Fence Height UK: Your Questions Answered

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fence height

The arrival of summer turns our attention to our gardens, with us now having nicer weather and longer evenings to be able to spend more time in them. As a result of this, getting our gardens to look neat is more important than ever.

Nothing ruins the well-cared-for look like a wonky, scruffy fence, leading you to want to put a new fence in which opens up a whole host of questions.

‘What’s the legal ‘fence height UK’? Which side of the fence do I own? Do I need planning permission to put up a fence?’ – all valid questions, that we’re going to answer for you here.

On top of this, we’re also going to provide you with some great front garden fence ideas to get your garden ready for the sun.

Got a specific question? Use the menu below as a guide:

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Which side of the garden fence do I own?

Garden fence law is something that’s more serious than you think – it’s actually something you could be taken to court over should you not correctly follow the protocol. Garden fence protocol is pretty much the same for all houses across the UK, but you should always check your mortgage deeds or land registry document to be sure.

There’s a common myth stating that you’re responsible for the fence on the right side as you’re looking at the front of your house. This is, as we said, just a myth and if you can’t find the answer in your deeds, take a look in the ‘Seller’s Property Information’ to get the answer.

Fence height UK

The legal ‘fence height UK’ is 6ft 6inches or 2 metres. For your front garden fence, authorities will allow you up to 4ft of fencing, meaning it will be 2ft lower than the fence height at the back of the house.

When you require planning permission will be if your fence fronts a road, footpath or public highway and it’s more than 1 metre tall. For a fence that doesn’t front a road, you will need planning permission for anything over 2 metres tall, which includes a trellis topper, if you have one.

If you’re wanting to erect a fence around a listed building, then you will almost definitely require planning permission for the fence, regardless of the height. Also with a listed building, you will need to require listed building consent.

If your fence is in a conservation area, you will require planning to demolish a fence if it’s more than a metre in height and fronts a road, or if it’s more than two metres in height elsewhere.

If you choose to ignore the advice of applying for planning permission, then you should expect to face some potentially negative consequences, for example, your local council could issue an enforcement notice for you to take down the fence ASAP.

An enforcement notice can be given by your local council for up to four years after the date of the fence being put up, so don’t be surprised if you receive a notice a few years down the line.

Whilst it may be time-consuming and costly to apply for planning permission, it’s worth every penny. Otherwise, you will spend your time and money on putting up your fence, only to be served a notice that it exceeds the ‘legal fence height UK’ and you must take it down immediately, meaning all the time and money spent on putting up the fence turns out to be a waste.

Another thing to bear in mind, depending on where you live, you may require other approvals than just regular planning permission, with some cases requiring building regulations.

If you’re renting or are a leaseholder of the property where you wish to erect a fence, you will of course need to obtain the permission of the homeowner or landowner before you even begin applying for planning.

Can my neighbour put up a fence without my permission UK?

The answer to this will depend upon various different factors, so, unfortunately, no quick yes or no answer here!

If the fence is within their property boundary, your neighbour has every right to install a fence without your permission UNLESS it exceeds the ‘legal fence height UK’ limit where they must then apply for planning permission.

If they must apply for planning permission in order to erect a fence, then you have the opportunity to provide comments and state your concerns about the fence. For example, you may want to write a comment about concerns over the fence being scruffy or reflecting badly on your property, should it be built incorrectly.

If a fence has been built and you feel it’s not within their boundary, then you are within your rights to challenge this, but you will want to make sure you’ve got proof to back this up before starting a potential dispute with your neighbour.

You can check your property deeds online or purchase the plans for both your and your neighbour’s property from the Land Registry. You may also need to prepare to hire a RICS surveyor should there be disagreement about where the boundaries lie.

If work is done on a fence that lies on the boundary, then this is likely to be a party wall and essentially means you share this with your neighbour. If the boundary is shared between you, then you and your neighbour will have to confer to decide what the best solution is and what type of fence should be put in.

Surprisingly, you don’t need permission from a neighbour to input a fence that’s a higher level than theirs, though it may be nice to give them some warning. This is because, even though you are neighbours, gardens can run at differing levels naturally.

If you’re wanting to level your garden, to make the fence look more even from both your and your neighbour’s perspective, we have a full guide on how to do this without having to hire a professional!

Front garden fence ideas

Your front garden fence is something that will likely be very important to you as not only does it provide you with privacy, but it’s also something anyone passing your house can see and so appearance is everything!

To help you get your front garden fence looking the best on the street, we’ve written a list of the best kinds of fencing for both the appearance and the functionality:

Vinyl fencing

Vinyl fencing, also known as plastic fencing, is a fairly new type of fencing in the UK. Despite this, it’s actually one of the most popular choices for a front garden fence with it being strong and able to resist all types of weathering.

Because vinyl fencing is made from sheets of plastic that are held together by aluminium frames, they don’t require much maintenance and can last for years before needing any repairs.

Composite fencing

Composite fencing is similar to vinyl fencing in that it’s made out of plastic and is very strong. Composite is an increasingly popular choice as it has a very modern look and the fact it’s very low maintenance whilst also providing top levels of privacy makes it highly desirable.

Whilst composite fencing isn’t as expensive as having wooden fencing panels, it’s still something that will come at a high cost if you want to cover your whole garden, making it most suitable for a front garden fence.

Bamboo fencing

Bamboo fencing is considered to be one of the most cost-effective types of fencing, with it also being quick and easy to install. As a result of this, it’s ideal for people who want a front garden fence type that can provide privacy quickly without having to break the bank.

Low fencing

Low fencing is a great option for your front garden fence if you want a cost-effective fence that is easy to maintain, and you can repair yourself without much hassle. Low fences range in height from 2ft to 4ft tall and can be in various different shapes.

Whilst low fencing does offer privacy, it doesn’t offer the same amount of privacy as other fencing types due to it being smaller than the others.

Lattice fencing

Lattice fencing has a more old-fashioned look compared to the other types and tends to appeal to the people who have an older or more traditional style house.

Picket fencing

Picket fencing is one of the most popular fencing types for a front garden fence. It’s easy to build, extremely cheap and attractive to look at. Picket fencing looks particularly good on smaller houses and gardens.


Whilst we know this isn’t *technically*fencing, it’s still a good way of making your property look a little more appealing without requiring you to do a large amount of upkeep. There are many different types of railings you can choose from, such as ornamental railings, bow top railings and metal estate railings.

The only real downside you will find with railings is that they don’t offer a large amount of privacy. If your front garden is your biggest outside area and therefore where you spend a lot of time, you will want to choose a front garden fence which provides the most amount of privacy.

Privacy fencing

A privacy fence is the most common type of fence in the UK, as they’re taller fences, normally 6ft or above, and have wooden panels that are unable to be seen through. They act as a visual barrier between the house and the street, meaning they’re good for security.

Privacy fencing can be made from multiple different types of materials, such as wood, metal or composite materials.

Well, that’s everything you need to know about the legal fence height UK, including whether your neighbour can put up a fence without your permission and some front garden fence ideas. Do you have a question to ask? Or maybe some insight to give? Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to get in touch!


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photo of Millie Archer

Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.

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About Millie Archer 142 Articles
Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You'll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.

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