“Etiquette.” It isn’t the first thing you think of when you think of a fence, is it?
But when you build a fence your home isn’t the only thing you’re changing. Unless you live way out in the country, you’re changing your neighborhood, too.
Neighborhoods mean people, and people mean etiquette.
Fail #1: You didn’t talk to your neighbors first.
You’re building the fence on your property. With your money.
So it might rankle to think you might have to talk to anyone else.
But think of all the annoyances that fence could bring. You could block a view your neighbor likes. A construction crew could wake your night-shift working neighbor.
Few neighbors are going to feel comfortable saying, “Don’t build the fence.” But they might have requests or concerns to meet.
Most of the time you’re going to hear, “Good for you. Have at.”
But your neighbors will appreciate the fact that you stopped to consult them anyway. And they won’t suspect you’re trying to build a spite fence.
See also: What is a “Spite” Fence?
Fail #2: You didn’t check the property lines.
So, you think you know where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins?
Be careful. You might be mistaken. And if you are mistaken you might build on your neighbor’s property by mistake.
If you do that, your neighbor can demand you tear down your fence. You’ll have to pay for that work out of your own pocket. If you want to rebuild the fence, you’ll have to pay for that too.
Make sure you consult your property’s legal description. This is a good thing to go over with your neighbors, too. If someone made a mistake, your legal descriptions and the property lines they document may not match.
It doesn’t take a lot of extra work to take this step, but it can save you a lot of extra heartache later.
Fail #3: You forgot about fence sides.
Fences have two sides. The smooth, pretty side and the side that shows the supports. The second side is still pretty, but it’s not as attractive.
Though we’ll never build a fence this way, we’ve seen people turn the support-side street-side. Yikes.
Plant some flowers to hide the supports if you can’t stand the look of them yourself. Everyone should enjoy his or her own back yard.
But don’t make your neighbors look at it.
Fail #4: You aren’t maintaining your fence.
Unless you’re purchasing an aluminum fence it’s going to need maintenance.
Wood fences need the most maintenance. You need to pressure wash them. Stain them or paint them.
But even vinyl fences need cleaning.
And sometimes they’ll lean or break or have other problems. You’ll need to fix those.
If you don’t, what you’re doing is creating a neighborhood eyesore. Which will in turn bring down property values.
And that’s not fair to anyone.
We’ve put together tons of posts about maintaining your fence. You can read them here.
Fail #5: You didn’t work with a fence professional.
How can DIY be an etiquette fail?
There are lots of ways. First, the results aren’t going to look as good. See “eyesore,” above. And they might break a lot faster.
Second, a professional can get the job done a lot faster. Nobody wants to stare at your in-progress fence for six months. You have a life, and the life isn’t fence installation.
We also know our fence etiquette. And laws. We can make sure you don’t run afoul of either.
And it may be less expensive than you think. Not sure? Call us today to schedule a free estimate. We’ll help you build a fence both you and your neighbors love.