Considerations When Installing A Fence
The real estate market is on the rise, and many families are finding themselves in new homes as the days are growing longer and the grass greener. And given the warm weather, it is the perfect time to enjoy a new home from the outdoors.
For many homeowners, the key to comfort during those long hours playing fetch with the dog and catch with the kids, or barbecuing out of sight from the neighbors, is the peace-of-mind provided by a fence. But there is more to such a project than meets the eye. It is important to not only be a good neighbor when planning your project, but to choose the type of fence that meets the needs of you and your family.
Be a Good Neighbor
Before getting the ball rolling on your new fence, it is important to consider your neighbors and your neighborhood:
- Keep your neighbors in the loop: Given that you are sharing a property line, it is common courtesy to let your neighbors know that you are planning to build a fence and to expect construction.
- Research HOA rules: If you live in a community with a homeowners association, make sure that you understand the ins-and-outs of the rules for fencing and construction before pushing forward with your plan. Home owners associations are quite common in condo neighborhoods. Whether you are able to put up a fence could be an important question to ask before buying a condominium or home. These guidelines may detail whether or not fences are allowed as well as the types of materials that can be used. You will also need to understand and obey any regulations that your town may have.
- Check your local laws: Your village or city may require that you submit for a permit that includes a plat survey, which is a formal diagram of your property. Before approving your new fence, they generally want to ensure that you don’t exceed the boundaries of your property lines, and that you follow their codes and guidelines.
- Consider the aesthetic impacts: While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the look of a fence can not only affect your home, but your neighbors’, too. Keep this in mind when designing your fence.
- Prepare to maintain your fence: Once you have built a new fence, make sure it is well-maintained. Not only will this keep your neighbors happy, but it will improve the appearance of your neighborhood.
After you have communicated your plan to your neighbors and developed a firm understanding of the neighborhood requirements, it is time to determine what type of fence to build. Following are five options for constructing the perfect boundary around your yard.
What Types of Fence To Choose
- Keep Pets Secure with Electric Fencing: Electric fencing ensures that your pets will stay in the yard, and it does so without building a barrier between your property and the rest of the world. Wire is buried beneath the ground defining the containing area, and it transmits an AM radio band signal to a collar worn by your pet if he or she steps beyond its boundaries. If you are looking to contain your pets without affecting the appearance your yard, this may be a perfect solution.
- Contain Kids and Pets with Mesh: Mesh fencing is often used to enclose swimming pools, but it can keep even the most energetic dog at bay. Strong poles make the fence sturdy, and the woven material prevents teeth, paws, and even small hands and feet from catching hold and climbing to freedom. Unfortunately, this material does little for privacy or decoration; it allows a clear view into the yard and can impact the appearance of your home.
- Consider Chain Link for Durability: If you are looking for a durable, hearty fencing solution, consider chain link. It is not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it has long been a popular choice and can be seen in just about any neighborhood. Chain link fencing also wins if you are looking to keep children and pets in the yard without fear of them escaping. It is reasonably priced, and if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can purchase and install a chain link fence anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot. If you prefer professional installation, the cost per square foot can range from $10 to $20. To compensate for the stylistic limitations, consider planting tasteful, tall landscaping along the fence line. This will positively impact the appearance of your home and neighborhood, while providing added privacy.
- Consider Classic Wood: For those looking for a balance between security, privacy, and beauty, consider a classic wooden fence. While more expensive than mesh or chain link, the design options are limitless. Expect wood fencing to cost from $1,500 to $3,000 for 150 linear feet with installation, although this price will vary depending on the wood type and the design.
- Go Green with Composite: While composite is one of the more expensive of the fencing options (think 25 to 40 percent more than wood), it is gaining a reputation for its easy maintenance and eco-friendly nature. Composite fencing can be made up of up to 100 percent recycled material and offers the same design and privacy options that homeowners will find in traditional wood fencing. Additionally, it is resistant to fading, warping, and wind.
If the only thing missing from your yard is a fence, spring and summer is the perfect time to install one. But not so fast … make sure to do your homework before breaking ground. A successful yard isn’t just about a new fence that meets your needs; keep your neighbors in mind and ensure that the material you choose will successfully accomplish its purposes.
Chris Long has been a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago suburbs since 2000. A writer for the Home Depot blog, Chris writes on fencing topics for the home ranging from picket fencing to vinyl fencing.