Here ae some rules to follow in order to legally carry out outdoor work, whether it is installing a garden shed, a summer kitchen, a swimming pool, a fence, a well, or even planting trees. Lightweight constructions (garden shed, summer kitchen, swimming pool, etc.)
No town planning authorization (building permit or declaration of works) is required for all structures whose floor area is less than 2m² and whose height does not exceed 1.5 meters. It is the same for walls less than 2 meters that do not serve as a fence.
A declaration of work is required for the construction or installation of premises (wood room, garden shed, veranda, stable, kennel, etc.), creating a gross floor area (SHOB) of less than 20m². This is also the case for the creation of a terrace, or a covered summer kitchen of less than 20m² or the installation of a light leisure dwelling (caravans, mobile homes, chalets), including the interior surface is less than 35m².
For uncovered swimming pools, whatever the surface, a simple declaration of work is necessary. On the other hand, a building permit is compulsory for covered swimming pools and any construction or installation of premises creating a gross floor area greater than 20m².
Building a fence
Only fences for agricultural or forestry use are not subject to declaration. In almost all other cases, a declaration of work is compulsory. This is also the case for a fence wall (the maximum height of which is determined by the Land Use Plan – POS). Before closing, check that there is no right of way.
Planting trees and hedges
The principle resulting from the Civil Code is as follows: so-called low-stem plantations (not exceeding 2m) must be at a minimum distance of 0.50m from the dividing line of the property. Trees with high stems (intended to exceed 2m in height) must be at a minimum distance of 2m from the dividing line.
However, it is advisable to check with the town hall, the town planning services or the Chamber of Agriculture of your municipality if there are no regulations or local practices in force. If you depend on a subdivision or co-ownership by-law, you must comply with it.
Maintenance, pruning and brush clearing obligations
When the plantations do not respect the obligatory distances at the level of the dividing limits with the neighbourhood, a request for pruning or uprooting can be made on the part of the owner or the neighbouring. Tenants are not entitled to make this request. It is forbidden to cut branches that protrude without the agreement of the owner of the plantation (except in the case of roots, brambles or twigs). But it is possible to require that they be cut at the dividing limit. As part of a rental, maintenance and pruning costs are the responsibility of the tenant.
The fruits that have fallen naturally to the neighbour belong to him. If the roots of your trees damage the neighbour’s floor coverings or his path, if your leaves are blocking his gutters or pipes or if your trees cause continuous loss of sunlight, the neighbour is entitled to claim compensation for the damage suffered, even if the planting distances have been respected.