You have decided you need a fence, so now what? Now its time decide on the layout of the fence, where you would like the gates to be located, if you would like to incorporate a double gate, and the style of the fence you would like. The first place to start is with your Home Owner’s Association, or HOA, if you live in an area that has one. The HOA will have rules and regulations about fence types, designs, heights, and fence placement. Once you know what the HOA will allow, you can start planning and designing within their guidelines. It would be very frustrating to spend time planning and designing a wooden fence only to find out the HOA only allows aluminum. The common things HOA’s will ask for is a copy of your lot survey with the proposed fence line drawn in red, a material list telling the specifications of the material to be used, and a picture of the fence you would like.
Now that you know what the HOA will allow, its time to plan the placement of your fence. Some HOA’s require the fence to be on the property lines, while others will let you place the fence in from the property line to allow for shrubs. The HOA will also tell you how far up the house you can come, such as the rear corner, 20′ from the rear corner, or to the front of the house. Decide what works best for you and meets HOA regulations. Gate placement is also an important factor in fence layout. I usually suggest two gates- one on each side of the house. I also suggest making one of those gates a double gate. A double gate allows to you to get larger items in your back yard such as a vehicle, a shed, a play set, or anything else. The wonderful thing about a double gate is that it functions as a single gate and the second gate leaf only opens when you choose for it to. When considering gate placement, think of ease of entry and exit. You may want a gate close to the side door in a garage. A good place for a double gate is the side of the house close to the driveway. That way if you do need to get a vehicle through it, you don’t have to drive across the front yard. Gates in the back of the fence can be nice if you have a deep lot or back up to an easement. Gates into next door neighbor’s yards can also be nice, but keep in mind if you or the neighbor sell the house, the gate may not be welcome by the new occupant.
After you decide where to place the fence, you need to pick a fence design you like. Since this series of articles is on wooden fencing, I will tell you about common wood fence styles. The great thing about wood is the design is almost endless. Most fence contractors are also skilled carpenters and can help you design and build a fence that is unique to your tastes. With that being said, there are common fence designs. Dog Ear, Scalloped, Arched or Half Moon, Flat Top, Shadow box, Board on Board, Spaced Picket, and Trim Top are some of the most common fences we install. Some of the fence styles can mix, such as an arched shadow box or a scalloped board on board. The easiest way to see pictures of these designs is to go to Google images and type in the fence style followed by the word “fence”. The search term may look like “arched fence”, or “shadow box fence”. Take some time and look at the different styles. Also consider what your goal is. If you desire privacy you may not want a spaced picket fence. If you want some privacy but also want your neighbor’s to see in your back yard for security purposes, you may want a shadow box. If you want to keep your dog in the yard but also want people to be able to see you have a dog, perhaps a spaced picket would work well. Take the time to make sure the wooden fence you want will meet your needs, and the fence that meets your needs is a fence you like.
Once you know what you like, its time to get estimates and select a contractor. Contractors can also help you in selecting a fence style and answer any questions you have. But that’s another article and will be published soon.