How to Have A Good Neighbor Fence

A wise man once said, "Good fences make good neighbors." Perhaps the first person to make that declaration had difficult neighbors, but it's more likely he understood the concept of boundaries. It's just easier to get along with the person next door if everybody understands where "yours" ends and "mine" begins.

That's where a good neighbor fence comes in. We all know what a fence is, but what in the world is a good neighbor fence?

Not an Ordinary Fence

Like any fence, a good neighbor fence is a boundary or a property line. But this kind of boundary fence is atypical because it isn't one-sided, either in concept or design. You won't go camping for a weekend and come back to a good neighbor fence between your house and the house next to you.

So what makes this boundary different?

It is the Neighborly Thing To Do

This boundary line fence is made with neighbors in mind. Think about friendship. Certain rules are followed. For example, you expect a friend to be honest when they talk to you. The honesty will (hopefully) have kindness mixed in with it, of course. But we like to go to our friends and get straight feedback when we are confused about something or are trying to make a decision.

Well, if one person is thinking of putting up a good neighbor fence, that person will be willing to take a few extra steps.

good fence

What Exactly is a Good Neighbor Fence?

It is a boundary marker that is shared. The word "fence" makes it sound like it will be made of wood or wire, but it can just as easily be a hedge.

What Steps Should Be Taken

  • First, discuss the idea with your neighbor.
  • Discover whether your neighbor would be interested in splitting costs. A true good neighbor fence has expenses split 50-50.
  • Once you have agreed upon the cost split, hire a surveyor. You need to know where the legal boundaries are.
  • Talk over the type of fence that will go in. Will there be fence boards? If so, make sure the structure looks good from both sides.
  • Don't forget to check the height. Usually, a privacy fence can be as tall as six feet in the back yard, but in the front yard, the height of fencing is often more restricted.
  • Decide who will check with the HOA or homeowner's association, if there is one, to see whether they have any restrictions.
  • Decide who will fix what. Say you and your neighbor erect a beautiful wooden fence. Then, a couple of years later, an ice storm sweeps through, causing a tree to fall on the shared fence. Who will repair or pay for the fence maintenance? Will costs still be 50-50?
fence with flowers

Don't Get Lost In Legalese

Remember, it is a good neighbor fence, put up to keep the peace. Ensure you have proper fence etiquette for issues such as who pays for what crystal clear but try not to overwhelm the friendship. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Love your neighbor, yet don't pull down your hedge."

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