How Close Can a Shed Be to a Fence? Important Things to Consider

When erecting a wooden shed, there are important factors you need to consider. And one of the most important is whether or not you plan to build it next to a fence.

Putting up a new shed in your backyard can be exciting. But before doing so, you need to do some research and make sure you know the law regarding positioning.

You need to meet specific planning laws to ensure your shed building won’t receive fines on boundary disputes. So in this post, we’ll talk about building planning rules and the distance a shed needs to be from a fence. Let’s get started!

Key takeaways:

  • When building or installing a new outdoor structure in your garden space, there are a few restrictions you should keep in mind. These could apply whether it’s a garden shed, a log cabin or a summer house.
  • Your local government often stipulates these limitations. And depending on where you live, these development rules apply to where you can install your building.
  • These rules include the proximity to your home, your fence line and other surrounding existing structures.

shed on gravel in a field

Leaving Space Around Your Garden Shed

It’s always a smart idea to leave some space around your shed. For one, this can help maintain the building throughout its lifespan by keeping it off potentially damp-collecting surfaces.

Second, in case you need to carry out some repairs in the vicinity, it can be quite tricky if you don’t have any space to work in. Lastly, doing so will ensure that you’re prepared for whatever you plan to do with it in the future.

Imagine doing some repair to your shed, and you don’t have enough space to operate in. Maybe your shed is too close to the fence, leaving you with no room to get around it. Sounds dreadful, right?

With that in mind, experts recommend leaving at least 24 inches around the entirety of your shed. Plus, with 2 feet to spare, it’ll be easy to make any changes or do anything with the shed in the future.

shed out in the woods

Building Your Outdoor Building Along the Fence

There are some instances where it’s tempting just to disregard the legal requirements for building your shed. For one, when your current neighbour is okay with your shed along the boundary wall or property line.

Yet again, neglecting these planning development rights won’t do you any good in the long run. This can lead to penalties that can vary based on your local council.

And usually, the fine can include a legal order to remove the shed from its location. Trying to get away with installing your shed right along the fence could also lead to neighbour disputes.

Either your outdoor building could exceed your house boundary. Or your future neighbour might not want the shed to be there.

Both can lead to conflicts. Other than getting your shed removed from its position, the next thing you wouldn’t want to happen is to have disputes between neighbours.

Thus, it’s best to follow your local building requirements and install your shed where it ideally belongs. This will help save you both time and money, as well as a good relationship with your neighbours down the line.

Top tip: Consult your Local Planning Authority (LPA) to get the necessary code requirements for your shed.

metal shed against a fence line in a field with overhanging trees

Why can’t sheds be built next to a fence?

This is something that can only be answered by property law. But generally speaking, it’s to avoid infringing on another property.

For instance, building a large structure like a shed too close to theirs can hinder them from doing what they want on their properties. At the end of the day, homeowners, including you as a building owner, have to work around it to obey the law.

wooden shed on a beach against a small white picket fence

How Close Can You Build Your Shed to the Fence?

If you’re thinking of investing in a shed, you need to consider its distance to the fence line. A fence line may not seem a big deal at first, but if not taken into account, this may lead to problems in the future.

This is why it’s important to take planning and building consent seriously. This also includes your neighbours and your shed security.

So, how close can a shed be to a fence? As noted above, the distance and boundary fence will depend on the area that you live in.

In some areas, you are allowed to build as close as four feet away from your property line. In other places, your LPA may ask you to keep your shed 10-15 feet away from your fence.

But generally, you need to maintain at least 5 feet between the further edge of your shed and the fence. We also recommend double-checking your city code to see if more distance is necessary for your area.

white picket fence with purple flowers growing through gaps

Shed and Fence Line Distance

Local governments stipulate restrictions when it comes to the proximity of your shed to your home. This can affect the fence line and any preexisting structures in your backyard.

In addition to the planning rules, your shed won’t be able to breathe when it’s placed too close to a fence. As a result, there may be a potential build-up of damp, both on the structure and the fence.

Thus, it’s best to leave a gap or development allowances to allow both to breathe.

Top tip: If you’re concerned about the potential issues or can’t afford to place your shed far enough from the fence, here’s what we can suggest. It may be wise to opt for a pressure treated shed to help it suffer less from the effects of damp and mould.

Here are some aspects to consider when it comes to shed and fence line distance:

  • Should you raise your garden shed?
  • Materials and dimensions
  • Foundation
  • Access and positioning
  • Your neighbours

green shed at the bottom of a garden in the corner

Should you raise your garden shed?

Unlike the mandated distance between your shed and your fence, there are no restrictions when it comes to how high off the ground your building needs to be (as long as the overall height follows planning restrictions).

This means you do have some freedom when it comes to personal preference on a shed base. In fact, many experts would recommend homeowners consider how high off the ground they want their sheds to be.

For one, raised sheds tend to have much better air circulation than ones that sit directly on the ground. Moreover, this can also protect the structure from harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rains which cause dampness and pooling water.

Raising your shed also helps your foundation from deterioratating over time due to water ingress. And as good ventilation is essential to all sheds, you know what to do!

overlapping wooden boards

Materials and dimensions

Some housing estates are strict when it comes to the materials used for cladding on additional structures. This is due to the uniformity they maintain within the estate.

For example, if you live in a gated community, you may want to seek an estate agent’s confirmation first of what you can and can’t do.

wooden shed in the middle of a clearing

Foundation

A foundation is recommended for all garden buildings, even if the ground you’re putting it on is level. For any type of building, including sheds, that are larger than 6×8 feet, we recommend adding a concrete base.

Wooden bearers are a budget-friendly solution to a shed base. However, they can rot and decay over time.

Ideally, look for a solid, impermeable concrete or plastic base. You also want to make sure the surface or ground you place your shed on is levelled.

This will ensure that the shed remains stable and the doors will open and close properly. With a suitable base, it’ll be much easier to get your shed level than if you place it directly on the ground.

old wooden shed on a patio

Access and positioning

The ideal location for a garden shed is next to a paved path, as this will ensure easy access. This also means the building isn’t too close to areas in which rainwater is likely to collect.

Other than distancing it from the fence, make sure that your shed is away from large trees. Growing tree roots could cause the floor to buckle, ruining the foundation of your shed over a long period.

aerial views of houses, trees, and a pool

Your neighbours

Always consider how any new addition to your property might bother your neighbours. Current neighbours may be fine with the new shed, but future ones may not.

When deciding how close to place garden buildings to the fence, it’s best to avoid placing it too close to any boundary lines. And definitely don’t use the shed to replace a section of fencing!

The Bottom Line

So, how close can you build your shed to the fence? For your specific measurement and council requirements, we recommend contacting your Local Planning Authority.

You can check this article to see if planning permission is necessary for your area and your structure is a permitted development: Planning Permission For Your Garden Building.

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FAQs

The maximum size will depend on where you live. In some places, you can build a shed that’s as large as 120 square feet without needing a building permit.

 

For more information, contact your LPA.

Once again, you need to consult your LPA to get the code requirements. The exact distance can vary from city to city or county.

Generally speaking yes. And for larger sheds, it’s essential.

Placing your wooden shed directly on the ground will eventually absorb moisture from the ground. This can cause the structure to rot and decay over time.

You also want to build your shed on a levelled surface. This ensures that the building itself remains stable.