Fences and retaining walls
CONTENTS

Do I need approval for a new fence?
Do I need approval for a new retaining wall?
Development checklists
Application form
Legal Services: Fences and the Law


DO I NEED APPROVAL FOR A NEW FENCE?
Development Approval for a new fence is required for all State or Local Heritage Places/Areas. It is also required for:

  • Land within the Hills Face Zone, a Flood Area, or Historic Conservation Area
  • A masonry fence greater than 1m in height
  • Other fencing exceeding 2.1m in height (measured from the lower of two adjoining finished ground levels) with no portion exceeding 1m in height within 6m of the intersection of two boundaries of land where those boundaries both face a road, other than where a 4x4metre cut-off has already been provided (and is to be preserved).

Fences should be regarded as a joint asset between neighbours. Even if your neighbour has not paid for the fence they are still a joint owner. This is because a fence on the boundary is legally considered to be part of the land on each side.

If you intend to remove or alter an existing fence, you are required to have your neighbour's permission, or a court order pursuant to the Fences Act.

If you want to construct a fence where there has not been one before, your neighbour has a right to object. It is therefore sensible to talk to your neighbour first.


DO I NEED APPROVAL FOR A NEW RETAINING WALL?

The altering of natural ground levels, whether fill placed on top of natural ground level or an excavation below natural ground level, will often require the construction of retaining walls. 

Development approval for a new retaining wall is required for all State or Local Heritage Places/Areas. It is also required for:

  • Land within the Hills Face Zone, a Flood Area, or Historic Conservation Area
  • Retaining a difference in ground levels exceeding 1m
  • A wall required to enable other development (e.g. retaining is required to construct a garden shed)

Note: Combined fence and retaining wall structures greater than 2.1m also require Council Approval.


DEVELOPMENT CHECKLISTS
Fencing and Retaining Walls fact sheet
Brush fencing checklist
Brush fencing checklist (Building Rules Consent only)

APPLICATION FORM
Click here to download a Development Application form (PDF)
The PDF can be printed and completed by hand, or completed within the document's fillable fields.

LEGAL SERVICES: FENCES AND THE LAW
The council does not have jurisdiction in civil matters regarding fencing disputes. A handy reference with contacts for free legal and mediation advice is provided by the Legal Services Commission of South Australia. They also offer a helpful guide for retaining walls.