How to Observe Proper Fence Etiquette

fence etiquette

Building a fence for your property can be very exciting – so much so that it’s sometimes easy to forget about how it will affect your neighbors. Before deciding between a horizontal or vertical fence and choosing the right paint color, it’s important to know and follow proper fence etiquette first.

Following these tips can help prevent any conflict with your neighbors and ensure a smoother, headache-free fence project:

1. Always Account for the Property Line

A majority of disputes for fence building stem from property line concerns. After all, no homeowner wants to feel as if part of their turf has been forcibly taken. Make sure that you’re very careful about the location of the fence by checking your property dimensions.

If you don’t have the survey plat for your property, you might be able to get them from your county’s record office. You can also hire a land surveyor to clarify your property’s borders.

2. Don’t Forget About Your Local Building Bylaws

Property lines aside, you should also follow the required fencing heights and specifications in your area. Breaching these local zoning codes will result in not only angry neighbors but also an eventual run-in with the law.

The only way you can legally build outside of this code is by getting a variance application at your local city hall. In most areas of Florida, your fence must:

  • Be under six feet tall
  • Not be built out of spite (also known as a spite fence)
  • Not feature barbed wire or be electrified

 You may also be required to notify neighbors before starting the fence construction.

3. Give Your Neighbor the Good Side

Fence etiquette dictates that your neighbor should have the good side of the fence. For the uninformed, some types of fences have a finished or “good” side that looks more polished than the side with posts and rails showing. For example, solid panel-type fences that offer great privacy generally have this kind of construction.

Not only is this considered polite, but it’s also the standard for fence construction. Your property will look much better with the good side facing outside. Otherwise, it will look like your fence was installed backward.

4. Find a Neighbor-friendly Fence Design

If you prefer an option that doesn’t sacrifice your outdoor aesthetic, then you want a good neighbor fence. While traditional fence designs come with a good side and a backside, good neighbor fences give both neighbors an equal view.

A few popular good neighbor fences include:

  • Shadowbox fence. Shadowbox fences offer plenty of privacy and give a look that resembles your standard tall picket or dog-ear fences when viewed head-on. However, instead of attaching all the picket parts on one side of the rail, they alternate on each side.
  • Board-on-board fence. Board-on-board or double-sided fences feature two board layers mounted on rails. Many choose this option because it offers complete privacy—perfect for hot tub or swimming pool areas.
  • Horizontal fence. Horizontal fences are an ideal choice for homeowners who want a modern look for their yards. Not only can they offer maximum privacy, but they can also make your yard look larger and more open.
  • Basketweave fence. Basketweave fences use strips of material, usually wood or wood-like vinyl, that overlap each other to produce a fully opaque surface. When done by experienced professionals, basketweave fences can offer privacy without sacrificing the look for both sides.

If you have a specific look in mind, you can always opt for a custom fence. Reach out to the experts at Gulf to Bay Fence to learn about custom fence designs and their many benefits.

5. Communication is Key

If you share your fencing plans with your neighbors beforehand, it might mitigate any disappointment or anger down the road. Let them understand where you’re coming from and try to remain diplomatic to stave off any tensions. You can also work with your neighbor (or neighbors), choose a fence that you’re both comfortable with, and even split the cost.

When you and your neighbor decide to have a fence installed together, ask the fencing contractor to alternate finished sides if you don’t opt for a good neighbor fence. It’s also crucial to make sure that both sides do their part when it comes to maintaining the fence. That includes repairs, resealing, trimming plant growth along the fence line, and more.

6. Choose a Fence You Can Maintain

You obviously want your fence to look the best it can. You don’t want the paint to chip or fade or the wood to stain and rot. However, maintaining your fence doesn’t just serve you, but your neighbors as well.

When your fence becomes dirty or damaged, your surrounding neighbors won’t be happy because it can affect the look of their outdoor area and lower their property value if they decide to sell.

That’s why you should only get a fence that you can properly look after. If you can’t handle the upkeep of a wood fence, for instance, you might consider going for a maintenance-friendly material like aluminum or vinyl. Fences with darker hues also hide dirt better, so you don’t need to clean them as often. A good fencing company can help you fully understand the maintenance requirements for each of your options.

Partner With the Right Contractor

As the saying goes, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Hopefully, these fence etiquette tips have offered you some insight on how you can maintain a healthy relationship with your neighbors while accomplishing your fencing goals.

Still looking for a contractor to manage your project? Get custom fencing by Gulf To Bay Fence for quality craftsmanship that doesn’t disappoint. Call 727-513-6763 today to learn more about your options.

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