Do Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors?

Most people don’t have the luxury of being able to choose their neighbors, and there’s no guarantee you’ll have the same likes and dislikes as yours. Even if you get along with yours at first, there are a few perennial reasons for a breakdown in good neighborliness, one of which is fences.

While fence regulations are not generally implemented with good neighborliness in mind, there are elements that can affect relationships between neighbors. For instance:

  • Only one neighbor wants a fence.
  • Neighbors don’t agree on fence materials or style.
  • The fence blocks the neighbor’s view.
  • Shoddy workmanship is seen to devalue the neighbor’s property.
  • An 8-foot high privacy fence is seen by the neighbors as a barricade that indicates unfriendliness.
  • Disputes about who owns the fence. Generally, if the fence is erected on the boundary line, it becomes the property of both neighbors, even if only out paid for it.

The issue of who gets the “nice” side of the fence can also be a cause for argument. While traditionally whoever pays for the fence gets to choose whether he wants the finished side or not, there are local rules that sometimes mandate otherwise.

Fence Regulations

In most parts of Georgia property owners have the right to fence and so exclude people, animals, and other things from their land. While the homeowners’ associations (HOAs) of some residential developments, and even some cities, have regulations that govern, limit, or even prohibit fences, generally 8-foot walls and fences are permitted on side and backyard areas.

In Atlanta, which is Georgia’s largest municipality, front yard fences may only be 4-foot high. The same rule applies to Augusta, where side and backyard fences may not be higher than 6 feet.

In Milton City, a suburb of Atlanta, if only one side of a fence is “finished,” this side must face the neighbor’s property.

Reasons for Building Fences

We build fences for many different reasons, for:

  • Security, to prevent intruders and trespassers from entering the property.
  • Safety, particularly to keep children and pets inside the yard.
  • Blocking out ugly views and structures, including unsightly neighbors’ yards.
  • As a buffer to wind or barrier for noise, or to help provide shade.
  • Privacy, particularly in suburbs where small lots provide little, if any, seclusion from passers-by and neighbors.

We also build fences as part of an overall landscaping plan, as a backdrop for plants or to create another dimension in the garden.

In Georgia, there have even been instances of “spite fences” being constructed simply to annoy neighbors, showing that “bad” fences can indeed make bad neighbors! Some have resulted in legal action.

If you want to ensure your new fence won’t threaten your relationships with neighbors, FenceWorks of Georgia will help you plan a cost-effective structure that will benefit everyone. Call us for a consultation.