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What Is Proper Fence Etiquette With Neighbors?

For some homeowners, a fence is a sign of pride and a boundary, but for other homeowners a fence is a symbol of contention. There’s nothing that can make your neighbor madder faster than a fence that’s leaning or digging into their property or isn’t being kept up very well. First time homeowners will do well to learn proper fence maintenance, otherwise the first time the meet their neighbors it might not be under very neighborly circumstances.

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Learn the Rules

The very first thing you should do before you put up a fence is learn about the property lines and zoning regulations for your city. With these two pieces of vital information, you’ll be well on your way to being a good neighbor who respects fence etiquette. What you’ll want to do next is let your neighbor know that you’ll be putting up a fence. Even though the fence will be on your property, it’s just good manners to let them know what’s going on since the fence will be so close to their property and it’s something that they’ll have to look at every day. Another thing to think about is that your neighbor might be thinking about putting up a fence in roughly the same spot as you’ll be putting yours. Imagine their frustration when they’ve paid for posts, water sealant, paint and other necessary tools only to look out of their window to see that you’re starting to put up a fence in the spot a bare inch from where they were going to put theirs up.

Just to be sure you aren’t pushing any boundaries, it’s a good idea for you to build anywhere from a foot to two feet inside of your own property lines. When you do this, you’ll take care of property disputes before they happen and you’ll be making sure that your lovely neighbor won’t be able to set anything up against their side of the fence.

Local Regulations

Local regulations can differ depending on the town you’re in. For instance, in a majority of cities the fence in a front yard can be no higher than four-feet and the fence in the back yard can only extend six-feet high and no more. Homeowners who don’t like these rules are free to petition their local zoning board.

If you’re a member of a Home Owners Association (HOA) then you’ll have your own unique set of rules to follow. You might have no choice but to color your fence white, or you might not be allowed to put up any kind of fence at all. The best thing to do is to check and double check your regulations before you start buying supplies to build a fence or put up anything permanent on your property.

Use High Quality Materials

If you’re going to put up a fence, put up a nice fence. Your neighbor doesn’t want to look at an eyesore that stretches all the way across the yard. You’ll also want to avoid painting any kind of images on the side of fence that faces your neighbor unless you ask your neighbor if they approve. Something else to think about is that both sides of the fence should look equally good, not just the side that you have to look at. This might cost you more money, but your neighbor will appreciate it, and so will you if you ever decide to sell your house. No one wants to buy a house that has a poor looking fence. Something else to think about with the return on the investment of your house is that the fence should complement the colors of your home instead of clash with them. While the new owners can always paint the fence how they want, they’ll be more likely to buy it if you’ve already done the work for them and have taken good care of the fence.

If your fence has rails, then the rail-side goes on the inside instead of the outside. You also might want to think about putting up a cedar fence so that it looks the same on either side. One the fence goes up, you can decorate your side however you wish.

You’ll also want to make sure that you take good care of your fence after you put it up. Apply water sealant every five years or so, wash off all dirt and dust and pressure wash it every now and then to keep it from turning a dingy gray color. Follow through on all of these tips and you and your neighbor are sure to see eye-to-eye over your new fence.

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