If you’re a DIY enthusiast, one of the best things you can do is build your own fence. Many think it’s a difficult task, but in reality, it’s not all that hard to do once you do your research, list out your fencing materials and tools and find a good DIY buddy to help you build your own fence!
Since we’ve been installing fences for more than 30 years, we know there’s a lot of things you need to remember before starting your fence installation project. Now that the days are longer, the temperatures are warmer and your spouse may be wondering whether you’ll keep that promise of building her or him a new fence, here are some things you need to remember before starting your fence project. If you do these 8 things—they will make your life a lot easier and your installation a lot smoother!
DIY Fence Project Preparation Tips
- Know the code—No, I’m not talking about the special code that allows you to join society for all DIYers who love fences (although that would be a great club to join, if you ask me!), I’m talking about your local county or city’s fence codes. The old adage of asking for forgiveness instead of getting permission first does NOT apply here! If you want to build two fences, then go ahead and build your first fence without knowing about the restrictions for your area. If you’re wise, you’ll check with your local zoning office to identify any residential fencing codes as these dictate how high and how wide your fence can be. If you live in a planned community, you may also need to get permission to build your own fence, from your Homeowner’s Association (HOA) prior to getting your permit to build. Some counties and communities also regulate the color of the fence, so don’t forget to ask about that. Once you know the codes, go secure your permit to build!
- Stay within the lines—You can color outside the lines in a coloring book all you want; you can’t install a fence on land that doesn’t belong to you. If you don’t have a copy of your plat or the blue prints for your property, get them. Make sure you keep your fence on your property as even going onto a neighbor’s property by as much as one to two inches is enough leverage your neighbor needs to force you into tearing down a nice new fence when they realize you’ve overshot your limits.
- Call Miss Utility—Before you dedicate space in your yard for your fence plan or set one post hole in the ground, call Miss Utility to come out and identify any underground lines or pipes on your property. Drilling smack dab into a water pipe or digging and cutting into local phone lines will earn you some of the biggest fines in your life. They cost more than the fence in most cases! And the priceless impact of having the public utilities come after you is the embarrassment you’ll face among your neighbors and friends. By the way, Miss Utility is not a person, so don’t even think about asking her out on a date!
- Be a Good Neighbor Like State Farm—Would you want someone to build a permanent structure next to you without asking you whether or not you plan on building a fence of your own? Legally, as long as you’re building on your own property, there’s not much a neighbor can say or do. However, one of the benefits of talking to your neighbors is finding out they also plan to put in a fence and if everyone is happy on the materials and design, you may find that they will split the costs for those common walls shared between yards. Here’s a tip for you folks who live in a townhome community: Since your HOA dictates what the fences will look like, wait and see if the neighbors on either side of you plan on putting up a fence. If both of them do, then all you need to do is install the final wall, which can save you money!
- Ask Yourself Why—Want to protect your kids and pets from strangers and keep them in your yard? Need some privacy from the neighbors? Just want something to keep people from walking across your property because you have a pool? Be clear about what purpose your fence will serve. This helps you identify what fencing materials you will need and sets your budget.
- Ask Yourself What—Once you know why you want to build your fence, then think about the fencing materials you want. If you want a fence that’s low to no maintenance and don’t want to replace it in fifteen years, a wood fence may not be your best option. Likewise, if you want something extremely durable and secure and don’t want to break the bank, aluminum fences are more affordable than wrought iron. There are all kinds of fencing materials available to you; do some research on the benefits and longevity of the ones you’d like to use for your project. Some will tell you that you can even mix them up—just like a Mohawk! The front of your house can be this highly traditional iron fence with brick pillars while the back can be a simple chain link fence. Be creative; sometimes this is the more cost-effective way to build a fence!
- Get an Exit Strategy—This may sound silly, but one of the most common mistakes is forgetting to put a gate somewhere along the fence so you can come and go on your property while you’re outside. I know, it seems like a simple thing to remember! Yet, we get calls all the time for folks asking “Hey, I forgot to build a gate, what do I do now?” a few times every summer. It’s not funny when you finish your own DIY project and realize you forgot something important like this. Besides, do you really want to admit to your spouse that you weren’t thinking?
- Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan—Make sure you have everything you need for your fence installation before you start. This means mapping out your fence so you know how many fence panels or boards you’ll need, how many holes to dig for your posts, how much hardware to buy, what tools you must have and whether or not you have first aid materials on hand in case of an accident (they DO happen!). I tell people to treat this like any fine recipe, set up all your materials before you get started and you’ll save lots of time and avoid fewer mistakes when you plan out your work and organize your materials.
Got A Tip for Your DIY Fence Buddies?
If I’ve missed anything in particular to help you prepare for installing a fence for privacy, please share your tips with your fellow DIY aficionados in our comments section below!
Ready for your DIY Yard Fence Project?
If you’re ready to tackle DIY fencing, contact us today for the best pricing on quality fencing materials! Whether its chain link, a picket fence, aluminum, vinyl fences or a wood fence, we’ve got exactly what you need to build a quality fence that meets your budget! And if you decide that building your own fence is too complicated, we’ll gladly send out one of our expert fence consultants to help you plan and install the fence of your dreams and do the work for you!