Building a fence is a great do-it-yourself project. Find tips on how to choose the right type of fence for your yard and learn the initial steps to get it installed.
Taking the time to design and select the proper materials will help make sure your fence is practical, secure and safe.
Before beginning any excavation, call 811 to check for underground utilities.
Contact your local building department or homeowner’s association to verify fence requirements and restrictions. Some zoning ordinances limit fence height, style, location and some even prohibit fence construction. In most cases, to begin any construction, you’ll need to apply for a building permit and be subject to inspection by a building inspector.
If your town has restrictions on fence construction, you might be able to apply for a variance. A variance is a request to perform some type of new construction or alteration that's otherwise not permitted by zoning regulations.
Select your fence's functions. Here are a few:
You can select different styles of fences for your yard, matching the various functions. For example, select a tall vinyl fence for patio privacy and a short chain-link fence for a small pet area.
Select a type of fence.
Try to match the architecture of the home and landscape with a complementary fence design.
Select fence materials.
Consider fence component styles.
Use a tape measure and pencil to begin sketching the location of the new fence on paper. Include the location of the house, garage, outbuildings, trees, landscaping and any existing fences.
If the fence will run along property lines, talk to the owners of the neighboring property. You want to make sure your fence will indeed be on your land, and if needed, contact a land surveyor to mark the property line.
If required by local ordinance, apply for a building permit from the local building department, who can offer guidelines on post depth, post spacing and other technical requirements, as applicable. Some ordinances only require a building permit for structures taller than four feet or of a specific value.