We all know that having good manners means saying “please” and “thank you,” but did you know that when it comes to installing a new fence, there’s such a thing as “fence etiquette”?
You could just decide what kind of fence you want, make sure it fits in your budget, and then give the go-ahead for installation. But if you have surrounding neighbors, your fence will affect more than just your own yard. Your neighbors will see it too, and without good fence etiquette you could create some issues.
Use the following fence etiquette tips to help make sure that “good fences make good neighbors”:
- Define your property lines. As a homeowner, you probably have a pretty good idea where your property begins and ends. Unfortunately, when it’s time to put up a fence that’s not good enough. Since by law you can’t install a fence on property that doesn’t belong to you, going even an inch over your property line may put you at risk of having to tear your fence down.
Check your home’s plat or blueprint for boundary lines (if you’ve misplaced it, you may be able to get a new copy from your county’s records office). If you don’t have one, you may need to hire a land surveyor who can physically mark your boundary lines.
- Talk to your neighbor. Of course this isn’t something you’re required to do, but keep in mind that no one likes surprises. A friendly conversation with your neighbor may go a long way toward avoiding a fence dispute. It could help your neighbor be more cooperative during your installation. As a bonus, if your neighbor was already considering a fence to divide your yards, perhaps he’ll be willing to collaborate with you.
- Check your HOA regulations. If you belong to a Homeowners Association (HOA), check to make sure your fence meets height or, in some cases, even color requirements. It is your responsibility to abide by HOA rules. Your fence installer should work with you, but he or she may not be familiar with your particular HOA codes.
- Face the finished side of the fence toward your neighbor. This is not only considered common courtesy, it’s the standard way to install a fence. Not only will it make your neighbor happy, but having the “good” side of your fence facing the outside will ultimately make your property look nicer.
(If you can’t bear to have the “inside” of the fence facing your yard, ask your fence contractor about a double-sided privacy fence, also called a “good neighbor fence.” These double-sided fences are created with “sandwich construction” so both sides look finished.)
- Maintain your fence. If your fence leans, rots, or has chipped or fading paint, it won’t just make your property look bad, it’ll also create an eyesore for your neighbor. As you consider fence options, make sure you consider types of fences and the maintenance required for each style.
- Choose your fence contractor carefully. Make sure you have a reliable contractor whose installation crews will build your fence in a timely, professional manner.
Whether you want your fence to mark a boundary, offer protection or privacy, or just add beauty to your home, good fence etiquette will help make sure your new fence is pleasing to everyone.
Accent Fence is a Blue Ribbon Contractor with the American Fence Association. We’re a fence company with a proven track record and our installation crews are trained, professional and courteous. We’ll help you choose the right fence that’ll make you and your neighbors proud.