a low wooden hit and miss fence with a curved trellis top behind a garden chair and stool

Front garden fence height regulations in the UK

You are ready to build a new fence or replace an existing fence. There's an important question to ask: "How high can a garden fence be?" Don't get caught out by planning officers and your local council about fence height. Read on to make sure you know the fencing rules.

Editor’s Note [25.03.2024]:

Our article about garden fence height in the UK was originally published on July 3, 2014. Today we have made major updates throughout the article. New sections include dos and don’ts of setting up a garden fence, maximising garden aesthetics, and additional information on the legal height of fence runs.

Legal height of fences in the UK

The general rule of thumb is that in a property’s back garden, fence panels can be a maximum of 2m high. When considering front garden fences, bear in mind that a fence adjacent to a driveway may not be higher than one metre, or three feet.

Navigating front garden regulations - how high can a garden fence be?

Generally, you will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a fence, garden walls or a gate that would be over 1 metre high AND next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway); OR over 2 metres high elsewhere.

However, this is subject to individual restrictions, such as if the boundary adjoins the land of a listed building. Therefore, make sure you check your plot limitations. If you want to build higher than the rule of thumb, check your local planning authority rules as in most areas you will need planning permission. This is particularly the case in a conservation area, where more stringent planning laws apply.

Remember the Neighbours

Though your neighbours don’t wield the power of the local council, it is also wise to consider the impact the height of a fence will have on their garden.

Be aware that the height is calculated from your ground level. If your land sits higher or lower than your neighbour’s land this may have an impact.

If you are erecting a fence where one has not been before, or dramatically changing the height of your boundary, it is common courtesy to let your neighbour know beforehand.

a cartoon drawing showing 2 neighbours chatting over a fencea cartoon drawing showing 2 neighbours chatting over a fence

Garden Fence Height in the UK - How High Should I Build My Fence?

Now you know how tall your fence can be, you might want to think about how tall it should be. The legal height of fence runs all depends on the role you want for your fence.

tongue and groove fence paneltongue and groove fence panel
Forest 6' x 6' Pressure Treated Vertical Tongue and Groove Fence Panel (1.83m x 1.83m) - Click Image to View

For the ultimate in security and privacy, a 6ft fence panel will do the job.

Consider a lower 4ft fence or 5ft fence with a trellis topper for a softer boundary.

fence panel with slatted topperfence panel with slatted topper
Forest 6' x 5' Kyoto Pressure Treated Decorative Fence Panel (1.8m x 1.5m) - Click Image to View
a decorative pressure treated fence panela decorative pressure treated fence panel
Forest 6' x 5' Paloma Pressure Treated Decorative Fence Panel (1.8m x 1.5m) - Click Image to View

For a front garden, a low 3ft fence will achieve a more open, welcoming frontage to your property.

If privacy isn’t such a concern, open-slatted fence panels or part trellis fence panels of any height offer pretty, decorative fencing.

a slatted fence panela slatted fence panel
Forest 6' x 6' Pressure Treated Contemporary Slatted Fence Panel (1.8m x 1.8m) - Click Image to View
fence run damaged and knocked over by windfence run damaged and knocked over by wind

Also, bear in mind that a taller fence is more vulnerable to harsh winds. Standard 8’ fence posts are designed to support a maximum of 2m/6ft. If you build higher than this, you may increase the risk of wind damage.

Dos and Don'ts tips for complying with local fence height rules

Listed below are dos and don’ts that will prove useful for your garden fencing project.


Always understand the law and local government regulations about how high can a fence be, before commencing installation. Your decisions cannot purely be based on décor and what looks nice, your fencing must be lawful and ideally also be received well by your neighbours. You need to work your hardest to communicate your fencing plans with your neighbours to avoid long-term rifts and arguments.


There is also a few don'ts. Never estimate the measurements, instead use the right tools to accurately size your fence posts. Do not forget to consider the style and type of fencing which you are installing. Remember, certain styles can look overwhelming if they are too tall. Lastly, do not ignore the impact of your fence on the overall look of your garden. Even within height limits, you want that fence to be the cherry on top of your garden’s décor, not a sore thumb sticking out.

Balancing aesthetics with height limits and building regulations

Try some of these ideas, which are also a style statement for your fencing:

  • Artistic features - treat your fence as if it was an art canvas? For example, add mosaics, murals or hang outdoor art for extra appeal
  • Colour pop fences - brighten up your fencing with bold colours. A splash of paint or stain transforms a standard fence. Think of colours including vibrant blues, bright yellows, or earthy greens to add personality and decorative effect in your garden
  • Creative lighting - use outdoor lights, which will be practical as a guide in the night. Fairy lights or solar lamps add a touch of magic and look great. If you use solar powered lights you will save on electricity too, compared to plugged in external electric lighting
  • Intricate lattice work - incorporate lattice sections into your fencing for a touch of elegance. They contribute to your privacy too, but the gaps mean that natural light is not entirely blocked out
  • Mixed material magic - combine wooden fencing with materials such as metal or glass for a contemporary decorative effect. This approach adds texture and interest too
  • Playful planting - positioning planters or hanging baskets along your fence can be for decorative or adding height reasons. It gives you extra space to garden through a vertical gardening technique. Also “playful planting” is an easy way to add both life and colour to your garden
  • Sleek slatted designs - opt for horizontal slats for both a modern design and because they are good at coping with strong winds. Slatted fencing creates a sense of space, looks sleek and has a simplicity about it
  • Trellis topper - add a trellis section to the top of your fence for extra height and flair. It is perfect for climbing plants and adds a vertical gardening dimension too

Conclusion and what to do next...

Before you start hammering those fence panels in, it is crucial to know the front garden fence height regulations in the UK. Do not let planning permission catch you out; make sure you are fully aware of the maximum fence height in the UK and how high can a garden fence be.

Remember, front garden fences adjacent to driveways should not exceed one metre, and back garden fences have a max height of 2m. It is not just about the local council though; consider your neighbours when you are planning that towering fence. Keep your garden looking fabulous within the rules, and you will have a fence that is not just legal, but also is a stunning part of your home's curb appeal.

Whichever height fence you want, as one of the leading suppliers of fencing in the UK, Buy Fencing Direct has a super choice for you.

Before you erect a fence, check out our Which Fence is My Fence? blog. If you can increase the height of your fencing, read how to make your fence taller for further information.

Or, if you are ready to start building your fence, why not check out How to Install a Fence Post?

Contact Buy Fencing Direct

At Buy Fencing Direct our advice about UK fence height is to tread carefully. Always understand how high a garden fence can be in your garden before you buy and do not repent at your own leisure and risk neighbour wrath.

We are available for advice about fencing styles, sizes, and advice about the maximum garden fence height in the UK. Contact us in these ways:

  • Phone calls - 0333 003 0515
  • E-mails - use our contact form to send these
  • Text chat – simply use our live chat app to text chat with us in real-time