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5 Things to Consider Before Installing Your New Fence

Updated: Mar 2

When you decide it’s time for a new fence, there are many common sense considerations:


Where will I have it installed?

What material will my fence be made from?

What am I trying to keep in or out?


However, there are also quite a few things you should consider that may not be quite so “common sense”. Answering these questions before having your fence installed can help avoid disputes with neighbors, avoid problems with the city, and keep your property more secure for a longer time. Check out our “Un-common Sense Fence Questions” below to make sure you cover all your bases for your brand new fence.


1. Can I even have a fence?


In Denver, contrary to what some contractors may tell you, if you want a fence at all you will need to obtain (or have your contractor, First Rate Fence & Supply, obtain) a zoning permit. To do this, you or your contractor must prepare a detailed site plan and fill out a zoning permit application. Without this permit, you may find out that your fence doesn’t meet zoning code requirements. This could result in the city forcing you to remove or move the fence you just spent good money on.


2. Should I install my fence on my property line?


While it seems like a no-brainer to have your fence installed right on your property line, you may want to reconsider. One of the best ways to avoid fence disputes with your neighbors is to make sure your fence is 100% on your property. In order to be 100% on your property, you need to make sure that applies to what you place under the ground as well as above it. Securing your fence posts requires a concrete footer to be poured around your post base underground. Depending on the size of your posts, this footer could extend past your property line and into your neighbors property! While it may not seem like a big deal to have a little concrete underground a little bit past your property line, if your neighbor decides to start a garden, put in sprinkler lines, or do literally anything on the edge of their property line, your neighbor can do anything to the concrete on their side. Like break it out. To be on the safe side, install your fence about 8” inside your property line.


It is also important to consider any city rules and regulations before installing a fence on your property line. Many cities have a required set back — for example, if you’re installing a fence in Lakewood you may have to have your fence set back 2 feet from the sidewalk. And, yes, the city can make you move it no matter how many fences on your street don't meet this requirement.


3. Should my fence rails be on the inside or outside of my fence?


When it comes to fences, rails are usually on the inside (the side you see from your yard) while the “good side” faces out to the world and your neighbors. Not only is this good practice etiquette-wise, it’s more secure for you. While you may be tempted to keep the good-side view to yourself (you paid for it after all), putting the rails on the outside basically acts as a ladder for anyone who wants access to your yard. This is something to consider for sections of fence that may have unknown guest walking by (i.e. alleys and streets).


4. How deep should my fences post holes be?


You may not put much thought into the depth of your post holes if you’re installing the fence yourself, but you really should. In order to stand up to strong Colorado winds and nudges from pets, post holes need to be 1/3 the length of the entire post. That means that if you want a 6’ privacy fence, you need to buy 8’ posts and dig 24-30 inch post holes.


5. How tall can my fence be?


While you may want to turn your house into a fortress with a 20’ tall privacy fence (and who would blame you?), your city may have other ideas. In most cities the primary face of your residential fence can not exceed 4’ and anything behind it still can’t exceed 6’ without a review or "variance". Businesses are not exempt from the rules of the city! If you are installing an industrial fence, the max height within your setback can not exceed 7’ and anything outside the setback still can not exceed 10’. It’s important to understand the rules and regulations of your city before you install your new fence. In many cases the city will not work with you even if you’ve already paid for and installed your fence—you will be required to move it or remove it.


We hope this list of 5 un-common sense fence questions helps you out if you're considering going the DIY route and installing your fence yourself. If you plan on having a contractor install your fence make sure they're knowledgable and licensed (an unlicensed contractor is not able to obtain permits!). If you want to save yourself time and trouble, just give us a call today and we'll make sure your fence is done right!

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