Rowlinson Palermo Grey Fence Panels, with solid infills, and of various heights

Fence height is probably the most important consideration when choosing a new garden boundary or modifying an old one, so it’s essential to get it right.

Here, we explain the legal requirements surrounding the height of your fence, consider the pros and cons of differently-sized fence panels, and explain how to increase the height of an existing fence run.

Fence Height – What Are the Rules?

an infographic showing the legalities of garden fence heightGarden fences, just like the buildings they belong to, are subject to planning regulations, so the first thing to ensure when erecting a new fence, or modifying an existing fence’s height, is that you’re not breaking the law.

In a back garden, your fence should be no higher than 6.5 feet (2 metres), while a front garden fence, if next to a footpath or public road, should be no taller than 3.28 feet (1 metre).

Should you wish to erect a taller garden boundary, or if the land adjoins a listed building, be sure to contact your local authority to obtain planning permission before you commence work.

an angry neighbour, waving his fistConsider Your Neighbours Too 

The garden boundary in question might belong to you but it will also affect your neighbours, so it’s only common courtesy to notify them of your intentions beforehand.

If their garden is lower-lying than your own then choosing anything taller than your existing fence run might have a detrimental impact on them. Chances are that they will welcome a brand-new fence, but it’s always good to check first and keep neighbourly relations cordial.

What Size of Fence Panel Should I Choose?

Fence panels are generally 6 feet (1800mm) wide but their height can vary between 3 and 6 feet.

Forest 6' x 3' Closeboard Fence Panel3ft Fence Panels

3ft fence panels are perfect for front gardens.

They are also suitable for rear gardens when positioned atop a low-lying wall, if you and your neighbours don’t require privacy, or to compartmentalise different sections of your own outdoor space.

Forest 6' x 4' Pressure Treated Featheredge Fence Panel4ft Fence Panels

4ft fence panels clearly denote your garden boundary but won’t obscure your views. If your back garden looks out onto beautiful scenery but you want a clear marker to show neighbours or passers-by where your land begins, a 4ft fence panel is ideal. Of course, they are also suitable to use in conjunction with a low-lying wall when forming a taller garden boundary.

Forest 6' x 5' Pressure Treated Tongue and Groove Fence Panel5ft Fence Panels

Providing effective privacy and security, but not overbearing, 5ft fence panels are a popular choice. Yes, if you’re tall, you might still catch a glimpse of the neighbours but 5ft fencing still allows you to relax in your garden without the feeling that you’re on public show.

Forest 6' x 5'11 Acoustic Noise Reduction Tongue and Groove Fence Panel6ft Fence Panels

Ideal if your back garden is next to the street or public land, 6ft fence panels maximise your privacy and security. They also make a real standout garden feature. 6ft fence panels are our tallest size of fencing.

Other Considerations When Choosing Fence Panel Height

Fence Panels in Windy Areas

All other things being equal, the taller the fence, the more vulnerable it is to strong winds, so if you live in a particularly windy area, it might be advisable not to go too large.  

Also, fence posts are designed to support fence panels 2ft shorter than themselves. For example, an 8ft fence post is used with a 6ft fence panel. If you decide to increase your existing fence’s height, you might need to consider replacing the posts too.

Forest 5'11 x 2'11 Heavy Duty Pressure Treated Pale Picket Fence PanelSun and Natural Light

If you enjoy your garden being a sun trap, and having plenty of natural light, remember that taller, traditionally-styled fence panels, without gaps, can potentially reduce both of these things.

Fence Panels, Children and Pets

If you have young children or pets, how will new fence panels impact them?

If they mostly spend time inside the garden, taller fence panels will keep them safer. However, if they’re used to playing or roaming outside the confines of your property, a lower-lying fence allows you to keep an eye on them.

How to Increase the Height of Fence Panels

The size of your fence panels needn’t be the same as the overall height of your garden boundary. You can increase the height of your fence run by other means too.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to increase the height of your fence. Usually, this will be to increase your garden’s privacy and security levels, but you can also do so to improve its aesthetic appeal.

Forest 6' x 1' Diamond Lattice Trellis Fence TopperFence Toppers

An attractive fence topper is an effective, money-saving way to add a touch of glamour to structurally-sound but uninspiring fencing.

Slatted and trellis fence toppers are inspired choices as they allow a degree of natural light to pass through them. Trellis, of course, can be used to train and support climbing plants, creating a completely unique fence run, which is at one with the natural aspects of your garden. A prickly climbing plant has the added benefit of improving security. After all, burglars might think twice before attempting to scale a fence topped with thorns!

Find out more about garden trellis here.

As fence toppers typically measure under a foot (300mm), there are no planning issues when fixing them on anything up to and including a 5ft fence panel. For 6ft panels, be sure to check the exact combined measurement before buying.

Forest 6' x 6" Pressure Treated Wooden Gravel BoardGravel Boards

With a height of about 6 inches (150mm), a gravel board can legally be used with any size of fence panel. As well as increasing the height of a fence, they provide other important benefits.

Firstly, by keeping the fence panels off the ground, they protect them from the ground moisture which leads to rot and fungal decay. This will extend the life of your fencing.

Secondly, gravel boards, combined with high-quality fence panels and fence posts, ooze aesthetic appeal. Choose concrete gravel boards for a contemporary garden design or pressure-treated wood for a more traditional, natural look.

For more information about fence toppers, gravel boards, and other fencing accessories, click here.

3ft, 4ft, 5ft and 6ft Fence Panels for Sale

Forest 6' x 3' Waney Overlap Fence PanelBuy Sheds Direct are experts in garden fencing, so feel free to contact one of our friendly, UK-based customer service representatives if you need advice on fencing-related matters.

We stock 3ft, 4ft, 5ft and 6ft fence panels in a wonderful choice of designs, along with fence toppers, gravel boards and other fencing accessories. For all this and more, view our superb range of garden fencing now.