Do I need To Obtain a Permit to Build In My Yard?

There is an increasing interest in building in your back yard. This is becoming normal due to the cost of moving and the high level of house prices. Building in your back yard is becoming the logical and sometimes only choice when looking to expand your home or create a space to look after aging relatives.

Of course, you can’t just build in your back yard; there are several steps you need to take to ensure your project will go smoothly.

House Backyard


It is possible to build in your back yard without permission but it depends n what you are hoping to build.

You will need to check with the regulations in your specific state but the general guidelines are:

  • Small scale builds do not need permission
  • Pergolas, decks and sheds are generally exempt from planning guidelines
  • Landscaping or lawn replacement is fine
  • Change of use and adding dwellings does need permission

You will almost certainly need permission if you are fewer than one of these headings:

  • In a conservation area
  • Listed as a heritage building
  • Near or even on contaminated land
  • Located by a road widening project
  • Near land prone to bush fires
  • Flood areas

These are just some of the criteria; it is essential than you check with your local counsel to ensure you can build you project.

Know The Land

It is also important that you know the land. Ideally you should have a survey completed to decide what utilities run under your land and identify who may need to access them.

This may not affect your permission to build but it will affect what build you can do and whether you actually want to or not. This is why it is worth having a survey completed before you submit a planning request.


You also need to consider the cost and the disruption that excavating the land will cause. It is possible to use hydro vacuum excavation which minimizes the mess and gives you the maximum level of safety.

Again, this is not something that will affect your permission be granted but it is a consideration in the total cost.

Both checking what runs under the ground and the cost of excavation are often overlooked when planning a build in your back yard. Yet they can make a huge difference to the viability of you build.

It is therefore essential to check the planning guidelines first, then survey the land and get a price for excavation; before you submit any planning permission request.

In this way you can calculate a realistic budget and decide if the project is worthwhile before you spend any money on planning permission.

If you do go ahead with the build then you must make sure that you adhere to any planning permission requirements and have the finished building signed off by a certified professional. You do not want to be told to take it down again!

Image via Pixabay / paulbr75

  • I want to do some construction in my yard this year. It is good to know that it would be smart to get a permit. I wouldn’t have thought about checking if I need to get something like that to do work in my home.

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