10 Things to Know Before Building a Fence

Are you ready to put up a fence around your house and trying to make the best decision possible? The following factors can inform your choice in finding just the right fence: 

1.  Functional Purposes of the Fence   

Primarily, your fence may be required for privacy and pet containment, but a nice fence goes a long way in terms of street appeal and home value. Of course, privacy is usually the main concern and 6 foot heights are the most common. You can install taller fences up to 7 feet without a permit and in some cases 8 feet with neighbor consent only.

2.  HOA and City Permits    

Before installing a fence, you should check with your Home Owners Association, if you have one. An HOA may have certain requirements involving materials and/or heights. Additionally, certain cities require permits for all fences and heights such as the City of Lakeway, among others. Austin does not have specific requirements. If you’re not sure, please check with your city.

3.  Property Lines & Surveys

Having a survey may provide information that may not be evident just by looking at your current fence. It will also help with proper fence placement and to determine who the existing fence belongs to. In many cases a builder might have installed the fence and so it’s more than likely directly on the property line, in which case, it is shared between neighbor’s.

For properties without an existing fence or for larger properties where the property line is not clear, we recommend getting a new survey, with points on the line for proper fence placement. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a new fence that exceeds your property boundary. This is sure to come up when you or a neighbor decide to sell.

4.  Shared Costs

Let your neighbors know about your fence plans to avoid any troubles down the road. They may even consider sharing the cost with you. It doesn’t hurt to ask. In many cases, neighbor’s will share the cost of any common fence they share with you.  This can certainly help with your budget. If you’d like, we can list each neighbor’s share of the cost so that you can approach them prior to making a final decision.

5.  The Type of Fence   

Most homeowners replace their existing fence with something similar, but a better quality. In some neighborhoods residents may opt for something quite different. For example, horizontal styles in lieu of standard privacy fence are becoming more prevalent. Ornamental steel is a nice upgrade for gates and for yards backing a greenbelt area. Again, we recommend checking with your HOA and neighbors prior to any significant style changes. 

7.  Customizing Your Fence

For a more aesthetic appeal, there are additional styles and features you can incorporate to cedar privacy fence like cap & trim or a lattice top. Other styles that work well are horizontal privacy and shadowbox style. You can look through our fence galleries for other options and styles that may be of interest to you. 

8.  Staining

Staining your new fence with an oil based stain is another option to consider. There are a variety of colors and tones to choose from. Keep in mind that you will probably need to stain approximately every 2 years if you want to keep the stained color, as the Texas weather can be tough on a fence. An oil based stain can add some life to the fence if you keep up with it over the years. 

9.  Maintaining Your Fence

Fences are an investment in your home value and you want to make sure they last. We recommend not growing any vines on the fence. It looks nice, but can deteriorate the fence much more quickly. We recommend a separate structure or trellis for growing vegetation near the fence. Additionally, you want to keep the fence dry and free of insects. Consider having your sprinklers adjusted, so they do not spray on the fence directly. The hard water in Central Texas can stain the fence and get it wet more often than typical rain fall.

10.  Hire a Fencing Professional 

To ensure your fence is properly installed contact a fencing profession to walk you through the many options and help answer your questions. An experienced professional will also have examples for you to see online. Please check out our fence galleries.