grounds or garden. 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.

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 soaks up water (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)

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.

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 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 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.