You may have heard the phrase, “good fences make good neighbors” and that line from Robert Frost’s poem, The Mending Wall, is certainly true. The meaning of that expression is easily understood: having a defined boundary between your house and your neighbor’s, and respecting that boundary, helps to keep the peace between you. But sometimes, there may be gray areas that need to be made clear. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the rules and etiquette that are important to know when installing an Indiana privacy fence so that you can keep good relationships with your neighbors and also avoid being fined for not following local laws.

Fence Etiquette 101

Before you get a new fence, it is important to think about your neighbors, your HOA rules if you happen to live in such a neighborhood, and your local zoning rules as they apply to fences. 

Observing Property Boundaries

In order to prevent arguments and property encroachment disputes, make sure that you study your house line drawing or plat, or order a new survey from a land surveyor to be sure of your boundary lines. A fencing company will usually install a foot inside the line, to be on the safe side. Don’t risk the possibility of having to tear down your Indiana privacy fence by going even one inch over your property line. 

Respect Height Limits

A reputable Indiana fencing company, like Mr. Fence, will obtain permits and will be knowledgeable about local zoning regulations for height, setbacks, and other restrictions. In most localities, fences must be placed a minimum of six inches inside of your own property line. Every jurisdiction will have its own rules and regulations. However, in most places, the maximum height for a fence is 6 feet. The height limits are lower for fences that will be built in the front yard and those that are within 15 feet of the curb or street line, where a high fence will limit traffic sight distances. Height limits typically are 6 feet for side and back yards and 4 feet for front yards. More restrictive rules often apply to corner lots where a high fence will limit visibility to drivers. To avoid disputes, review restrictions with your fence company before choosing an Indiana privacy fence style.

Follow Your HOA’s Rules:

Fencing companies are not responsible for knowing homeowner association dos and don’ts, so it is going to be important for you to be educated on their rules. You certainly won’t want to endure the committee’s wrath so it’s a good idea to follow HOA guidelines. HOAs can dictate style, height, and maintenance. If your HOA wants all structures to match, you won’t have much wiggle room when selecting your Indiana privacy fence.

Share Your Plans With Neighbors

While there is no ordinance requiring notice, if you’re planning to install a fence you should discuss your plans with your neighbors. Not only does this avoid any unpleasant surprises, but your courtesy may also be rewarded with the neighbor agreeing to share the cost of the fence. The property owner typically bears the cost for a fence installed within the boundaries of their commercial or residential real estate but sometimes costs are split for a fence along boundary lines shared between neighbors. If property line issues exist, resolve them before installation.

What Is a Neighbor-Friendly Fence?

Depending on which style of privacy fencing you plan to install, one side may look better than the other. It’s common practice to put the more finished side of your fence facing the street and your neighbor’s yard. This is a courtesy and goes a long way to keeping good relations with your neighbor. It is always a good idea to let your neighbor have the more attractive-looking side pointed towards their property. When building a neighbor-friendly fence, you can choose one that has an identical look on both sides or simply one that offers a plain, finished look that won’t have a negative effect on the aesthetics of their home.

Most privacy fences are solidly paneled on one side and have slats on the other. Positioning the solid side outwards is polite, and it makes your property look more appealing. If you install your fence with the smoother side facing in, most people will assume it was improperly installed.

If you prefer to have an even look on both sides, then good neighbor fences are a better option. These double-sided fences have a sandwich-style construction, which makes them much stronger. Instead of you or your neighbor viewing the connection slats, they will be sandwiched in the middle of two outside panels.

It’s also your responsibility to clean and maintain both sides. If an aging section starts to lean, have it repaired or replaced.

Mr. Fence is Here to Get You Started on Your Indiana Privacy Fence Project

You can count on a reliable Indiana fence company like Mr. Fence to help you with your fence project. We’re here to help to make sure you don’t run into any issues along the way. Stop by our showroom to talk to our fence professionals, or you can also call us at (812) 425-3550 or contact us online for fast, friendly service!