5 Prep Steps for a New Fence

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Picture this: you have just moved into your beautiful new home, and your kids are dying to play outside in your large backyard. The only problem is your house didn’t come with a fence. Whether you have young kids, a dog or just like the idea of privacy in your yard, you’ve probably considered installing a fence at one point or another.

If your house doesn’t already have one (or doesn’t have one to your liking), a fence is a great addition to your home. It can provide safety for your children or pets, conceal a swimming pool or hot tub, protect landscaping and much more. As a bonus, it is a desired feature by many, so when it comes time to sell your home years down the line, your new fence may be a deciding factor for potential buyers.

Whether you are replacing an existing fence or enclosing your yard for the first time, it’s important to properly plan for your new fence installation. Read on to see what you should consider before jumping into your fencing project.

1. Check Local Fencing Rules and Regulations

Before researching fence contractors or even picking out the type of fence you want to install, contact your local building department or homeowner’s association to find out what requirements and restrictions there may be for fence installation in your neighborhood.

Some common fencing regulations are:

  • Height of fence
  • Location of fence
  • Style of fence
  • Fence materials

Once you understand what your fence options are, you will most likely need to obtain a building permit to move forward with your fence installation. Some cities require very specific details on the fence (design, materials and drawings of the fence), so you may have to work out these details beforehand. If you use a fence contractor, he or she should be able to file the fence permit for you and include the pricing for this in the original estimate.

If you are ready for a brand new fence, click here to receive up to four quotes from quality fence companies in your area.

Painting fence

Source: iStock

2. Determine Your Fence’s Primary Function(s)

Next, you should think about why you want a fence. This will help you determine what type of fence to install.If your main goal is to keep children and pets safe, a simple but strong chain link fence may be your best bet. If you are looking to maximize privacy, you may want to consider a tall wood fence. If you want something decorative that will enhance the beauty of your garden and home, an ornamental metal or vinyl picket fence may suit your needs.

Oftentimes, you will have more than one reason for wanting or needing a fence. You may want to keep your young kids safely enclosed while also concealing a swimming pool. In this case, a tall wood fence with tightly space panels will work. If you need help figuring out which type of fence is best for you, see what neighbors in similar situations have installed or consult a local fencing professional.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Select Fence Type and Materials

Once you decide on your fence’s primary function, you can select the type of fence and fence materials that best suit your needs. Below is a list of fence material suggestions by function.

Fence Function Fence Material
Enclosure Aluminum, steel, vinyl, chain link
Decorative Steel, composite, aluminum, vinyl
Privacy Composite, vinyl, wood
Security Wood, steel chain link
Garden/Farm Wood rail, vinyl rail, vinyl SnapFence

This is also the time to take cost and maintenance into consideration. For example, wood fences can be a more cost effective option than vinyl or composite, but they also require more maintenance than other materials.

4. Take Measurements and Sketch The Location of Your Fence

This is something a fence contractor will do for you, but if you’re planning a DIY fence installation or are artistically-inclined, you will want to sketch out your plan. Determine the measurements of your new fence and outline it all on paper. Include the location of your house, garage, trees, landscaping, and any other structures in your yard. This will help you better visualize your fence project as well as identify any potential obstructions.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Alert Neighbors of Your Upcoming Fence Installation

Before you begin your fence installation, you will want to talk to your bordering neighbors, particularly if your fence will run along property lines. It’s important to make sure that your new fence will be on your land and won’t cross over into a neighbor’s property. If needed, you can always contact a land surveyor to mark the property line for you.


As you can expect with most home improvement projects, installing a new fence requires a lot of research and careful planning. Skipping just a single step can present a major setback and may even be detrimental to a successful fence installation. So whether you are going to hire a fence company or take on the project yourself, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to plan.

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