Does Your Area Have "Good Neighbor" Fences?

By
Real Estate Agent with Regent Property Group 0480809

Since we've been contemplating the move to Austin, it's given me an opportunity to see how other parts of the state, possibly even the country, do things.  One of those things is the Fence around a property.  This might not seem like a big deal, but in all actuality it is a fairly big deal as it's an aesthic thing...

Look at this picture.  What do you see?  I see a confused fence that doesn't quite know which way it was supposed to be put up.  Are the "climbing bars" supposed to be facing in the backyard, or facing the other way?  I think this is a horrible look, and I can't believe this is called "Good Neighbor Fencing."  I had never even heard of Good Neighbor Fencing until reading the MLS listings for the Austin area.  I often wondered what it meant, and then a builder explained it to me.

What's good about "Good Neighbor Fences"?  Is it good that both neighbors agreed to have something look horrible surrounding their property?  Is it good that instead of one person feeling their yard looks bad while their neighbors' looks good that both neighbors get to look at something bad?

Personally, I see nothing wrong with the side of the fence that has the bars.  When I was younger, that's how I was able to be nosey and see over to the neighbors yard, by climbing the bars.  Also, it's good for planting vines against as it's easier for them to climb.

I bring this up because it's not just in Austin like I thought.  I was in Houston yesterday just to look at one house, and I noticed the fencing there too.  Do you think this looks good?  Do you think this is a good compromise between neighbors to both get screwed out of a nice looking fence?

Here are examples of what it looks like when it's all one direction or the other, as this is my current yard. Keep in mind that I have an 8 foot fence, so it has extra climbing bars, whereas most fences we saw in Austin and Houston were only 6 foot fences. Maybe the solution is for everyone to go to board on board fences so the middle bars are covered up completely?

What is the traditional way in your area, and which direction do you like and prefer?

 

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Ambassador
568,646
Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Lexington KY - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty,Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes -

That's pretty funny in the first pic. i have never seen it done that way.  Always wondered why someone wanted it to look better on the outside than on the inside where it is always viewed. I don't have one...only a nice creek and trees out back.

July 30, 2008 10:51 AM #7
Rainmaker
26,667
Janis Olson
RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay 609-978-4046 ext: 5114 - Manahawkin, NJ
RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay, 609-276-1741

I'm not a big fan of it....I have vinyl fencing around my property that looks the same on either side....I wish my neighbors chipped in on the cost though. LOL!!

July 30, 2008 10:53 AM #8
Rainer
9,943
South Beaches Real Estate Team
South Beaches Real Estate Professionals - Treasure Island, FL

I am in Florida and we usually have the 6 foot panels with one bar across. Most of them are not straight since home owners installed them themselves and did not have a clue what they were doing

 

July 30, 2008 10:57 AM #9
Rainmaker
446,004
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Donna~ We don't have a fence, but MAY eventually  have to put one up....  My husband states that fences MAKE for good neighbors.  I think people put the nicer side "IN"  because that is what THEY have to look at!

July 30, 2008 10:59 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

JOhn, Looks weird, huh?

Travis, To each their own.  Glad you like it.

Dennis, I find it odd that they call it a "privacy" fence when 6 feet doesn't really keep many things private.

Rebecca, That sounds like a lot of hard work to do yourself.  Glad it turned out well for you.

Benita, In the Dallas area, when it's a common fence, both neighbors are automatically responsible but they don't make it look ugly like this.  When a fence is old and falling down, you knock on their door and ask how they want to deal with it.  We just put up a new board on board on one side of the house because that neighbor wanted it to match his other side since his other neighbor did a B on B. More expensive, but when you're splitting the cost, very affordable.

Randall, Yes, some HOAs are strict about what faces the street, but don't care about the interior lots.

 

July 30, 2008 11:13 AM #11
Rainmaker
312,943
Michael Russell
Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc. - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Kansas Real Estate

I guess that I am not a good neighbor, I could could never look at that ugly thing.

July 30, 2008 11:15 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Lizette, The house we're thinking about building in Austin will back to a Nature area, and then wrought iron on the sides.  No privacy at all, but that's what the HOA restrictions say... arg!

Janis, Vinyl isn't very common around here, but it's popping up more and more.  My parents were looking into it.

South Beach, Sounds like some contractors could knock on doors and make a killing by correcting people's fences there.

Vickie, I agree that fences make good neighbors, especially when dogs are involved.

July 30, 2008 11:17 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Michael, I guess where they build them like that, people are used to it and don't realize it could look a lot nicer if they actually wanted to be "good neighbors."

July 30, 2008 11:57 AM #14
Rainer
256,188
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Our area has more of the white vinyl fences.  I like those.  I think they look good from either side.  They are also easier to maintain.  :)

July 30, 2008 12:07 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Debi, The do look nice, but it would be hard for people around here to fork over the cost of them.

July 30, 2008 12:35 PM #16
Rainmaker
950,902
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Sigh.

Pickets are about $2.33 at Home Depot, depending on quality. I spent just over $500 adding all those stupid things. I didn't realize that certain nails were required. Get the wrong ones and you'll have rust lines all the way down your fence! Yes I redid that whole funky project!  ARGGH! Builders do this to save $, no other reason in my opinion.

July 30, 2008 02:55 PM #17
Rainmaker
525,809
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Homes

I prefer the wrought iron fences that I see in a lot of higher end neighborhoods.  When I lived in Rockville MD our neighborhood had split rail fences and I thought that looked nice.

July 30, 2008 03:07 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Greg, Galvanized nails?  Even being a girl, I know you need the extra long length, all weather nails that don't rust!

Shirley, The wrought iron looks nicer, but most people don't like actually having them because they have no privacy at all, and if you happen to not like your neighbor, it's awkward when you're both in the back yard.

July 30, 2008 04:28 PM #19
Rainmaker
950,902
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Donna -  never said I was good at it! :)

July 30, 2008 04:31 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Greg, It's good to be able to admit your flaws... ;)

July 30, 2008 04:46 PM #21
Rainer
256,188
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Donna - They can be pricey.  I haven't checked them out lately, but I'm sure they've gone up...  :)

July 31, 2008 08:43 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Debi, Probably... since regular wood has gone up, I'm sure people are looking at alternatives which then brings up the prices of the new stuff.

July 31, 2008 01:35 PM #23
Rainmaker
229,974
Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Orlando, Florida - Lake Mary, FL
MoveToLakeMary.com or 407-758-1020

Donna, the braces usually face towards the owner's property. I don't understand the fence in the picture either.

August 03, 2008 01:42 PM #24
Rainer
16,587
Tracie Mason
Agent Assistant Network - Seattle, WA
Holton, Coach & Virtual Assistant

Two winters ago we had a really bad wind storm come through and our old fence fell on the neighbor's house.  They are a super nice, older Korean couple and I was really worried about them being upset.

The next morning I was outside starting the clean up and the husband was outside.  He called me over and I apologized profusely and told him we'd fix the fence ASAP.  He ran inside to get his wife because her English is much stronger than his.  She immediately came out and handed me a $100 bill; they wanted to pay "their share" and help rebuild.

Obviously, they didn't know what a new cedar fence cost, but they definitely knew that good fences make good neighbors.  The husband isn't very handy, so Brett spent the extra cash and time to make the fence nice on both sides.  Both we and the neighbors are super happy.

August 31, 2008 02:50 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,369,317
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Tracie, That's very nice that they offered to help.  Did you have fences butting up to each other, or your fence was a few feet away and it blew over and fell on their fence?

August 31, 2008 07:42 PM #26
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Rainmaker
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Donna Harris

Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin
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