Do You Need A Permit To Build A Patio In Your Yard?

With the construction of patios becoming such a rapid trend, many homeowners are beginning to inquire if there is a need for a permit to build a patio. It is a crucial question to ask so as not to run into preventable issues with the government. And if you are a good law-abiding citizen, you would want to abide by stipulated laws.

The truth about patio construction is that there are many requirements. Some will require a permit, and others will not. Nevertheless, patios are a great addition to every home.

It has become one of the most popular home renovations in recent times because it’s a great way to create an outdoor living space that can be used for hosting social events or simply relaxing with the family at any given time.

Another advantage is that they can be designed or constructed to suit personal standards. For instance, they could either be small or large, covered or uncovered.

Their increased functionalities and alignment with aesthetics have made them highly desirable. This article aims to answer all questions satisfactorily while providing additional information about patios.

Do You Need A Permit For A Concrete Patio?

As neither a deck nor concrete patio will completely alter the building technicalities of a house, they would usually not require a permit. Unless excavation concerns are involved. Building permits are generally related to the dimensions of the finished patio or external factors like environmental or protective zones.

In most cases, the critical thing determining whether or not a permit is needed is the height. Anything less than 30 inches from the ground will mean you do not need a permit.

But unless you are preparing to construct a large or mighty patio, the height or width issues are unlikely to present you with any building permit problems. 

However, meeting up with your local authority is highly advisable to check that everything you have planned meets all locally ingrained regulations. This is because requirements vary broadly in all local governments ranging from relaxed to restrictive and severe.

Do I Need A Permit To Extend My Patio?

do you need a permit to build a patioEvery Jurisdiction has a webpage explaining all the requirements and everything you need a permit for. If you have a patio you choose to extend, getting a permit depends mainly on the size, location, and even the material you would use for the extension.


 Also, if the extension would be connected to your home or the homes of others, you might need a permit. You will need a permit if it is not attached to any structure on your property but higher than 30 inches. You might also need a permit if you are attaching a cover or roofing.

The best thing is to visit your local government and discuss your structural extension plans. Sometimes finding the information you need for your area is accessible with an internet connection.

Do You Need A Permit To Add A Patio Cover?


A permit is usually required for a patio cover. In theory, building a patio cover can be done without a permit. However, homeowners can incur fees if, during the construction phase, it is cited by the city.

Worse issues could even arise if the structure fails or during a resell period. So in hindsight, it is not recommended to start building a patio cover without a permit.

When most homeowners want to construct a patio cover, they all go through two paths: hire a contractor or DIY. No matter what way you choose, there is a permit process for you to go through. If you plan to hire a contractor, ensure that he is licensed.

Most cities or counties have methods of checking out a contractor’s license, so this should make your investigation super easy. Once you hire a licensed contractor, the job is easy because they are familiar with your county or city’s permitting requirements and processes.

They could obtain it for you, work on the construction, and include the overall cost in their bid. On the other hand, if you are much more interested in DIY, you must contact your city or county for a permit.

Most cities make it easy by offering a guide online or via the phone that will lead you to the exact permit you desire based on the details of your project. Others might require you to take and pass a homeowners exam to demonstrate your ability and proficiency before granting you a permit. 

Ensure you are in contact with your most local governing body and following the correct building codes to obtain the proper permits. The more local the governing body is, the more strict the regulations are.

Do You Need A Permit To Build An Outdoor Kitchen?

You may not need a permit for an outdoor kitchen. However, you would need a plumbing or electrical work permit. As summer looms, outdoor kitchens are likely to be a rave all over the country, especially as pre-pandemic life is now in full swing.

But before losing yourself in the excitement of constructing an outdoor kitchen, remember that the neighbors won’t be the only ones interested in it.  Building officials might be interested in how big or small your planned construction is.

Before starting, whether your outdoor kitchen is large or small, stop by your local building department with a copy of your property survey. Most building officials are very friendly and more than pleased to help detailed but inexperienced homeowners.

It is crucial to understand that you are conscientious with your planning. Until everything is planned and thoroughly documented, do not visit the building officials in your vicinity.

They will request meticulous documentation about the wiring, plumbing, and construction specifics of things like pergolas, cabanas, and patios. Prepare for the best but also expect that your permit could be declined. They could also ask that you make changes to your structural plan.

