Warn the neighbours
Dad’s old lean-to at the bottom of the garden for potting, pipe smoking and dozing to Test Match Special has been superseded by a range of deluxe shed, log cabins, summer houses and garden offices. While many of these don’t actually need planning permission, they can seem much more intrusive to neighbours so in the interests of harmony and courtesy it’s an idea to let them know your plans. Neighbour disputes invariably arise out of a lack of communication and can easily escalate into distressing, costly legal cases – not worth it for a garden shed !
Rough planning guide
There have been instances of people inadvertently breaking planning regulations and certainly, if you live in a conservation area, a National Park or other designated places, there are stricter rules on outdoor buildings so if in doubt, check at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk
It is your responsibility to ensure you’re not breaking any planning laws but as a rough guide;
- It’s usually OK to erect a single-storey shed with floor space of less than 30 square metres.
Flat roofs have to be under three metres high, and the pinnacle of pitched roof under four metres.
You can use the structure as a home office but not to run a business.
The shed must be at least a metre away from any boundary and cannot take up more than half the garden space.
If you want to install a loo or sleeping accommodation in the shed, you will need planning permission and to comply with building regulations.
So, the new shed’s in position, no planning laws broken nor neighbours complaining but make sure your delight’s not shared by burglars. They love garden sheds because security’s often overlooked despite the valuable tools, bikes and mowers kept inside. Make sure your home insurance covers the garden shed and its contents adequately, it's surprising how much it would cost to replace gardening tools and equipment.
The popularity of garden offices also increases the chances of easy pickings - laptops, mobiles, cameras and iPads. Police advise that along with sturdy bolts and locks, it’s worth considering installing a stand-alone alarm system that runs off battery or mains supply; the most common types are a passive infra-red detector that detects movement and body heat or a door contact system.
Another attraction to burglars is the arsenal of house breaking kit usually found in a garden shed and it’s advisable to secure spades,axes and other tools in a strong box or to something else to prevent easy removal.
Most sheds are precious bolt holes and have been proven to be beneficial to men’s health. Whether yours is full of clutter, a brand new garden studio or office, there’s a lot to be said for ‘popping out to the shed’. They’ve played their part in the creation of art, music, literature and invention so much so that a Kent museum will celebrate the cultural impact of the garden shed in an exhibition later this year.