How Close Can You Build A Pergola To A Fence?

Pergolas look very nice and can define the style of the home but it’s not always clear how and where to place them in back yards.

A pergola is a beautiful addition to any home and can be used for a variety of purposes, but a common question many homeowners ask is how close can you build a pergola to a fence?

In general, you can build a pergola at least 5 meters from a fence or a building line and 9 meters in other areas. The exact distance depends on the size of your yard. If you want to build a pergola close to a fence, build it only if your local codes allow it.

This post is based on general information only. Specific situations will be different and may require a customized solution. This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you want to know more about the laws, rules, and regulations that impact your project please ask your local council or city planning department.

Are There Any Preferred Places To Build A Pergola?

It’s always better to build a pergola on your own property line or at least 5m away from any buildings or fences. This way you won’t have trouble building it or adding fixtures like lighting because nobody else has an issue with it being built in that specific place. If you plan on making changes or additions in the future, you will also have more flexibility to design and improve it in ways that work for you.

You should also remember that every pergola built on your property line will affect how you can design and modify anything else on your property because of its proximity to it.

A pergola built too close to your house will limit any changes you want to make in the house or garden. If you want a pergola, remember that it’s not always possible or practical to build one in close proximity to other things so be prepared with an alternate plan for when that happens.

Reasons For Keeping Pergola Away Fence Lines

There are several reasons why you may want the pergola to be at least 5 meters from your neighbors fence.

  • Firstly, there are aesthetic and design reasons. A beautiful and well-designed pergola enhances the appeal of your home as well as providing privacy for you and your family. Building it near a fence may reduce its beauty benefits.
  • Secondly, you need to keep people off of walkways and patios around your pergola so they don’t damage or damage plants or decorations when they walk by it on their way to their own backyard.
  • Finally, if a tree grows up near the fence (some neighbours often plant trees near fences), it can block its light which may reduce any beauty benefits of the shade structure.

Can You Still Attach A Pergola To A Fence?

Technically, you can still attach a pergola to your fence assuming the fence is built to specification.

When attaching a pergola to a fence it should be done so properly with four strong posts and metal fasteners.

There are several factors that should be considered before attaching a pergola to any fence.

These factors primarily focus on two things: safety and structural integrity.

Structural Integrity

Structural integrity covers the strength of the pergola itself. No one wants a flimsy pergola to hang over their fence! The material used in construction plays an important role in strength. Not all materials are created equal. The two most common choices in pergola construction are wood and aluminum.


When it comes to safety, it’s important to note that a pergola hanging over the top of your fence can present several hazards.

Hanging laundry from your backyard fence is one thing but doing so with a pergola is another thing altogether!

Not only could you risk falling from the pergola itself, but children or animals may get caught in the ropes or chains used to secure the material — not to mention what could befall a person who would wander into your yard.

Standard Specifications

Aside from these potential dangers, there are fencing requirements that need to be properly addressed prior to attaching a pergola over your fence. It takes planning to ensure that everything meets code requirements and standard specifications.

Attaching Objects To Your Neighbors Fence

You may be able to attach things to your neighbor’s wall, but it is worth asking their permission first.

The law about this can be quite complex but in a nutshell, if you are on the right side of the wall then you do not need permission.

If you are on the other side of the fence, then you will need permission from them to attach any material such as a plant pot.

If you get planning permission for something and it involves screwing into walls, then the consent of adjoining properties is required before the work is started.

If you have something physically attached to physical property that belongs to another person, you risk prosecution for criminal damage unless you have been given permission to do so.

Even if the item is placed on top of a wall and thus technically on your property, technically it’s still classed as being attached to the shared wall, so permission should be sought from your neighbor before attaching anything.

You may also need planning permission from your local council which could be a lengthy and difficult process.


In conclusion, you can build a pergola close to a fence but it is worth checking with your local codes first.

If you are allowed to build one close to your fence, then it is probably best to attach the pergola to the home and not the fence itself.

Always keep in mind that fencing is for safety and not just to create a boundary.

If you have any doubts whatsoever, ask your neighbors about attaching anything to their fence, particularly if it may fall on someone or something else. Always act with caution before planning to build a pergola close to your fence.