It’s one of the most frequent questions we are asked: “Can I build a house in my back garden?”. If you are lucky enough to have a large garden, this could be an option for you. Many of the single plots we design are initially part of someone’s front, side or rear garden.
Permitted development usually allows you to construct certain sizes of buildings, such as a garage or office, in your garden – see our article on Your Permitted Development Rights Explained. However, this article focuses on building a new house.
Advantages to building in your back garden
- You don’t have to move home while construction is taking place. This will improve security and your availability to manage the project.
- You will be able to store building materials within your ownership and make the most of any deals that builders merchants are offering at the time.
- By having control of the design you can ensure it has no detrimental effect on your current property and vice versa, therefore maintaining values.
- The cost of the land is free. This may mean you could afford to put more resources into the new plot.
- One of the main issues with a building plot is connecting it to services – electric, gas, water, sewerage and telephone/broadband. By building in your own garden you should be able to connect to all the services you already have.
- Building a house at your home means less disruption to your day-to-day living, i.e. jobs, schools etc.
Obstacles to overcome
Your location is crucial as this will dictate the likely acceptability of building a house in your garden. The planning policy documents on the local authority website will confirm whether your garden is within the limits to the development boundary or is defined as the countryside. This will give you an initial idea of whether to pursue a building project or not.
Planning policies at local and national levels will prescribe the chances of your development being approved. Two of the most important factors are access and visibility. Can you achieve the requirements set by the highway authority within the land you own? Access to your current home was probably designed to accommodate one dwelling. An extra home will require improvements which include wider access and increased visibility splays. We advise speaking to a Highway Engineer or Consultant very early in the project to confirm the exact requirements. The bottom line is No Access = No Development.
It is important to analyse the potential impact of your plans on neighbouring properties. Your local authority will have guidelines on the distances you must abide by to ensure any new development will have no overlooking or overbearing impact. One of the most common designs of housing in rear gardens is a single storey, as this reduces any impact due to the reduced scale.
Patterns of prior development
Has anyone else nearby received planning permission to build in their back garden? If not, it may be that the Council have a policy against “backland developments”. If this is the case you’d need to convince the Council as to why a new dwelling would be acceptable.
As with any development, constraints are a crucial factor. Some of the reasons you may need to seek advice include:
- There are trees with preservation orders on the site;
- You are close to Listed Buildings or within a Conservation Area;
- You are near any rivers or in a flood risk zone;
- There are any protected species present.
Check the financial viability of your project
The starting point for any potential development would be to check its financial viability. This is crucial, as you wouldn’t want to spend time and money obtaining planning approval for a new dwelling if you are not going to make any profit.
We would advise speaking to a land agent early on, so they can confirm:
- The current value of the existing property;
- What the potential new dwelling/development would be worth;
- The dilution value the development would have on the existing dwelling. For example, if a new plot is worth £200k, but the impact of your development reduces the existing house value by £200k then it is clearly not worth doing. It is always best to speak to an agent in the first instance to clarify this.
Building a house in your garden is a good way to get into development, whether it be a new home for yourself or whether you want to make a profit. Maybe you just want to increase the value of your land by obtaining planning permission for a new plot before selling it on.
Whichever option you wish to achieve, we can provide you with advice and point you in the right direction. Give us a call on 01530 560939, or use the contact form below.