Finally, if you speak with someone in the building department and they give you informal replies like “sure, go ahead,” make careful notes about who you talked to and when. Have irrefutable proof, if necessary, that you spoke to this person. This could save you a load of mountainous problems much later on. 

How Close To Property Line Can I Build A Patio?

It’s best to build 25 feet from the front yard property line to the edge of the patio cover foundation.

The property line to the edge of your patio cover foundation from the interior side yard should be about five feet.

Then from the exterior side yard, the property line on a corner lot to the edge of the patio cover foundation should be about 15 feet.

Do You Need A Permit for Patio Pavers?

Building codes can be confusing, and the last thing you want to do is build something that doesn’t comply with your area’s rules. The good news is that patio pavers don’t require a permit in most cases. But there are some exceptions.

You’ll first want to determine if your city requires any permits for this project.

You should be able to find this information on your city’s website or by calling the city planning office. They will be able to tell you if this project will require a building permit and, if so, how to apply for one.

While most cities don’t require permits for laying down patio pavers, some do. These cities will typically require a permit before any project that involves excavating or building something permanent begins.

This means that even though laying patio pavers may seem harmless enough, it could still technically fall under these requirements.

Since each city has its own rules and regulations, it’s better to be safe than sorry and check with your local government before starting this project.

Do you need a permit to pour concrete in your backyard

It’s good to check with your city or county to see if you need a permit to pour concrete in your backyard. You can sometimes get around this, but it depends on where you live and what kind of pouring you’re doing.

The best way to find out is to call the relevant government department. They can tell you what the rules are and whether you need a permit or not. If you don’t have time, you can also ask a contractor who knows the area well.

What Happens If You Build Without A Permit in California?

One thing to understand, first and foremost, is that construction isn’t as simple as buying a piece of land and starting to build immediately. To legally construct a building in California means going through obtaining a permit.

According to the California Building Standards Code, no building or structure can be erected, demolished, converted, enlarged, altered, repaired, or removed, unless a permit has been obtained.

The code requirements are distinctive for cities and counties around the state. So check with the building department in your vicinity.

Contractors or homeowners who go ahead to defy this law will be subjected to disciplinary action by the CSLB. Some penalty assessments can be as high as $5000 per violation and a license’s suspension or permanent revocation.

In addition, approval for building plans was established to ensure that all buildings adhere to local building and zoning codes. Therefore, it is no surprise that those who choose violation pay a costly price.

Do You Need A Permit For A Pergola in California?

As long as pergolas remain unconnected to the house and maintain a surface area of 107 square feet, they do not require any permits. If, however, this is not the case, a permit will be needed.

If it is attached to a separate property or a fence, then a building permit and a separate encroachment permit will be required from the city. Always remember to go with a copy of your plans.

Can I Build A Patio Without A Permit?

There are many things building officials put into consideration regarding patios. As such, there is a lot the homeowner must put into consideration as well.

For instance, what zone are you building in? Residential zone? Then it would be best if you considered boundary limits.

Next, what do your local regulations say about your building desires? Also, what is the actual size of the patio? And finally, how long will it take to construct your patio?

These questions are the most crucial ones and the most determining factors that will establish whether you need a permit or not.

What Is Needed To Build A Patio?

When building a patio, some non-negotiable materials are needed. They include:

  • Concrete

Concrete is a timeless material with lots of personality and style. It’s possible to give it a personalized look by sealing it with a stain. Stain is available in a wide variety of colors, so it won’t be impossible to find one that is uniquely suited and tailor-made for your home.

Sealing the concrete with a stain will ensure that the patio will be timeless without needing endless repairs. Concrete can also be stamped to resemble some materials such as brick, stone, tile, wood, and flagstone. Often, stamped concrete is cheaper than the material it is imitating.

Concrete is a unique combination of sand, water, cement, and gravel, and it offers more options and versatility than brick. Different ways in which you can use concrete include:

  • Smooth
  • Stamped
  • Brushed
  • Scored
  • Colored or tinted
  • Decorated with inlays
  • Painted
  • Patterned
  • Surfaced with materials like pebbles.
  • Natural Stones

As versatile and popular choices, Natural stones like flagstone, limestone, sandstone, and quartzite are well appreciated and a favorite for front entries and patios. They are available in distinctive colors and are well known for giving a patio a natural feel.

