The variety of available on the market today is incredible, and to be honest…overwhelming.
Each type of fence comes with it’s own set of pros and cons. Some yard fences can be installed by the do it yourselfer, while some yard fences should be installed by a professional.
Some yard fences are relatively inexpensive while some yard fences are quite costly.
As with all backyard landscaping projects, when deciding among your many choices for , you should first and foremost consider what purpose the fence will serve.
know this sounds trivial, but if you don’t identify the purpose of the
fence first, you may end up with something you don’t like, and something that
doesn’t meet your needs.
When I first moved into my previous home, I knew I
needed a fence for my dog. My almost 1-acre lot was completely open,
and she is not a very well-behaved poochy! (I say that with a lot of
I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on ,
so I started looking at one of the cheapest alternatives that could be
installed quickly – the chain link fence.
me when I tell you I didn’t really want this type of fence – I think
they’re kind of ugly, and it would’ve detracted from my view in the
I was so focused on the need for a fence, however, it
took me awhile to realize that all I needed was to make sure my dog
stayed in the yard.
Fortunately I came upon information for an electric fence for dogs!
What a great idea!
I was able to have this installed in the front and
back yards for about $900, when a chain link fence would have cost me
about $3,000 plus! Yuk!
So start out by identifying what you’re MOST hoping to achieve by the fence installation:
- keep kids or dogs inside
- keep kids, dogs or neighbors outside
- cutesy up your yard
- provide a wind barrier or whatever!
Once you’ve identified what purpose the will serve, you’ll be able to move on to other important decisions.
Take these factors into account as your making your decision:
- What is your budget for the project?
- When do you HAVE to have the fence installed?
- Do you want to, or are you able to, complete the project yourself?
- How much time and attention (maintenance) are you willing to give this fence over the years?
Of course, you’ll have to go through those factors one by one.
Perhaps you must have it installed by someone else, and you don’t
want to provide much maintenance over the years, and you know you need a
great deal of privacy…..
BUT…..you have limited money for the project.
Your limited budget will most likely determine the majority of your decisions. You might WANT a composite fence, for example, that is durable and low-maintenance, but can’t afford the cost of one. A living fence would provide many of the same benefits, but would be significantly less expensive.
Much information can be found on the web regarding different , although I have to admit, I had a hard time finding a website that was relatively easy to read, got straight to the point, and actually contained some pictures of the different options available today.
The closest I came was All Type Fence, which is a company out of Pennsylvania that does installation. They describe the difference between several fencing materials, along with cost and maintenance, and provide pictures of completed projects.
Photo courtesy of by surlygirl
There are some fencing options, however, that can be completed by the
average do-it-yourselfer, and other alternative options that may meet
your needs, but may not be a typical structure…
- Building a Wood Fence
– Surprisingly, this is a project that many home owners have the skill
for. My dad and my husband have both done this task on their own, and
while I would consider them both quite ‘handy’ they are not skilled
- Electric Fence for Dogs
– If your primary motive is to keep your dog safe, this is an EXCELLENT
option, and an economical one to boot! I had my reservations, but
after I had it installed, I was sold!
- Living Fence
– Depending on the size of the bushes that you have installed, the cost
may be comparable to having a fence installed, but the maintenance is
very low, and the natural look of your yard is priceless!
- Child Safety Pool Fence
– If you have a pool, or are thinking of getting one, this is a must.
As a matter of fact, most municipalities require a fence of some kind
surrounding all pools.
- Fence Building Contractors
– Where do you even start when looking for someone to install a fence
for you? What questions do you ask? Get some ideas for how to properly
interview a fencing company.
Other considerations when installing Outdoor Fences:
to installing any , or having one installed in your yard,
you’ll need to obtain a permit for such from you local municipality.
If you live in a village, for example, you would contact Village Hall for general information on obtaining permits.
Larger cities, such as Milwaukee, have a specific contact number for “fence permits.”
how do you convince your city to give you a permit to install a fence?
Well, you have to convince them that you’re going to install the fence
on your property (not your neighbor’s) and that it will meet any
guidelines that the city has established.
For example, there will
be rules as to:
- how high the fence can be built (no more than 6 feet, unless the fence stands between 2 houses in which case it
can only be 4 feet),
- where it can be located (some municipalities allow fence installation in the back yard only)
- how it should be positioned
(there’s generally an “inside” and “outside” to a fence, and the
“inside” must face the owner of the fence with the “outside” facing your
To prove to your municipality that you’ll
meet their expectations, you have to draw up a plan as to what type of
fence you intend to install, and where you intend to install it.
key to installing , of course, is to keep the entire
structure on your property. Drawing up a plan will not be enough to
satisfy your municipality that the fence will be installed on your
If you plan to build the fence as close to the property line
as possible without going over it, you’ll need a survey of your property.
property survey gives clear information as to exactly where your
property ends, and where you can establish structures without
encroaching on your neighbor’s property.
A property survey is NOT what’s provided at settlement when purchasing a home.
This type of survey generally only discusses the actual location of
the house on the lot, and would not be sufficient to meet the needs of
obtaining a fence permit. A bonafide property survey is conducted by a
firm who is licensed to perform this type of function.
property survey has ever been conducted on your home since it was
built, it is possible that this information is on file at your city
hall. It’s definitely worth checking into. A property survey can be
several hundred dollars, so if this has already been completed, all the
better for you!
One way to avoid having to complete a property
survey is to build your structure well within the limits of your
When I installed an above ground pool at my last house, I placed it at
least 10 feet from the property line, and as a result I was able to get
the permit from the village. They were confident that with that type of
spacing I would not be encroaching on my neighbor’s property.
be aware that if you plan to hire a company to install your outdoor
fences, they will require that a permit is obtained…well, let me say
that any REPUTABLE company will require that a permit is obtained.
say you decide to install the yourself, and you forgo
obtaining a permit. After all, are there “permit police” running around
waiting to arrest the poor unsuspecting fool who installed a fence
without a permit??
I mean really, who would even know?? Right??
Let’s talk about the whole heap of trouble you could run into if you forgo the permit.
I had a neighbor who installed a 6 foot fence by himself, without a permit, with the ”outside”
of the fence facing his way. He ran the 6 foot fence between his house
and mine instead of lowering it to 4 feet as indicated by the regulations.
Believe me when I tell you, I didn’t care! I was happy to have the privacy!
Unfortunately, we had a very nosey neighbor who decided to be a “budinski”!
contacted the city hall and had him cited. The neighbor who installed
the fence had to take it down, turn it around with the “inside” facing
him, and lower the 6 foot portion between the houses down to 4 feet.
Oh, and he was FINED for improper installation.
Even if you don’t
have problems with your neighbors, if you miscalculate the location of
the fence and inadvertently place it on your neighbor’s property, even
by an inch, you will have problems selling your home in the future, OR
your neighbor could legitimately tear it down as it is on his property.
me reiterate again how important it is to contact your municipality,
obtain the rules and regulations of fence installation before beginning,
and do things right from the start!!
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