It’s your property and your fence. Do you really have to worry about what the neighbors think?
Well, yes, if you live under the dictates of an HOA. Otherwise, you might not be legally bound by any aesthetic rules. But if you’re hoping to live in a peaceful, harmonious community, it’s wise to take your neighbors’ feelings into consideration before building a new fence. Here are a few tips.
Talk it Over
Surprise! We’ve just constructed a new fence out of twine, twigs, three bowling balls and a year’s worth of recycled plastic bags. Don’t you love it?
Uh, probably not. Before you express yourself creatively through a barrier made of found objects, why don’t you go next door and have a little talk with your neighbors? Tell them about your proposed materials and listen to their reaction. Be willing to negotiate. Maybe they’re 100 percent behind a new fence and are willing to split the cost. Even if a fence isn’t their priority and they’re not prepared to contribute, your life will be more tranquil if they’re okay with the look of your new fence.
The Pretty Side
The front side of the fence—that is, the side where the slats or planks are flush, rather than the one with the posts, supports and screws—is considered the pretty side. Proper fence etiquette is for that pretty side to face the street or the neighbors. I know, this seems kind of unfair when you’re paying for it. Consider a design where both sides are pretty.
It’s vital that you follow the correct property lines. Investigating this first can save you the pain of teardown later. While property lines sound like solid, established things, they have a tendency to shift over the years. This is especially true of older houses, or homes which have had multiple owners.
Some municipalities require building permits for fences. Check your local rules before you build. If you live in a development governed by an HOA, consult your association’s guidelines.
Okay, now we’ll talk about what our dream job would be if for some reason we couldn’t build fences. According to that great resource, Wikipedia, “A Fence Viewer is a town or city official who administers fence laws by inspecting new fences and settles disputes arising from trespass by livestock that have escaped enclosure. The office of Fence Viewer is one of the oldest appointments in New England. The office emigrated along with New England pioneers to the Midwest as well, where the office still exists.” If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with such an esteemed individual, you might call upon the fence viewer to mediate your difficulties. Of course, if you take our advice and talk things over with your neighbors first, follow all rules and build within your property lines, you probably won’t need this service.
Here to Help
Are you unsure what kind of fence would look the best in your neighborhood and delight both the HOA and your neighbors? At Buzz, our design team has many years of experience creating beautiful, tasteful fences. Give us a call today.