Also, they are known to last long and stay in top-notch shape just as long as they are properly maintained. They can also fit in easily with the rest of the landscaping. Let the patio be washed, sealed, and waterproofed twice a year for the best results with natural stones.

They all have names that reflect their geological classification. Sometimes it is best to get to know them properly before use. For instance, stonemasons know that moss rock is a common name for sandstone in New Mexico. But they could easily be sold to you using another name.

  • Pavers

Concrete pavers are great for large patios. They are also pretty similar to clay bricks. These days they are available in more colors than gray and pink, giving you a variety of options. They are easier to install than bricks, but it is best to note that they will last for less time than bricks. But this doesn’t make them less of a great option for patios.

  • Tile

Unglazed ceramic tiles are the absolute best for a patio floor. Glazed tiles are smoothly finished but can generally create an unsafe environment. The best types are porcelain, terracotta, and quarry.

Porcelain is fired up, rugged, and highly resistant. Terracotta has rustic looks but is best for subtle climates, while quarry gives a lot of traction. When using any of these tiles, it is crucial to use sealers. They offer enough protection. 

  • Gravel

Gravel comes with ease. It remains one of the easiest ways to build a patio. It can help with weed growth and offers a variety from decomposed to pea gravel. Also, it is relatively cheap; however, you would have to keep topping it up as time goes on. But it is still one of the best materials for patio construction.

How To Build A Patio?

If you aren’t into selecting contractors for your patio but prefer to get your hands dirty with DIY, then here’s how to build your patio. Before starting, get the following items ready:

  • Nylon Masonry line
  • Four metal spikes(12 inches long)
  • Shovel
  • Metal rake
  • Hand tamper
  • Line level
  • Trowel
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Premixed concrete
  • Polymeric sand

Starting with pavers is advisable if you are a beginner since they are inexpensive and easy to install. It’s best not to order the ones with curves or different sizes because you might not possess the prerequisite skill or time to cut them. A simple square design is all you need. However, you might not be able to do it all alone, so get help.

  • Start With The Masonry line.

Create two metal spikes 12 feet apart. Then create a tight 12-foot-long line across the midway point of the first. The line should be situated at the level you want the pavers to be.

  • Fasten And Affix Your Line Level

Attach the line in the direction you want the water to escape. The string must be at a reasonable level, and you need to keep checking during the construction process to be sure it hasn’t moved.

  • Have a Solid Foundation

The pavers can only be stable on a solid foundation. To make your foundation dig out six inches below the line. Then, dig an extra 4 inches around the patio perimeter.

 And then shove 2inches in and spread evenly with your large metal rake. You can do this using a hand tamper or rent a plate compactor for about $75 a day.

  • Sand Screeding/ Pipe Setting

After checking the depths, you can screed the sand to lock up the pavers. Set all pipes three feet apart so that this would guide you to the proper depth. If they are too high, bang them down. If they are too low, add more sand. 

Now, using the landscape rake, bring in the sand and spread one pile at a time across the entire patio. After screeding each section, lift the pipes out and fill the space with more sand. Finally, use your trowel to smoothen it out.

  • Securing The Pavers

Set up another straight line to guide you as you set up the pavers. Start square so the line doesn’t move out by the time you are done, leaving you with a patio that’s wide at one end.

  • Lay the first row and try not to step on the sand.
  • Once you get going, you can stand on top of the set pavers and keep going.
  • Make sure to keep the pavers as close to one another as possible.
  • Maintain a correct pitch. And when you reach the edges, you might need to cut the pavers. Again, use a chisel or hammer but have your safety glasses on.
  • Access Your Structure

  • Finish up by compacting all pavers together.
  • Using your hand tamper or plate compactor, run them over the pavers repeatedly until you are sure they are secure.
  • Sweep in polymeric sand across the patio
  • Run the compactor over it one final time or until you are satisfied.
  • Install Finishing Edges

To prevent the pavers from shifting out of place, use at least 8-foot-long metal pieces. Lay them along the edges, keep them a few inches below the pavers, and secure them with metal spikes.

You’re ready for barbecue and drinks, relaxation with a book, or chilling with friends. Be sure to brag and showcase your work as well.


Patios are immensely desirable and fast becoming a norm in real estate. However, knowing that you need a permit to build a patio, also understand that the construction might sometimes be arduous or tasking. Therefore, never hesitate to call a professional contractor.