Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good fences make good neighbors

It is said that good fences make for good neighbors, but what makes for a good fence?

If you are considering putting fencing in on your property this spring or summer, it requires more forethought than simply measuring and making a trip to the building supply stores.

First, check with your local building inspector. In many communities, there are rules regarding how and where fencing may be installed, as well as height limits. Pleading ignorance does not help if you make an error, and it could be a costly mistake if you have to rip out eight foot fencing because your city only allows six feet. Most communities also require that the side the faces the neighbors or streets is attractive, so no putting the cross members facing out because you do not want to look at them. Your neighbors do not want to either. One way around this is to make both sides of the fence finished, but that is more expensive.

When you are deciding where to put the fence, consider lawn care. The property on the other side of the fence must still be cared for, so make sure you have room to get there. Some people will talk with the neighbors to set up a friendly arrangement. If this is the route you go, remember that your neighbors today may not live there in three years and the new neighbors may not be amendable to the old agreement. Be wary of putting the fence on the property line unless you know exactly where that is. Encroachments can be messy and expensive.

Remember to call Digger's Hotline or enter a request on their website before you get started. Forgetting that step and finding out you should not have is one mistake no one wants to make. State law requires that you call three days before you disturb the soil for your project.

A good fence can be an asset to your property. Remember to put a little bit of planning into it, and you are sure to end up with a fence that will last for years.

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