Do you sometimes crave privacy? Do you wish that there were somewhere you could go where you could have your own private place, where no one told you that you had to be or act in any certain way? If so, you can create a place like that, right at your home.
And, privacy, is not some “small thing”. Psychologically, it’s a requirement for all of us, to varying degrees. We’ve seen many individual’s lives change after fencing their property, and they tell us it’s solely because of the relief they’ve attained from finally having some privacy in their day-to-day lives.
I’ve been in the fencing industry for over twenty years, and I’ve supervised the installation of miles of fencing and gates. I can give you down-to-earth pertinent information that can help you figure out what’s the right direction to go in finding a fence solution that will provide you with the privacy you desire.
Take the few minutes to study this article and you’ll have key concepts in mind with which to begin your planning to fence your property.
Privacy is a rare commodity. These days you need to personally put it in place.
In my experience, the most frequent reason for installing fences and gates to a property is privacy.
For many people, privacy is of the greatest importance. Their “business” is their own, and no one else’s. In my experience, these people run a spectrum from the genius to the eccentric, and often a mix.
But, in my experience, the private person is often safeguarding something that is special and even more so because of that urge to hide it away. If you had a well-maintained garden and pond, wouldn’t that be even more exceptional if just you and the people closest to you knew about it?
Even if you are amongst the most sociable people, you probably want to have at least some time away from the crowds. And socializing can be more pleasant if you can provide privacy for everyone at an event that you are hosting.
The right fencing can fully make your property private and is an enormous step forward in changing your home to your castle, and your back or front yard to your kingdom.
Full Privacy Fencing – Front Yards and Backyards
All US cities and many towns and villages have regulations about the allowed height of fencing. These days they are easily found through google by searching “CityName fence regulations”. There will ordinarily be many results that get right to the point. Oftentimes you will find a law firm writing it all out well in layman’s terms. Here is an example, from Turner Law Firm in Los Angeles.
Generally speaking, the requirements for the front yard are usually about 4’ tall for the front yard, and 6 to 8 feet for the backyard. Restrictions for the fencing between properties is not so closely regulated and can often be higher than 8 feet.
What’s this mean? Well, for the front yard of most homes there’s not much you can do about privacy. Experientially, we have seen that we can build taller fences than regulation. It seems to have a lot to do with your neighbors. These days, cities generally have a lot bigger problems to face than dealing with tall front yard fences.
But, if your neighbors complain, often enough and loudly enough, or if they complain to the right people, it could be that city regulators could visit and tell you to reduce the height of your fence to regulation. And that then becomes a problem. So, we won’t build a front yard fence that is beyond regulation for your area without the customer assuming, in writing, full responsibility.
Understand that fences also create a psychological barrier. Even though a 4’ front yard fence could be climbed over with little difficulty, the far greater majority of people will not attempt to enter your property. For many people, there’s even a psychological deterrent to looking at people in a fenced area! Somehow, throughout all the years we’ve been evolving as a species, we’ve all learned that what happens on the other side of a fence isn’t supposed to be “our business”!
Now, I mentioned there a “majority of people”. Well, of course, you are not concerned about the great majority of people. You are concerned about the small fraction of people who are criminals.
So, let’s talk about criminals, briefly. A fence will, at least, prevent or slow a thief wanting to climb into your property. The criminal might injure himself by trying to climb over your fence. His entry might make noise which could be heard by a neighbor. Even a low fence makes it very difficult to steal have your large items, such as a flat-screen TV.
So, a front fence is still helpful in regards to security, if not so much good for privacy concerns.
So, the best idea might be to focus your privacy concerns to your back yard, where regulations are less stringent, and the only prying eyes are your immediate neighbors and their guests.
There are various ways to provide your backyard with privacy, and getting a manufactured fence is just one of them. Another way is to fence your property with plant life.
There are shrubs and trees that foliate so densely that they can’t be seen through and would require a considerable effort to penetrate – even more difficult in many cases to a typical man-made fence.
There are a dozen or more well-known varieties of these that I am aware of, all of them with different pluses and minuses, and some more suitable for certain climates. Remember Bob Vila from Home Improvement and other TV shows? Bob suggests these varieties at his site:
Red Twig Dogwood
Lots of these are very hardy in all sorts of difficult climates. But, unless you are very experienced in landscaping, I suggest that you get expert help before going this route. You can buy fully grown plants and, days later, have a fully installed privacy hedge around your property, but this is the more difficult and costly way.
Many people first install an inexpensive aluminum traditional picket fence and then plant young hedges behind them, towards the home, and they remove the aluminum fencing after the hedges begin to grow taller than the fence.
Your main concerns would be to make sure that you got the right species of hedge for your climate at your area’s extremes. Also, you have to make sure you have the time and the muscles (or the finances to hire a competent gardener) to maintain these natural fences over time, as they don’t just grow to your desired height and stop there!
Manufactured Privacy Fencing
Do you want privacy, but feel that you won’t have the time, patience, or financial resources to maintain hedges? You can choose amongst various types of manufactured fences to get the best for you. The most likely choices you will consider are wood, vinyl, composites, or aluminum.
Your choice of which fencing material to use should be based primarily on budget. There seems to be something of a “law” in the purchase of any physical item. “Less expensive now” generally equates to “more expensive in the long run”. And, so it is with fences and gates. Wood is the least expensive initially. However, in the long run, wood ends up costing more due to its fast deterioration and the cost of ongoing maintenance.
It will be initially more costly for you to buy vinyl, aluminum, or any of the composites, but their durability makes them a long-term better bargain. (Manufacturers combine plastic, wood pieces, and resin to make “composites”. These make a finished fencing product that looks very similar to wood),
Full privacy fencing is solid. There aren’t any posts, pickets, or slats to see around or through. In a way, they are like free-standing walls placed around your property.
These offer something of a shield from the outside world. Now, many people in the USA are rather tall, so to fully be private, you would have to make the barrier rather tall! And, even a beautifully made fence, six and a half feet tall, can sometimes look more formidable than beautiful! So, with sketches or photo-editing tools, make sure you have a keen idea of what your project’s finished look will be before engaging on such a project.
You can get gates and fences with angled louvers. These allow ventilation and, and air to circulate from outside to within and then outside again, but still afford privacy. (You’ll see these types of fencing often around pool machinery and unique types of machinery that require fresh air circulation or they’ll overheat.)
Privacy is a basic human need. The need for it is different, person to person. All of us want a place to unwind and find refuge. For homeowners, that place is our home.
Then, for some of us, that’s the indoors of our home. And, for others that “safe and private place” might also be our backyards.
Hedges and fencing are both a relatively fast means of increasing the privacy of our homes. Can you live without that increased level of privacy? Most likely. But can you thrive without it? That’s only for you to say.
Please feel free to search through our site for more about privacy fences. Please also feel free to call us at 818.649.2413 in order to get your questions answered, or to complete this form in order to arrange a personal or family consultation.