Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Postby pushingtheboundaries » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:00 pm

Hi all

As you can probably tell from the title I wasn't sure in which category to put this one...

Our back garden borders with a road down one side (just a small cul-de-sac). ie we are a corner plot. There is a row of houses the other side of the road whose front windows basically look right into our back garden. I want to do what I can to increase privacy. It is a new build house and it has a wall 2.5ft high with a 4ft fence on top, the 4" posts of which are bolted into the wall from our side. I can't plant anything to grow there.

So I'm aware from my reading that the overall wall/fence is already around 6.5', which would be the limit even if it weren't bordering a highway (usually 1m). I've spoken to the council planning about extending the fence height and the general opinion was "probably not". So rather than go down the application route I'm looking into the prospect of a pergola running the length of the fence on that side. This would be less than 50% of the curtailage, and I'm aware it cannot exceed 250cm within 2m of the boundary. 250cm would be just right to give me what I desire. The irony is my neighbours would appreciate the fence extension and it would be the neatest way of doing it... but there you go...

I'm conscious that it will probably be strikingly obvious that this 'pergola' is effectively a workaround fence extension, so I want to stay strictly within the rules should I get a visit. So my quite specific queries are:

- Could the pergola posts actually be attached onto the original fence posts and/or the wall? Or would doing so deem it to be an extension of the fence/wall? Attaching it somehow to the posts/wall, even if I stand it out 6" with some extra timber, is much easier than digging holes to set in concrete etc.
- Can the pergola be made of whatever I want - ie in theory could I have a pergola with fence panels screwed onto the posts from my side, or would doing so make it a fence and not a 'pergola'?
- I have actually lowered/levelled the land along the border as it was sloped up when we moved in. Perhaps by around 6-12". Can the pergola begin at the original heaped land level, or have it's height compensated to take account of this? (It may be difficult to prove where it was originally).
- Pergola aside, how much of the boundary wall do I own? As I say the posts are bolted on my side of it, so the fence itself overhangs perhaps 2" of the top of the wall which is around 9" deep (single sideways bricks). The local kids do like to stand on the remaining 7" and peer over (looking for my kids). If I own the entire wall to the outer edge I may consider standing the fence out a bit to be flush with the outside edge of the wall to prevent this.

Thanks for any advice. I realise I'm probably nit-picking with this stuff, but I can't any answers anywhere. I can supply a pic if it helps clarify..

Regards, Jon
:D
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Re: Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:37 am

Hi Jon,

Could the pergola posts actually be attached onto the original fence posts and/or the wall?

yes

Or would doing so deem it to be an extension of the fence/wall?

not on its own it wouldn't

Can the pergola be made of whatever I want - ie in theory could I have a pergola with fence panels screwed onto the posts from my side, or would doing so make it a fence and not a 'pergola'?

whether it is or isn't a pergola will not be down to the materials used - its structure will.

I have actually lowered/levelled the land along the border as it was sloped up when we moved in. Perhaps by around 6-12". Can the pergola begin at the original heaped land level, or have it's height compensated to take account of this? (It may be difficult to prove where it was originally).

height is measured from the max height of the uneven ground level.

how much of the boundary wall do I own?

if there's a pavement and/or road on the other side then you almost certainly own it all.

As I say the posts are bolted on my side of it, so the fence itself overhangs perhaps 2" of the top of the wall which is around 9" deep (single sideways bricks). The local kids do like to stand on the remaining 7" and peer over (looking for my kids). If I own the entire wall to the outer edge I may consider standing the fence out a bit to be flush with the outside edge of the wall to prevent this.

go for it.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Postby pushingtheboundaries » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:16 am

Hi Mac. Thanks for the reply. To probe for a little more info...

- "Not on its own it wouldn't".... So what 'could' deem a pergola to be an extension of a fence? It does seem to me that I would be pushing my luck to attach 8ft pergola posts directly to existing 6ft fence posts and expect a differentiation between the two?
- What materials would/would not be used in a pergola? For arguments sake if a fence is constructed of vertical posts joined by 3 horizontals and clad in feather edged boards, and a pergola is made from identical vertical posts joined by a single horizontal, does that preclude the use of further horizontals and feather edge boards in a pergola? (not that this is the way I think I'm going to go with it TBH)
- What I didn't say was that both the road and the garden raise upwards, and the wall/fence steps up in 6" increments as it moves away from the house. So this pergola is not going to be level. Along the entire side I have lowered the ground at the wall by say 20cm. So can I assume a 270cm (250+20) pergola height from current ground level measured at any given vertical point is acceptable?

... or are there no hard and fast answers to these questions, and a planning officer would have complete authority to rule one way or another as he sees fit?

Cheers, Jon.
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Re: Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:58 pm

Hi Jon,

a planning officer would have complete authority to rule one way or another as he sees fit?

a planning officer, the chief planning officer and the council solicitor all have authority to express an opinion is all.

only the Secretary of State can rule one way or another - which he typically devolves to the planning inspectorate.

a pergola is a pergola, whether it is fixed to another structure or is freestanding.

if your LPA had the audacity to suggest it was a fence and that they would begin enforcement action then you could offer to detach it and re-erect it an inch away.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Postby pushingtheboundaries » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:36 am

Hi

I appreciate the replies.

"you could offer to detach it and re-erect it an inch away." - This is exactly what I'm trying to avoid to be honest. To build a pergola bolted to the current fence posts I'd use 8' posts suspended 6" off the ground. To move that even an inch away to be freestanding would involve rebuilding the whole thing with 10' posts and sinking it into the ground using concrete, which would be difficult if not impossible in the location. :(

Just trying to nail my facts down before I plough in... :)

Cheers, Jon.
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Re: Pergola Advice (in conjunction with fence / boundary)

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:41 am

Hi,

I obviously wasn't clear.

I didn't mean you would detach and re-erect it.

I meant that you would make that point in the event your LPA claim it is a fence extension (which they're not likely to do if you build a pergola that happens to be braced to another structure).

Kind regards, Mac
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