Legal height for pergola

Legal height for pergola

Postby hopefulfencer » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:40 pm

Hi all - I'm sure this has been asked a zillion times (in which case, sorry!), but we want to build a single pergola at the end of our garden to screen out the view of a residents parking area at the back and want to check the maximum height allowed.

The garden is pretty small, and already has a wooden gazebo in one corner which is masking some of the view, but the other two thirds still overlook the car park. We have an existing fence with some trellis on top, and behind the trellis we've attached some of that instant hedging on expandable trellis. It looks pretty good, gives a bit of greenery and stops people (and us) being able to see through the trellis. But it isn't high enough to block out the view (and the windows overlooking us), and we have a 2m height restriction on the fence. So we thought about building a pergola/arch type thing - basically a flat structure that would be placed in the flower bed in front of the fence (not attached to it as I'm not sure if attaching it would make it part of the fence - and therefore fall foul of the 2m restriction?). We'd use some more of the fake leafy trellis stuff at the top of it (attached from behind) to block the view. I've done a mock-up image of what we're thinking about to hopefully give you an idea. We'd put the expanding leafy trellis at the top of the pergola but only bring it down as far as the wooden trellis behind, so you'd still see the fence. Eventually we'd want to grow some climbers etc over it, but as an instant fix we were thinking of using the fake leafy stuff.

So, if we wanted to build this pergola to be 2.5m tall, would that be acceptable and is that the maximum we'd be allowed? Or would it be looked on as a fence that's over 2m and get us in trouble?! It would be free standing, we thought we'd concrete the posts into the soil.

We're thinking about either doing a flat pergola just partway across the back fence, or possibly going into a corner right-angle shape following the flower bed. If we decided to make it go round a corner a little way would that make a difference to the height we're allowed? I've attached a picture showing where the supports would go if we did this - it would still just be a flat pergola arch, no roof, etc.

Thanks for your help! :)
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby despair » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:12 pm

why not simply install tall poles as high as you like fwd of the fence with wires between and then plant jasmine,clematis etc to grow up and create a living screen
theres no height rules etc on that
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:22 am

Hi hopefulfencer,

your plan seems fine to me except for the 'leafy trellis' bit - but that's just personal taste.

none of it breaches planning law if it's 2.5m tall though, so away you go!

Kind regards, Mac
ps attaching it to the fence will not make it part of the fence - it will mean you have a different structure rather than a fence across that stretch...
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby hopefulfencer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:41 am

Great, thanks very much both of you! The leafy trellis idea is just to give us something instant while we wait for plants to grow up the posts (and it doesn't look as bad as it sounds, trust me!).

Many thanks :)
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby SarahSue » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:11 pm

If you want instant coverage, one idea is to thread fake ivy or climbers through the trellis. You do get some very realistic looking ones these days. We did that with our trellis and it looks terrific. We have a mixture of yellow roses and ivy. It becomes a nice garden feature.
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby hopefulfencer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:59 pm

SarahSue wrote:If you want instant coverage, one idea is to thread fake ivy or climbers through the trellis. You do get some very realistic looking ones these days. We did that with our trellis and it looks terrific. We have a mixture of yellow roses and ivy. It becomes a nice garden feature.


Thanks SarahSue - that's pretty much what we wanted to do actually! We've found some that looks pretty realistic and comes already entwined through willow trellis, so I'm really pleased to hear it worked well for you. Great minds think alike! :)
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby jonahinoz » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:29 pm

Hi Fencer,

You could phone your Planners, ask your chances to get PP for a taller fence. Hopefully, they won't go all po-faced, and demand that you pay for their opinion.

Is anybody likely to object to a taller fence? I doubt that the cars will. You could suggest to the car-park owner that a row of lock-up garages would bring him an income of £500+ per year return for outlay of £3,000 to £4,000 ... or sell for £10,000. Let him spend his money.

