Craving privacy in your outdoor space?
How to choose, design or build a fence
Whether you want to enclose your yard, secure your pool area or just keep critters out, putting up a new fence might seem like a daunting task, but it’s not! Whether you hire a contractor or build it yourself, here’s our guide to fencing options.
Draw the line
Figure out where your property line is, and hire a surveyor if necessary. The last thing you want is to invest in a fence only to discover it’s on your neighbor’s land! Also, check in with your city’s urban planning department to find out what fencing materials you can use. Then tell your neighbors about your plans.
Pick a fence with closely spaced boards or lattice if you’d like to add climbing plants for more coverage. Decide the fence height by getting someone to hold up cardboard at different points, while you sit down and stand up to see what works for your needs.
Step it up!
If you think having a tall fence along three sides of your land will feel a bit claustrophobic, opt for a stepped design by varying the heights of different areas.
Safe and secure
If a security fence is required, you’ll need a lockable gate and at least eight feet of height. Select a fence with no horizontal planks on the outside so no one can climb in! If you have a pool, make sure that the neighborhood kiddos can’t get to it unless you’re there. Your pool fence should be at least 48 inches high with a self-latching, self-closing gate.
Ugly street view? There’s a fence for that!
If your backyard faces a busy, noisy street, you can still have a peaceful oasis! A fence with small gaps, layered with plants on both sides will both muffle sound and look great.
Who let the dogs out?
Dog owners, are your pets master escape artists? If you have a jumper, a four-foot fence will keep smaller breeds in, but go higher if you have a large dog. Got a digger? Be sure to bury your fence at least six inches underground or put some hardscaping along your fence line so they can’t get out. By the way, a great way to deter barking is to block your doggie’s visual cues – like cars or pedestrians – by putting up a solid fence.
It’s not all about looks! Choose a fence that is durable, low-maintenance and easy to install. Treated wood is affordable but requires maintenance. DIYers can build or repair it quite easily. Chain-link wire fences are maintenance-free and durable, but aren’t the most attractive choice. Galvanized-steel requires little upkeep, but costs more. PVC fencing is modular and provides great privacy but is only available in white.
Hire a pro and dig in!
But first, find out if there are any underground utilities on your property. The American Fence Association lists many local contractors. Happy fencing!