Fences

 Poet Robert Frost knew what he was talking about when he penned the poem, “Mending Wall” in 1914.

 It’s all about neighbors respecting one another’s property and privacy, without separating people from each other.

 If you’re in need of a fence on your property to provide security and boundaries for pets, kids or a backyard pool, you have to consider not only the privacy within those boundaries but also the neighbors you are “fencing out.”

 You can avoid fence disputes by practicing fence etiquette, a good neighbor policy, according to Houselogic.com.

 That means following zoning regulations in your municipality and sharing basics with your neighbors before construction begins.

Why do you want a fence?

• To block sight lines, you’ll need solid fencing, or if a little visibility is OK, you can use a lattice or decorative pattern.

• To keep people out, you’ll want a fence that is 6 feet tall or higher and can include pickets or other spiky tops to deter climbers.

• For decorative purposes or to establish property lines, your fence can be smaller and less obtrusive.

• For safety, to create a dog run, enclose a pool area, etc. the most durable option is a wire fence, such as chain link. By adding a black or green vinyl coating, the fence can almost disappear from view. For a totally invisible fence if you’re trying to contain your pet on your property, you can contact the local Invisible Fence franchise in the Fenton area and have owners Earl and Rachel Carter design secure yard boundaries so your family and pet can enjoy more freedom.

Follow the rules

• Observe boundaries before digging the first hole. Know your property lines or order a new survey from a land surveyor to be sure of boundaries. Fence companies often install a foot inside the line, just to be on the safe side.

• Respect limits by knowing local zoning regulations for height, setbacks and other restrictions. To avoid disputes, review restrictions with your fence company before choosing a fence.

• Follow Homeowners Association (HOA) rules regarding fences on your property. HOAs can dictate style, height and maintenance.

Play nice

• Share your plans. No one likes surprises. Before installing a fence, save yourself a fence dispute and have a conversation with your neighbors. If property line issues exist, resolve them before installation.

 House Logic said there is no need to show neighbors your proposed fence design. They have to live with your choice unless it lowers property values or is dangerous.

• Put the best face outward. It’s common practice to put the more finished side of your fence facing the street and your neighbor’s yard.

• Maintain and improve. It is the fence owner’s responsibility to clean and maintain both sides.

Good-to-know fence facts

• The term “fence” includes trees or hedges that create barriers.

• If you have a valid reason for wanting an extra-high structure — perhaps to block a bad view or noisy street — apply to your zoning board for a variance. Neighbors can comment on your request during a variance hearing.

• If your neighbors are damaging your fence, take photos and try to resolve the issue with them first. If they don’t agree to repair it, take your fence dispute to small claims court.

Sources: Houselogic.com, Bobvila.com

Fencing materials

— pros and cons

  The fencing material you choose will determine the price of your project, the maintenance it needs and its warranty.

 “The type of fence you have installed completely depends on your reason for installing it,” said Erick Ward, owner of Fenton Fence Company.

 “If the purpose is to keep the dog in your yard, a basic chain link fence will work just fine. If you’re looking to add privacy or block out noise, the best choice would be something taller and more solid — like wood or vinyl.”

Wood — the most common fence material, providing a traditional look at a moderate price. Requires maintenance and replacement after several years.

 Cost: $7 to $10 per foot, installed, for a simple split-rail fence; $20 to $50 per foot, installed, for a 6-feet-tall privacy fence.

Vinyl and composite — these faux-wood fences are made from either solid vinyl or a mix of wood fibers and plastic resins. The color is mixed into the material itself so they never need to be re-painted.

 Cost: $40 to $60 per foot, installed, for a 6-feet-tall privacy fence.

Iron and aluminum — the classic wrought-iron fence can serve as an ornate decorative property line marker or a tall, spiky enclosure providing high security. Thanks to factory paint coatings, no routine maintenance is required.

 Cost: $25 to $30 per foot, installed, for a 4-feet-tall fence, plus $5 to $10 per foot to add ornamental finials and rings.

Chain link and wire — the most economical of fences, chain link has the advantage also of disappearing into the scenery. If you prefer not to see through the fence, you can order it with vertical privacy slats woven into the mesh.

 Cost: $12 to $15 per foot, installed, for a 4-feet-tall fence. Add $4 to $5 for vinyl coating and another $6 to $10 for privacy slats.

Masonry — concrete, stucco, brick, block and stone fences create a stately aesthetic look to your home, buy these materials are pricey and require special installation due to their weight.

 Cost: About $84 per foot, installed, for 6-feet-tall brick wall.

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