Everything You Need to Know About Planning Consent, Timber Decking, Tanalised Timber, Patio Pointing, Boundaries and Surface Drainage in Bingley and Aire Valley

Planning Consent

There are various aspects of landscaping work, even for the humble domestic garden, where Planning Consent may be required before work can commence. Most customers, and for that matter some contractors, are not aware of this.

For example, without PC, a fence fronting on to a public highway cannot be higher than 1m (2m elsewhere) or a timber deck higher than 300mm.

These are just some of the considerations which may have to be taken into account, and in some cases Building Regulations compliance may also be required.

A useful tool for checking out such matters is the UK Government’s interactive Planning Portal where you can navigate around a hypothetical house and garden to check out various aspects of planning law.

Timber Decking

Timber decks are not a cheap landscaping element if constructed properly, and we find that many customers balk at the price we give them for a timber deck.  All that most people see of a timber deck are the covering decking boards but this is only the finishing touch to a substantial construction beneath.

We have come to realise over time that this is because they fail to appreciate how much timber is ‘hidden’ under those decking boards in order to make the overall structure sound and built to last.  This means a lot of timber and consequently a fair amount of labour to put it in place.

As reputable professionals we build all our decks in compliance with current Building Regulations which means we build to the very same stringent requirements as a timber suspended floor inside a house with meaty joists and noggings. All this is supported on a substantial grid of supporting posts to keep the structure clear of the ground to ensure free air circulation to eradicate potential timber rot.

Tanalised Timber

All the timber which we use in our work is high quality tanalised timber. It has been pressure-treated for longer life expectancy and can be over-painted if required. Splits and shakes can occur in any piece of timber and this is quite natural but it does not affect its inherent strength.

Patio Pointing

If paving requires pointing we do not use brushed-in dry pointing as we believe this is only a short-term measure. We will always hand-point with a sand and cement mix which we can then force well into the joint.

When laying a patio next to a building we never point the gap between the two unless the customer insists. Differential movement between the building and the paving will nearly always result in the pointing cracking and lifting out. Instead, we will leave up to a 100mm gap and fill with a decorative gravel of suitable size, shape and colour.

Boundaries

Shared boundaries can be a hugely contentious issue and we are always keen to prove ownership before we begin work to protect both ourselves and the customer.

There are classic clues to ownership, but these only hold true if they have been observed during previous construction or repair work.  It’s always best to try and resolve any dispute by reference to the Deeds of the property.  For example, on a paling fence where, due to that particular design, the pales and posts are not central to the boundary line and are on ‘opposite sides’, the posts should be on the owner’s side.  This may seem odd, but the neighbour gets the best, ‘smooth’ side as it were.  A further example would be a dry stone wall where, traditionally, the Through Stones project only on the side of ownership.

The law pertaining to boundary flora is quite specific if not a little bizarre. Trees and shrubs belong to the owner of the land on which they grow. Overhanging branches or invasive roots crossing your boundary can be cut back by you (us) to the line of that boundary without the need for permission, but the prunings still legally belong to your neighbour and should be returned; not doing so could result in claims of theft! Equally, lopping beyond the boundary or doing the work from the neighbouring land without permission is technically trespass. In practice, of course, common-sense prevails and we find that both parties have come to an agreement beforehand and are quite happy for us to work from both properties and remove all waste, but it is worth knowing the facts. We would also recommend taking into consideration the welfare of the tree and the resulting shape when planning any work of this nature.

Surface Drainage

Since 2008 the planning regulations have been tightened around surface water run-off and its subsequent drainage. With more frequent heavy precipitation and more and more hard surfacing of the land, we have witnessed much flooding of low-lying areas of late. The rivers cannot contain the run-off and they shed their waters onto the land often with devastating effect.

In order to retain the natural ‘sponge’ potential of the land and reduce the flash-flood run-off, the planners have put strict guidelines in place which we as landscapers have to adhere to when faced with hard-surfacing a garden or laying a driveway.  Block paving now incorporates pavers with larger gaps to aid drainage and these are to be laid on a deeper draining sub-strate.  A porous tarmac has been developed to let water drain through it. Hard surfacing of a front garden cannot be 100% ; some open ground such as a bed or border has to be left for surface water to drain into so that it can slowly dissipate.

If you have any queries relating to the information shared on this page, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.