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Tuesday, May 6,2014

Fence Me In

By Roger Zona  

Question: My home is on a corner lot and I would like more privacy for my patio. What type of fence do you recommend? Answer:

A: Cities and counties have extensive codes and regulations regarding the type, size and location of fences.


First, if you have a subdivision HOA (Home Owners Assoc.) you should find out what restrictions or regulations they enforce. This applies to condominiums as well.

Next, visit your Building Dept. and find out what code regulations apply. Ask about the various fence materials and which ones are approved. Permitting will require a survey.

Once you have this information, next determine what type, style, color and material of fencing you want. This is the tricky part. There are lots of choices – wood, concrete, plastic, wrought iron, aluminum, split rail, bamboo, chain link, barbed wire and last but not least – shrubbery.

For privacy, a 6’ or 8’ high fence is preferred. It would be best to provide some landscaping along the fence. A good deterrent to fence climbing is the Bougainville, which is very thorny. Wood eventually will deteriorate and warp. The wood used will have an effect on these problems. Cyprus is very good but more costly that cedar. Both can be left unfinished and they will develop a patina or grey look. A wood picket fence offers little privacy and needs more maintenance. PVC also has some design features such as a tongue and groove effect, lattice, pickets and column caps.

Chain link fence is available in any height – from 3’ to 8’ . It’s available as raw metal or vinyl coated. It is a good backdrop for landscaping material. 4’ high may not give you the privacy you want but it may be the limit you are allowed. Also, the posts must be set in concrete. This adds to the installation cost. Chain link fence is institutional looking.

Wrought iron or aluminum fencing is expensive due to the nature of the material. It is available in many styles and can be plain or very ornate. Bamboo is an excellent material but has design limitations. Reed fencing needs a backup frame to support the sections.


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