Neighbors across the fence

Tips for Proper Fence Etiquette

If you’re thinking about getting a new fence, it’s important to know proper fence etiquette before the installation begins. Practicing proper fence etiquette can save you from accidentally disobeying zoning regulations or upsetting your neighbors.

There are two different types of to-dos that you should consider before installing your fence. Must-dos are things that must be done prior to installing your fence that will avoid potential pitfalls such as neighbor disputes and homeowner’s association violations. Nice-to-dos are not mandatory to installing and keeping your fence but are nice things to do and will keep you on good terms with your neighbors.


If you’re building a fence on your property, you must respect the boundaries of your property. Under most circumstances the location of the official property line doesn’t really matter but it’s extremely important when it comes to building a fence. You want to make sure that the fence is being built on your property and not your neighbor’s.

If you do build your fence on the wrong side of the property line, you risk having the fence being forcibly taken down. To avoid this, study the house line drawing or plat for your property or order a new survey from a land surveyor. These surveys cost from $500 to $1,000 but could save you enormous headaches after the fence is installed. Fence companies typically build fences one foot inside the property line to ensure there are no disputes.

Make sure to understand your local zoning laws before installing your fence. Each area has their own regulations for height, setbacks, and other restrictions about how to build a fence. Usually the height limits are around six feet for the side and back yards and four feet for front yards. Corner lots often have more restrictive rules because they can create blind curves that can limit visibility for drivers. Make sure to review any restrictions with the fence company before choosing the height and materials of your fence.

If you are part of a homeowner’s association, they’ll have rules about the specifications of your fence. They can dictate the style, height, and maintenance of your fence among other things. If they wish, they could mandate that all fences match which would leave you with no choice in height or material. Make sure you know these rules and bring them up to the fence company before deciding on fence specifications. The fence company is not responsible for knowing the homeowner association’s rules. Knowing and following these rules will help you to avoid a potential dispute or from being penalized by the committee.


It’s a good idea to share your plans to build a fence with your neighbors before you begin installing the fence. By speaking with your neighbors first, you can resolve issues like where the property line is. There’s no need to show them your design as they may have aesthetic issues about it but speaking with them before hand will help to solve any potential disputes before it’s too late. Regardless of how they feel about the aesthetics of your fence, they’ll have to live with it unless it lowers their property value or is dangerous.

It’s common practice to have the more finished side of the fence facing either the street or the neighbor’s yard. This is another neighborly thing to do as it doesn’t hurt the view from their property. In some areas, there are regulations that say that a homeowner must have the posts facing toward their home and away from neighbors or the street.

If your fence is acting as a separator between your property and a neighbor’s property, it’s your responsibility to clean and maintain both sides of the fence. While it may be tempting to just maintain the side you see, the opposite side is facing your neighbor’s house. It’s also your responsibility to shore up or replace any aging sides that may start to lean or rot as these can affect the view from both your home and your neighbor’s home.

Installing a fence can potentially cause problems with your neighbors and homeowner’s association. These potential problems can be alleviated by taking precautions such as sharing your plans with your neighbors and checking with your homeowner’s association first. If you’re planning on installing a fence on your property, call on Secure Fence and Rail for a quality result.