6 Things Homeowners Should Know Before Installing a Privacy Fence
If you're a military family that moves frequently, you want to make each home as comfortable as possible. A privacy fence is a great way to create an oasis in your backyard, providing pets and children with a safe place to play while also ensuring that you have the privacy you want in your yard.
However, many military homeowners who decide to install a privacy fence jump into the process without doing their homework — of course, they want to get settled as soon as possible. Here are some factors you will need to consider when building and installing a privacy fence to help you avoid potential problems and costly mistakes.
Check Zoning Codes and HOA Regulations
Sometimes, a privacy fence isn't allowed in a particular neighborhood. Keep in mind, regulations differ from location to location. Before you start ordering supplies and digging postholes, take the time to learn about your local regulations.
Check your town's zoning codes to see if privacy fences are allowed in your area. If they are, find out what height restrictions are in place. For instance, you may only be able to build a fence 6 feet high in the backyard, and if you want a fence in the front, it may be limited even more. Also, learn if there are any regulations about the materials that are allowed for the fence. You may even want to apply for a fence-building permit from your local city hall to ensure everything is done properly.
Next, if your neighborhood has an HOA or neighborhood association, find out its rules. Even if fences are allowed in your town, they may not be allowed in your neighborhood, or the rules about materials and height may be specific to your neighborhood. If you fail to follow these directions, you may be asked to tear down your fence, leaving you with a costly mistake.
Research the Property Line
Do you really know where your property line is? Take the time to research it before you start building. While you might want privacy from your neighbors, and to protect your family while being away for extended periods, you also don't want to create a rift or make any disagreements worse. Make sure you are building the fence on the property line or just to your side of it. It's also a good idea to give your neighbors a heads-up about your plans to build a fence, so they are not surprised when you start building.
Face It the Right Way
It's customary to build your fence so that the finished side faces outward. This gives your neighbors a more pleasant view, and also helps keep the exterior of your house looking great from the road. If you want to see a finished side on the inside of your yard, then look for a fence design that has two finished sides. Otherwise, keep the unfinished side facing in, and leave the finished side facing out.
Space the Posts Properly
The spacing of your posts is perhaps the most important factor of building a privacy fence, so that it will withstand the impact of weather. You need to space your fence posts exactly 8 feet apart to fit most fence designs. An 8-foot fence helps prevent sagging and helps improve the strength of the fence against wind and other weather issues.
Consider Leaving a View
Yes, you want privacy, but remember that a high fence will also box you in. Consider varying the design so you have a few views left, if your yard gives you a view. You can vary the height of your fence in specific areas or leave a portion that is not completely solid so you can still see out of your yard if you wish.
Call for Utility Marking
Before you start digging for posts, call your 811 call center in your state. The 811 call center will send someone to mark the utility lines in your yard, so you can avoid catastrophe when you start to dig. No one wants to dig and nick a gas or power line!
As you can see, building a privacy fence involves more than just digging postholes and nailing boards. You need to do a little research beforehand to ensure you can build safely and ethically. What’s more, a privacy fence will boost your resale value and possibly make it easier to sell when it’s time to move to your next location. Take the time at the beginning of the project and don't forget to call professional fence installers if you run into a problem.
Author bio: Chris Buenz is Owner of First Fence Company in Chicago, Illinois. With over 18 years of experience in both fencing and sales, Buenz is well versed in the Chicago-area business market.