Maximum Height Allowed for a Garden Fence WITH Trellis?

Garden fence
Here’s a scenario for you: you kind of enjoy privacy, but your property is on a slope and that garden fence is not exactly covering your secret backyard deeds…

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Debating over boundary fence height between neighbours may not always give birth to productive solutions. You are aware that the legal height limit for a fence is no more than 2 metres.
Yet, you start wondering… What if you put some trellises on top of the fence? Is there a legal height limit to that? Is a trellis even considered a fence according to your local council or is it some other kind of mystical barrier-being? Let’s dive right in.

A couple of very simple things you need to know about fence regulations:

  • You can’t erect a garden fence higher than 2 metres unless you have a planning permission. This is a general rule and it may vary across local councils. The regulation applies even when the land is steep. That being said, if you’re in a big, densely populated city where privacy is cherished, it’s not difficult to acquire one.
  • The fence is only yours if it is located on your property. If the fence belongs to your neighbour, you should in all cases discuss any modifications you plan on doing to it. This includes painting, attaching climbing plants, and even fence repairs.


With this out of the way, we can now answer the important questions.

Permitted maximum of total height for a boundary fence with trellis on top

There are three answers to be had here, and they all depend on your local authorities. Check in with them and, depending on what their garden wall policy is, you will have options. The maximum height of a garden fence with trellis on top is defined when:

  • Your council treats a trellis as a fence or a garden wall. In this case, the total height of your fence and trellis should not exceed 2 metres;
  • Your council treats a trellis as a “temporary structure”. The trellis on top can, therefore, exceed 2 metres. In this case, the fence itself falls under the category of “permanent structures” and thus its height limitation still remains. A ”temporary trellis” are trellises that are being used to support plants for a limited period of time (up to 28 days) during the year;
  • Your council treats a trellis as a fence only if it’s physically attached to your fence. Although rare, such a regulation will require you to install a free-standing trellis with its own upright support in order to make use of its height.

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Alternative fence height increasing ideas to try out

Communication is key. But what if the fence does not belong to you and your neighbour refuses to cooperate? Here are some practical fence height extension ideas for you:

  • Erect your own fence right next to the neighbour’s one. So long as you adhere to the allowed garden wall height regulations and it’s standing on your property, you should be fine. The case here is that the fence belongs to your neighbour and he does not want it to reach the height limit.
  • Plant freestanding mature hedges and bushes or other tall-growing plants like bamboo. These can reach 2 metres in height, acting as a living extension to your wall. If the hedge is the only boundary between you and your neighbour you will both share the responsibility of trimming it. There is also a “tall hedge” limitation of 2 metres.
  • Install your own freestanding trellis and plant some climbing dense vines nearby. The vines will easily grow over 2 metres. Sightly choices would be evergreen clematis, honeysuckle, trumpet vine. Russian vine is also suitable, but it’s highly invasive, so be careful with it.
  • Build a small shed or a greenhouse next to the fence. Installing outbuildings does not require planning permission so long as their height does not exceed 2.5 metres when they’re placed within 2 metres of the boundary. However, you can boost the allowed height to 4 metres if the shed or greenhouse is located more than 2 metres away from the fence.

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Did you find the info you were looking for? Have some additional questions? Or, perhaps, a neighbour-from-hell story to share? Do tell us in the comments then!

Header image source: Shutterstock / By hxdbzxy

Posted in Garden Advice

Last update: August 24, 2018
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