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Last month, we talked about how Big Ideas, Small Spaces are becoming a popular trend for many Colorado Families. In this post, we will dig a little deeper and talk about the nitty-gritty part of projects: Permits. When you have big ideas, it’s easy to get carried away. But as you all know, big projects take a lot of planning, time, and money. One piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked, is the type of permit you will need to be in compliance with the local governments.

It can be frustrating to sort through the municipal codes and regulations. So, we’ve saved you the trouble! Below are a few scenarios that determine whether or not you need a permit. Remember, permits should be part of the planning phase, so you can begin working as soon as they are approved. Once you’re ready to break ground, our rental equipment selection will provide you the tools needed to get the job done.

Barns vs. Shed

Both Montrose and Ouray counties categorize barns and sheds differently. Furthermore, the regulations can depend on where you reside. For example, if you plan to build a standard-sized barn on your property, you have to file through the county or city. However, if you plan to just have a loafing shed, or a single-story storage shed, then no permit is required. There is one caveat–your shed has to be under 120 sq ft in Montrose, and 200 sq ft in Ouray, for it to be exempted.

If you have larger dreams of building a second home for your mother-in-law, or to become a rental property owner, there are some restrictions to consider. In Montrose, you can build a second home that connects to your septic, as long as you have a minimum of three acres. Or, if you have many acres, you can build one home, and one septic system, for each additional three acres. Either way, if you are building anything above 120 sq ft, you need a permit.

On the Fence?

A new fence can provide aesthetic qualities and utilitarian function to your home. Safety for children and pets are the most common reason to build a fence. However, many people also desire privacy, especially if you live in a residential neighborhood. Depending on your zip code, and the height of your fence, you may or may not need a permit.

If you’re a resident within city limits, you will need a permit for any fencing project. Most commonly, city dwellers cannot exceed 4′ in height when located within the required front yard setback and 6′ elsewhere. For most people, you won’t need anything taller than a 4′ or 6′ fence. Just in case, did you know that you can have an 8′ backyard fence as long as it doesn’t impede visibility for vehicles?

Outside of the city limits, it’s a different ball game. For any fence under 6′, you do not need a permit. This rings true for Ouray as well. If you’re planning a 6′ or taller fence, then you’ll have to complete a permit application. In fact, in Ouray county, any fence above 6′ is considered a structure. This can interfere with the county’s Visual Impact Corridors, which keeps structures from ruining the beautiful scenery in the area. Be sure to conduct due diligence before building that 6′ – 12′ fence.

Remember, on the Western Slope we have to dig holes below the frost line. The amount of feet you have to dig differs from town-to-town, and it can vary between 2-4 feet. Save yourself the trouble of manually digging your post holes and rent our pneumatic post driver.


Ready to spruce up your yard? For most cosmetic upgrades, you won’t need to worry about obtaining a permit. But who wants to go small these days? Here are two instances in which you’ll need a permit:

A pond. If you’ve been wanting to add a water feature on your property, you’ll have to secure a permit– no matter the size or depth of your watering hole. Since a pond exposes groundwater, you will need a well permit from the State of Colorado. In addition, you will need to obtain water storage rights. If you’ve gone through the proper channels, then what are you waiting for? We have the perfect backhoe to get the job done.

We’re pretty sure that the Western Slope is not only named for being located west of the Rocky Mountains, we think that it’s because of all the many slopes people have in their yards. If you have a sloped yard, then retaining walls are the best way to control downhill erosion. Depending on the size of a retaining wall you wish to build, you’ll need to acquire a permit. According to both Montrose and Ouray, any retaining wall above 4′ requires a permit. Once you’ve secured your permit, we’ve got all the tools you need to get started.

Permit, Schmermit?

Since waiting for a permit to be issued can take between 2 to 4 weeks, we understand that doing things the right way can take a little longer. Cutting corners, however, can leave you in between a rock and a hard place. Remodeling without a permit can actually decrease the value of your home. For instance, if you go ahead an build that barn sans permit, the insurance company will not cover any damages. Moreover, if you ever plan to sell your property with your new upgrades, the buyers will undoubtedly want to see the appropriate paperwork. If you can’t produce the permits, then you may lose out on costs. Finally, it’s never good to be on the wrong side of the law. Give your local offices a call if you have any permit doubts.