Around homes, most gardens have backyard fences for many reasons. Privacy and stopping the neighbor’s dogs from running around are two main reasons. However, if your fence doesn’t seem high enough, you may not just add height to an existing fence.
It’s crucial to know your local fence height limits, as breaking them might have serious consequences. When defining or discussing the characteristics of a fence, the most highly regulated and thoroughly regulated characteristic of a fence is height and not where the property line between your home and the next falls.
Some local rules will limit the kind and type of fence that can be installed, but they will always limit how high a fence can be built and whether or not a permit is required before construction or replacement begins. In our guide, you can learn all you need about how to extend fence height for privacy. (Learn How To Keep Neighbors Dog Out Of My Yard)
By the end, you’ll understand what you can and can’t do and what ways may work better than a fence height extension for more privacy, without breaking the fence height laws in your garden.
How Can I Increase Top Of Fence Privacy?
Here’s a lot of information regarding using your fence for privacy rather than using trees or other methods in your garden.
Including a trellis is one of the most common ways to add height to existing fence structure.
A fence topper is a simple choice because it sits on your existing fence. Most fence toppers are 6ft long 1ft or 2ft wide trellis segments that span the entire width of the fence.
However, the trellis is always included in the maximum height laws for fence. For example, if any boundary fence or the garden wall has a maximum height of 2 meters, the wall and trellis must also have a maximum height of 2 meters.
Why Are Fences 6 Feet Tall?
The maximum height for a backyard fence in many towns is six feet, whereas a four-foot fence can be used in front of your property.
Taller fences can obscure vehicular sightlines, causing blind corners at intersections and placing children and dogs in danger. This is one reason why front yard fences are smaller.
What If My Fence Is Too tall?
A backyard fence should not exceed 6 feet tall. However, this is by no means universal or fixed and just a general rule.
With fences surrounding houses on corner lots, an overly tall fence might potentially turn an intersection into a series of deadly blind corners.
What Is The Maximum Height To Build A Fence Without Planning Permission?
Planning approval is usually necessary if the fence is higher than 2 meters; however, it may be as low as 1 meter if the fence is near a road. In addition, if your fence mistakenly exceeds regulations or another person can raise valid objections, you can ask for retroactive planning permission.
Depending on where you live, a privacy fence in your backyard may not require a permit unless it is above 6 feet tall; however, a similar fence in your front yard may only be 3.5 feet tall.
Can I Erect A Screen On My Side Of A Fence?
Privacy screens can be erected directly in front of your neighbor’s existing fence if they are on your side of the garden property line, eliminating the need to communicate or negotiate with them. (Learn How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw Near A House)
What If Fence Exceeds Certain Height Restrictions?
If you extend your fence over 6 feet, be aware of the following potential consequences:
Neighbours & HOA
Front yard fence height and backyard fence height are regulated by municipalities and Homeowners Associations (HOAs).
In some regions, 8-foot fences are permitted instead of the regular 6-foot height for fence height regulations.
If you violate these fencing limits, you may face significant fines, or you may be forced to pull your fence entirely.
A higher fence provides a stronger sense of seclusion, one of the most important factors to consider. However, those two feet can feel intimidating and restrictive if you go from a 6-foot privacy fence to an 8-foot fence around your house.
Many people who make the switch characterize their backyard as a “prison yard” or as being contained. If you want a property with a view, stay on the low side and make do with the view of the block.
Lack of Curb Appeal
Many homeowners are avoiding the need to buy a larger fence by, in most cases extending the existing fence with lattice.
It can lead to a unified look if done correctly, but most times, the contrast between fencing materials detracts from the appearance of your home. (Read Inexpensive Privacy Fence Ideas For Backyard)
In addition, adding a topper to an old wood fence may cause the fence post to buckle under the additional weight.
Drivers and pedestrians are at risk if your home sits on a corner lot on the block. The safety of individuals on the road will be your responsibility, and a tall privacy fence in the front yard causes blind spots at crossings, as do a row of dense trees.
Many HOAs and cities have rules on corner lot fences. If yours doesn’t, consider whether a few extra feet on a taller fence are worth the extra risk of danger to family and neighbors on the street.
How To Measure The Fence Height
The correct technique to measure is from the final grade at the base where the posts are embedded to the highest point of the wood structure.
This includes the height of the pickets and any other features such as lattice or horizontal boards at the bottom of a post that is higher than the typical height of the fence.
Local restrictions usually allow the fence to be measured from the top finished grade to the structure’s highest point, with one exception.
Unless otherwise specified in the law, the maximum height regulations for fencing always include all accessories; thus, we must account for each when calculating the total fence height.
Building a fence, like many other building operations, is governed locally. There is no statewide or national standard for residential fence height regulations; therefore, it varies from place to place, and occasionally even within a city.
City and county planning offices enforce these code limits and give the permits.
In the front yard, the maximum height is usually 3-4 feet, as corner lots require a visibility triangle to allow transit vehicles and pedestrians to see any impending danger. Garden pools have a maximum and minimum height for safety reasons.
Some regulations allow for an extra foot of height if the fence is partially or open, providing a better-limited view.
The City or County can impose significant fees and fines, and they can also compel the entire repair of a fence that is out of compliance. That means ripping down the fence, disposing of it, and rebuilding it. (Learn How To Legally Annoy Your HOA)
Remember that each property owner is personally accountable for any fence violations. If you plan to exceed the maximum finish height allowed by your local codes, ensure you have the permit ready before you build.
Your local planning agency can help you determine the maximum fence height allowed in your location.