If you are thinking about getting a handyman to install a fence in your yard, you may want to consider talking with your neighbor first.
We sometimes get asked to help solve a fencing problem, and it’s not always a technical problem.
Many homeowners aren’t happy with their neighbor’s fence or want to install one for a new pet but aren’t sure how to address their neighbors’ concerns. That’s where we can discuss options, although we don’t have a lot of personal experience. My preference is to keep spaces open so we can all enjoy them. In one house, I did appreciate not having to walk our dog and we simply added a dog door for easy access to the fenced yard.
Here’s my story and why I’m glad we didn’t put up a fence that would have created huge problems for myself, or an unsuspecting future owner. My neighbor built a fence (6 ft stockade) around their backyard, on 2 sides. We explained that we’d prefer no fence or one that was partially open. Our neighbors agreed to hold off on the fence that would separate our property. For several years we discussed different fence styles and never found one we both liked and for that reason we never installed the fence.
You’re probably wondering where’s the problem?
The potential problem would have involved where the fence went. There was a beautiful tree on the property line, so our neighbors before we moved there had built a short (maybe 1 ft tall) stone fence between our respective yards. The problem was the fence was really on our property. When looking at the contour of the property, in order to keep the stone fence intact, the new fence would go on our property.
I now realize that if we had agreed to the fence being installed on our property:
We would become legally responsible for maintaining the fence.
We would run the risk of the property line moving to the fence line and reduce the legal size of our property.
When both homeowners agree, you can document the new “agreed to” boundary but that means time and money.
If you don’t document the changed boundary, future owners might be surprised if they don’t get a survey during the purchase process.
The lesson learned is where fences are concerned, a survey is a useful tool. Surveying the property line can ensure the fence is installed where you want it to go, and that each homeowner understands their responsibilities.