Fence Etiquette: How to Stay Friendly With Neighbours As You Replace Your Fence

There are many benefits of replacing your old fence with a good quality new one. Fences provide privacy, offer safety for kids and pets who want to play outside, and mark property boundaries. But fences can also lead to conflict with your neighbours if you’re not careful. Neighbourly disputes come up when there are disagreements about where a fence can be built, what type of fence to build, and who should take on the cost of any repairs and maintenance. If you’re planning to put up a new fence, take a look at how to stay friendly with neighbours during the process.

1. Let Your Neighbours Know

Before the fence installer arrives in your yard, it’s proper etiquette to let your neighbours know about your plans. As long as you’re not building the fence on their property, they don’t have to give you their permission, but letting them know is the courteous thing to do. You never know, they may be planning to update their fence as well and you could potentially collaborate on the look and style of the fence to keep your properties in unison. 

2. Be Attentive To Property Lines

One of the easiest ways to create conflict with your neighbour when replacing your fence? Not respecting the property line. Before putting the fence up, double check the dimensions of your lot, and make sure you’re extra careful about where you place your fence. Sometimes professional installers will opt to put your fence a short distance inside your property line to steer clear of any potential issues.

3. Check the Local Laws

All provinces, cities and municipalities have laws about fences- typically rules around allowable heights, setbacks and other restrictions for residential properties. Unless you’ve applied for a variance, which gives you an exception to the rules, it’s crucial that your fence doesn’t exceed the maximum restrictions stated in your local laws. 

4. Keep On Top of Maintenance and Repairs

If you’re going to install a fence, be ready to take responsibility for any maintenance and repairs that come along with it. Yes, even if it’s on your neighbour’s side. If there’s a broken, sagging or aging section on any area of the fence, you’re the one who should be responsible for maintaining and repairing any damage. 

5. Place the Finished Side Outward

Certain fences have a finished side or one side that looks more polished than the other. It’s good etiquette to place the finished side outwards toward your neighbours or the road. Not only is this more polite, it’s also the standard way to place a fence, as you want its best side shown off to the outside world. Keep in mind that some fences look identical on both sides. These are called “good neighbour fences” and are ideal if you want the finished look on the inside as well.

If you’re planning to replace your fence, follow these etiquette tips to ensure you and your neighbours stay friendly throughout the process!