Fence etiquette: How to live in harmony with your surroundings

Undoubtedly, you serve as part of the community around you. As such, if you practice fence etiquette, you will have followed all the laid zoning rules and will live in harmony with your neighbors. Here are some of the tips to ensure that your barrier fence meets the ‘harmony’ benchmark.
What you must do

  • Observe the boundaries: Going over an inch into the neighbor’s property risks getting your fence torn down. Get the services of a surveyor beforehand.
  • Respect limits: Ensure that the fencing company you hire knows about the zoning rules and has all the necessary permits. Request to know what these rules are. You can get this information from the local authority’s office.
  • Follow the rules set by HOA: You are the one to inform the fencing company about the rules set by the homeowners association. Otherwise, you are likely to get into a dispute and have your barrier fence torn down. HOA can dictate anything from height to style and maintenance. Therefore, let the concerned officials know that you are putting up a fence and give you a nod.

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Other nice things to do

  • Share plans with neighbors: Do not surprise your neighbor by installing a barrier fence in the morning. Talk to the neighbors beforehand. If you have issues on the demarcation of your property, have them solved in good time. You do not have to share all the details, but it saves you a lot of trouble.
  • Let the best face be outward: Let the best-furnished side of the fence be on the side of the gate facing the street and your neighbor’s yard. It improves the look of both of your homes. You may spend a little more to have these sides looking great to the eye but it will be worth it.
  • Maintain your fence: It is your job to ensure that the entire fence is clean and well maintained. The neighbor has no obligation to do so. Where the fence starts to lean, shore it up or replace the posts. Good maintenance keeps your fence looking great and extends its life.

What you should know 

  • If you have a valid reason for wanting to have a high fence, such as to block a nasty view or block the noise from a busy street, you can request for a variance from the local zoning board. Know that the neighbors’ views will be taken into account when the decision is being reached.
  • If a neighbor is damaging your fence, take images of the damaged sections and talk to the neighbor. Most of the time, you neighbor will rectify the damage. If he or she fails to make the necessary repairs, you can file a fence dispute in a small claims court.