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We often see people all fired up about their projects, which is exactly how we feel when building a new fence. But we all need to slow down, take a deep breath, and remember our city government and its rules regarding fence permits. Because even fences are subject to regulations. Depending on where you live, the city may have restrictions on the height, materials or placement of your new fence. Let’s examine regulations in some of the places we often work.

Fence Permits in Dallas

Rules differ if you’re building a fence in a residential or nonresidential area. But let’s imagine your proposed fence is around your own house. If you live in a single family home or a duplex, you can build a front yard fence up to four feet tall, and a backyard fence up to nine feet, without a permit. If you want to keep desperadoes out of your yard by topping your fence with barbed wire, it must be at least six feet above the ground and not project past your property line. Sorry, this rules it out barbed wire for the front yard fence, but we don’t think it looks that welcoming anyway.

You can’t build a fence in an easement – that is, where other people have a legal right to cross property – nor can you block visibility triangles at intersections. Swimming pool fences carry an additional set of rules.

Do you live in a historic district, a conservation district or a neighborhood stabilization overlay district? Get ready for even more rules. Designated historic districts require certificates of appropriateness before you start work. Find out more about historic preservation and construction in Dallas here, about conservation districts, or about neighborhood stabilization districts.

Here’s a handy link to an application for a fence permit in Dallas.

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Fence Permits in Fort Worth

Fort Worth has a different set of rules surrounding building fences. If you want to build a solid fence that tops six feet, or an open fence taller than eight feet, you’ll need to apply for a permit. Front yard fences can only be four feet tall, and of an open design with 50% density. You’re not allowed to use chain link in your front yard. As in Dallas, historic districts in Fort Worth may have additional rules about fencing. Here’s more Fort Worth building code info.

Fence Permits in Arlington

The city of Arlington has no tolerance for shoddy fences. City building codes include detailed descriptions of dilapidated and nuisance fences, including ones constructed with plywood, corrugated steel panels, or fiberglass panels and other inappropriate fence materials. Property owners of multi-family units also must keep fences structurally sound. Examples of violations include fences with more than 20 % damage to any eight-foot section, or a fence leaning more than 15 degrees at any point.

In residential front yards, fences must be no taller than four feet and be at least 75 % transparent. Chain link is not an approved building material, unless you’re replacing an existing chain link fence. Only very low fences are allowed on the side property lines of corner lots, to prevent impinging on visibility triangles. Expect to be quizzed on all details of your proposed fence when you file your fence permit.

Fence Permits in Grand Prairie

Grand Prairie is determined to have a good-looking city. The city requires fences to be weather-tight and free from blight or deterioration. Property owners may build residential fencing from wood, masonry, chain link, cinder block, wood slats, and wrought iron. They’re not allowed to build fences using R-Panel, metal and plywood. All fences require an approved building permit, even if you’re replacing an old fence, or panel sections thereof. The permit fee is $25.

In 1990, the city of Grand Prairie adopted the Unified Development Code (UDC), which gives extremely detailed information about development within the city, including 10 pages about fence details. Code compliance officers patrol the city, looking for violations.

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Fence Permits in Irving

In the city of Irving, front yard fences may be no more than four feet high and must allow at least 50 % visibility through them. Vertical support posts and gates can’t extend more than six inches above the top of the fence. Approved fence materials include wrought iron or other decorative metals, fired masonry, concrete, stone, chain link, metal tubing, wood planks, and vinyl or fiberglass composite manufactured specifically as fencing materials. All fence materials must be approved for exterior use and able to resist weather and decay. If you’re planning on a masonry fence more than four feet tall, it must be installed in compliance with a design submitted by a registered engineer or registered architect.

The city of Irving bans fences constructed from string, rope, wire products like chicken or hog wire, broken glass, plywood, galvanized sheet metal, and other materials not manufactured specifically for fencing. Barbed, concertina and razor wire are also prohibited, except in special cases. See additional city of Irving fence codes here.

Irving requires contractors to register when building a fence and pay a $125 permit fee. (However, this is a bargain compared to the $192 required to erect a snow cone stand.)

Fence Permits in Bedford

The city of Bedford building code requires you to submit a site plan with your residential or commercial fence permit application. If you’re planning a masonry fence, you’ll also need to have an engineering design. Permit fees are based on the value of the work – see Table 1A in the city’s fee menu.

It’s illegal to build a fence higher than eight feet above the adjoining ground level of the owner or lessee’s property. In a front yard, the maximum height is only 30 inches. The city of Bedford also stipulates that the nice smooth side of a fence face outward if your property is on a thoroughfare or public property, and that posts and support beams be on the inside, or be an integral part of the design of the finished surface. Their fence regulations also have very specific instructions on the size and placement of slats and posts on wood fences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a permit to build a fence in Texas?
Very often, but not always. It depends on your town. You’ll almost always need a permit if you want to build a fence that’s taller than average.

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Do you need a permit to build a carport?
Most cities in Texas require a permit to build a carport. Check out your local ordinances.

How far does fence have to be from sidewalk?
Check your local ordinances, as this will vary.

Do I need a permit to move my fence?
You can probably do this legally if you’re moving the fence farther away from the property line. However, many fences won’t stand up to being moved. You may need to construct a new section.

Following the Rules

At Buzz, we understand that suddenly realizing you have to go get a building permit can be about as pleasant as being doused with a bucket of cold water on a January day. But we’ve been through this before. Many times. We’re happy to advise you and help you assemble needed permits. By following the rules, you’ll have a beautiful new fence that adds value to your home. Call us today. We’re excited to get started, rules or not.