It’s standard practice in many Texas neighborhoods for neighbors to share fences. In almost every situation you will be sharing your fence with at least one neighbor, but often you’re sharing a fence on both sides of your yard and sometimes you’re even sharing your back fence. No matter how many fence sides you’re sharing with your neighbors, you’ll want to be respectful and make your fence installation experience a positive one for all parties involved. Below we will go over some common fence etiquette tips when it comes to shared fences and why they’re important – let’s dive in!
1. Define Your Property Lines
Although this might seem obvious, taking a moment to double check your property lines could save you a lot of headaches down the road! Legally, you can only install a fence (or anything else) on your property, not your neighbor’s. If you were to accidentally install your fence on your neighbor’s property, they could legally take it down, negating all the time and money you spent installing it. It’s best to take a few minutes before your project to confirm where your property ends, and to communicate your project plans to your neighbors.
To determine where your property lines are, you will need to look at your home’s survey report. The property lines will be clearly defined in this survey, but if you don’t have yours on hand, you will need to contact your county’s record office. Occasionally the record office won’t have your survey recorded, meaning you’ll have to hire a land surveyor.
If there is already an existing fence then a survey is not required. The new fence will simply be installed in the current place.
2. Talk to Your Neighbors
Though you are not required, having an open dialogue with your neighbors is always the best place to start! When developing a plan, talk about the design with your neighbor. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish- are you focusing on aesthetics or need security for a pet? Also consider what the rest of the neighborhood looks like what is required by the Home Owners Association (HOA), if applicable.
If your neighbors are in agreement about installing a new fence then often, they will share the cost with you. Because the fence will benefit both parties, your neighbors might be interested in sharing costs, the conversation about property lines and fence maintenance will also be become much easier.
Not all neighbors will be amiable and in agreement with your plan. Try to make all attempts to collaborate, but if the fence is on your property you may do as you please (Again, abiding by HOA if applicable).
3. Maintain Your Fence
If you already have a fence, or recently had one installed, you will want to keep up with its maintenance. Not only will this help your curb appeal and home value, but it will also benefit your neighbor’s. To ensure that you keep up with your fence maintenance, make sure you install a type you feel comfortable maintaining. Vinyl and aluminum fences are extremely low-maintenance and only wash down every once and a while. Whereas if you’re up for a little more maintenance, a wood privacy fence or horizontal fence can be a beautiful addition to your home. Examples of fence maintenance include: cleaning, staining and sealing (if it’s wood), and fixing loose and damaged pickets. Also be aware of a sprinkler head hitting the same spot on a wood fence as this can quickly damage and leave a weathered mark. Keeping your lawn watered and moist will also help keep your posts firm in the ground prevent the cement from cracking.
With any backyard project, communication with your neighbors is key, and with fence installation even more so. By following our shared fence etiquette tips above, you can take the stress out of fence building and enjoy the privacy and security a new fence will bring to your home. If you and your neighbors are ready for a new fence, give our experts at Austex a call today for a free consultation!