John W
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby hopefulfencer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:32 pm

jonahinoz wrote:Hi Fencer,

You could phone your Planners, ask your chances to get PP for a taller fence. Hopefully, they won't go all po-faced, and demand that you pay for their opinion.

Is anybody likely to object to a taller fence? I doubt that the cars will. You could suggest to the car-park owner that a row of lock-up garages would bring him an income of £500+ per year return for outlay of £3,000 to £4,000 ... or sell for £10,000. Let him spend his money.

John W


Ah now see, John, you've unknowingly raised a sticky issue there!!

The reason we want to build this screening is because we used to have a lovely row of mature trees at the end of the garden between us and the (noisy, gravel coated) car park. Complete privacy, security and sound insulation, perfect. Then the people who owned the car park sent a troop of tree surgeons along who chopped the whole lot down - resulting in us having a horrible view of the car park along with flats and houses behind us. We spent a fortune buying wooden trellis etc to raise our fence height up just far enough so that it blocked the view of the cars that are parked behind us and the windows overlooking us - completely, stupidly, not thinking there was a 2m rule on fences (we'd raised it to about 2.4m high). We then had a letter from council telling us that a neighbour had complained and we must take the fence down to 2m - the only people who would complain are those that park their cars or live in the flats (which are right over the other side of the car park, so its not as if we're overshadowing them or spoiling their view, etc!). So yes, seems like someone (or one of the cars??!) does like to complain! And the council (who are pretty snotty to be honest) have told us we can apply for planning permission but at the end of the day its unlikely to be passed because the 2m rule is the 2m rule.

So the result is we are having to think outside the box, hence the whole pergola idea! :(
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:58 am

its unlikely to be passed because the 2m rule is the 2m rule.

Hi Fencer,

Surely the rule is "Fences up to 2m high do not require PP"? Which implies that over 2m high, they do require PP? Do your LA have a policy against fences over 2m high? Ask them where you can refer to it? My understanding is that you pay for planning applications, but appeals are free ... to you. The Council have to pay their solicitor. I believe the "Judge" will help those that are not represented.

Donning my "What if?" hat ... what if you painted the other side of your fence a delicious shade of purple? Or made contact with your local chapter of Graffiti Bandits? I'd like to suggest a big notice saying NO PARKING IN FRONT OF THIS FENCE, but I think notices and signs do require PP. Doh!

But yeah, a pagoda is probably the most sensible solution, though maybe not the most interesting.

Off topic ... Peter Hain MP had his constituency office in Neath. Somebody opened a censored shop next door. There seemed to be nothing he could do about it. I oft wondered if it was deliberate. :twisted:

John W
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:29 am

Hi Fencer,

It seems you do not live in Brent.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/three_meter_high_fence_planning

I have watched teen-age louts climb over a 2m high "wrought iron" fence with spikes on the top ... as though it wasn't there. Our local Community Police Officer found shoe prints on the roof of his car, indicating it had been used as a ladder to get over a wall. If my garden backed onto a car park, I'd want more than a 2m high fence.

John W
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby hopefulfencer » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:29 am

Ha, purple fence, love that idea!!! We were also considering topiary, in the shape of two fingers, but not sure we've quite got the skill for that. Sadly. ;)

May well have another think about appealing though... if nothing else it will buy us a bit of time so we don't have to tackle fencing in the wind and rain!
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Re: Legal height for pergola

Postby hopefulfencer » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:33 am

jonahinoz wrote:Hi Fencer,

It seems you do not live in Brent.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/three_meter_high_fence_planning

I have watched teen-age louts climb over a 2m high "wrought iron" fence with spikes on the top ... as though it wasn't there. Our local Community Police Officer found shoe prints on the roof of his car, indicating it had been used as a ladder to get over a wall. If my garden backed onto a car park, I'd want more than a 2m high fence.

John W



Absolutely! And will definitely have a read of that link, thanks John!
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