Exterior home project guide

Exterior home project guide
Posted on 03/23/2021
Planning to tackle some improvement projects this spring? Know when you need to get a permit and how to build a safe, quality project that follows City codes.

General permit and project tips

  • It’s a popular time of year for building, replacing or rehabilitating outdoor structures like decks, fences and sheds. Before you get started, keep in mind these pointers from our Community Development staff.
  • You’ll need a plot plan showing the location on your property and a diagram of the project. It’s well worth your time to contact the City in advance to get a plot plan and ask any questions. Email [email protected].
  • Anything you build must be done with quality materials that are consistent with the surrounding architectural character. If you have questions about materials, contact Planning staff at 913.477.7725.
  • Only the owner/occupant or a licensed contractor can obtain a permit.
  • City staff won’t assess current structures or design structures for you. If you’re unsure, contact a contractor. Use the Johnson County Contractor Licensing Program to search for a contractor at JoCoGov.org.
  • Don’t know if you need a permit? Need some help with regulations on a projects? Find a list of project codes and helpful guides at Lenexa.com/Permits.


  • Permits are required. Check setback requirements before applying.
  • Fences can’t be more than 6 feet tall in residential areas.
  • Don’t plan to put a fence in easements or swales.
  • The nice side (finished side) must face out with the framing members facing inward.
  • Your fence must be maintained in good conditions: no missing pickets, shouldn’t sway, etc.


Codes help ensure that structures are built and maintained to a safe standard — and that’s especially important for people-bearing construction like decks. Check your deck each year for these safety concerns:

  • Handrails are secure.
  • Framing/structure is in good condition.
  • No rotting materials.
  • Stairs will handle weight/foot traffic.
  • Treads aren’t missing.
  • Deck isn’t pulling off or away from the house.

Permits are required for new decks, replacing or expanding a deck or any major repairs that include changing framing.

Deck construction is often more complicated than other common DIY projects, like building a fence. Common issues our building inspectors spot when they’re inspecting a deck include:

  • Inadequate beam support.
  • Using screws in joist hangers instead of nails.
  • Incorrect materials — make sure you’re using decay-resistant or treated materials.
  • Closed risers more than 30 inches above grade.
  • Detailed stair and handrail requirements aren’t met.

Our deck guide is an excellent resource to check out before starting any deck project. View the guide at Lenexa.com/YourHome.

Sheds and accessory structures

If the new structure is smaller than 120 square feet, you don’t need a permit. You must still meet setback regulations and other City codes.

There are size restrictions based on the size of your lot.

These must be maintained in good condition, free of peeling paint or wood rot.

Published March 23, 2021