Planning Your New Fence
Before you strap on that toolbelt, do your homework. Even if replacing an existing fence, think about the following:
- Fence Use: What are the primary purposes of your fence? Privacy? Safety for pets or children? Curb appeal? Can Max jump a 4 foot fence? Is Max a child or a dog?
- Material: Price, durability, maintenance and appearance all factor into which material you choose to build with.
- Style: Bear in mind the style of your house and other neighborhood characteristics when picking a fence. Remember finishes like lattice tops, end caps, arbors and gates.
- Code: Most cities have specific codes defining height and degree of privacy. Pool fences especially!
- Permits: Technically, most cities require permits (ahem... emphasis on the word "technically"). Also, make sure you are in compliance with your HOA by-laws.
- Property Lines: Know your exact property lines before building a fence on them. Hiring a surveyor is the most reliable way to do this.
- Power and Gas Lines: ALWAYS contact your local utilities to determine the location of underground utilities before digging. Dial 811 for a directory of local utilities.
- Measure: Pros measure twice. If you're are reading this, you are not a pro. Measure thrice.
- Neighbors: Talk to your neighbors when building a fence along a common property line. This advice assumes you are not building the fence because of your neighbors.
- Gate Size and Placement: Where do you envision entering and exiting the property most often? Make openings wide enough for lawn mowers, garbage cans, vehicles, or whatever else you anticipate bringing through.
- Gate Closures: One- or two-sided latches? Hands-free opening or closing mechanisms? Locks?
- Lighting: Can be both highly functional and charming. Think about it.
"Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up."
– Robert's Frost's other, less famous, quote about fences