Planning Permission for Paving a Garden

Do I need planning permission for paving a garden?
You may need planning permission for paving an area of garden

If you live in England you may need planning permission for paving your garden if you are considering having part of your garden or an extension to your driveway paved with paving slabs or any other hard paved non-porous surface.

You may have to gain permission first from your local council to put down and lay materials such as tarmac, block paving or imprinted concrete.

But why do I need planing permission?

So Why Do I Need Planning Permission for Paving My Garden or Driveway?

After the big floods around the UK in 2007 it was thought that water run off from driveways and domestic and commercial paved areas were a big contributing factors to the floods. So the Government took action to make it illegal to pave an area of more than 5 square meters without consideration of where the water would drain to. The rules on paving a garden area took effect from the 1st October 2008.

The Government review of planning policy which covered planning permission for paving the outside areas of a house or place of work, including back gardens and drives said that paving over your garden or green area contributes to flooding to a cost of over £270 million a year in the UK and reduces valuable wildlife habitat.  Traditional hard surfaces collect water and channel it into local drains and streams. These are becoming overloaded, especially during short bursts of heavy rain, increasing the risk of local flooding.

So what can to be done? How do you pave over your garden legally?

If you want to lay some paving in your garden the answer is that as much water as possible needs to be allowed to drain naturally into the ground.

This can be achieved through the use of permeable paving (paving that allows the water to run through it, into the ground below) or by directing the run-off water to drain to a garden border or loose chippings. You could simply have your paving slabs laid with gaps between the slabs to allow water to drain into the soil below.

As long as the rain water is not directed to existing drains or allowed to run off onto the pavement or highway you will not normally need planning permission to lay paving in your garden or driveway.

Who is affected by the guidelines in the UK?

The guidelines for paving over your garden only apply to residents and house holders in England. Scotland and Wales will have their own policies governing planning permission for new hard surfacing a garden or driveway.

Please always consult your local planning authority before you begin any work on paving an area that is not currently paved as the wrong choice of paving and having to redo the work can be very costly.

If you would like to know more information on the need for planning permission for paving your garden or driveway you can read about it on the new Government website on planning permission for a driveway or patio at the Government planning portal here



    1. Hello Ann,
      Have you spoken to your neighbour and expressed your concern and pointed out the problem of water now passing onto your property from their garden? You may find that they are often unaware of the problem after paving has been laid. A good neighbour should rectify the problem without the need to escalate the complaint. That said, you do have rights when it comes to issues like this. We do get a lot of people asking ths sort of question as to what are your rights if a neighbour lays paving and then water then passes onto your side. Your neighbour should have laid pourous paving or a permeable surface that allows water to soak away into the ground. It sounds as if they haven’t in your case.
      There is a very good website provided by the Uk environmental law association. To quote from their website it says “The law (common law) requires that you use your property or land in a way that does not increase the risk of flooding to a neighbouring property. If you do carry out acts on your property that results in flooding to other people’s property, you may face a civil action.”
      You can visit the website here

      Good luck and I hope you manage to ressolve the issue.

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