Design guidelines

A guide to work on a heritage property

Scale and character

  • Additions should be designed to respect the form and style of the existing building. They should not visually dominate the existing building.
  • Materials should generally match, but new materials should appear as later work, not part of the original building. For example, window material should be the same as the existing building but mortar replaced by new mortar of similar strength and colour
  • Details can differ from the existing building but generally complement those used in the architectural period. For example, Federation details should not be used on a Californian bungalow style.

Roofs and chimneys

  • Roofs should match existing form and massing, not dominate and not involve more elaborate detail
  • Cladding materials should match the existing ones
  • Chimneys should be retained as traditional elements 


  • Verandas are appropriate for the majority of building styles in Ku-ring-gai
  • Verandas and porches should be retained and not infilled
  • It is desirable to remove infill work 

 Colour schemes

General colour choice can be the property owner's, under these guidelines:

  • Traditional colours can be matched to the house style and can enhance the appearance
  • Colour schemes can be based on original or later schemes determined by paint scrapes or other investigative processes
  • New schemes can be used but generally should use three to four colours with architectural details picked out in contrasting colours

Windows and doors

  • New windows and door openings should generally match the existing in proportion and material.


  • A garage must be sited to rear, side or under the existing house and preferably detached in the rear yard. It must not be at the front of the property.
  • For double garages, doors should be separate.
  • Additional car spaces should be designed to be secondary and as a lean-to addition to reduce bulk.
  • Carports should be simple open structures without decoration.
  • Original gravel drives should be retained.
  • Wheel strips with grass or gravel infill are preferred.
  • Driveways should be single car width so they do not dominate gardens.
  • Where existing circular drives exist, they should be retained.

Front fences and gates

  • Front fences and gates should be appropriate to the architectural period or style.
  • They should not form visual barriers to the streetscape and the height must be appropriate.
  • They must be consistent with other Council fence policies.

Pools and tennis courts

  •  Pool and tennis courts are new elements. They are generally acceptable if they can be built in an appropriate location, do not require removal of significant trees or garden elements and do not have an adverse impact on the setting.
  • They must conform with other Council policies.


  • Are a strong and distinctive part of the heritage of Ku-ring-gai.
  • New gardens should be appropriate for the style and period of the house.
  • Existing mature trees are protected and should be retained.

Dormers and skylights

  • Flat skylights are usually acceptable on roofs but should be unobtrusive, not on the main elevation and an appropriate size.
  • Dormers are common to certain architectural styles and not appropriate on some styles.
  • Dormers must be carefully located and of an appropriate size.