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Fences are one of the greatest sources of controversy when it comes to homeownership. Some people focus on the benefits, such as privacy and safety, while others complain about an obstructed view or consider a fence a sign of unfriendliness. Before you install a fence, think it over carefully.

Reasons to Put up a Fence
Many homeowners consider a fence a practical safety and security measure. If you have kids or pets, a fence can keep them in the yard and protect them from other people and animals. If you have belongings that are frequently left outdoors, a fence can prevent theft. If you own a pool, a fence can prevent accidents. Your homeowners insurance company may even require one.

If you live in a neighborhood with houses close together, it’s hard to have privacy if everyone else can see into your yard. A fence can allow you to relax outdoors away from prying eyes.

Living on a busy street can mean suffering from noise pollution. Maybe you didn’t realize how bad the noise was until after you moved in, or maybe new businesses have attracted more traffic and the problem has gotten worse. A fence can give you some peace and quiet.

Potential Problems
Sometimes neighbors with adjoining properties agree on the need for a fence, but in other cases one homeowner is staunchly opposed to the idea. That person may be worried about an obstructed view or may consider building a fence an unfriendly gesture. Property line disputes often crop up when a fence is built.

Talk to your neighbor before you install a fence. If your neighbor has any objections, address them and seek legal help if necessary. You might need to make some compromises to avoid permanently damaging your relationship. On the other hand, if your neighbor supports the idea, you might be able to share the cost.

Check local zoning laws and homeowners association rules before you put up a fence. You don’t want to get hit with a fine and have to take it down.

The cost of installing a fence depends on the material used, the size of the fence, material and construction costs where you live, and the characteristics of the yard. If the property line is on a hill or if any bushes or trees need to be removed to make room for a fence, that’ll impact the overall cost.

Fences require different amounts of maintenance depending on the material. A wooden fence will need to be stained and painted from time to time and may need to be replaced if it becomes warped or if the paint peels from years of exposure to the weather. In addition, mowing near a fence can be tricky.

Is a Fence a Good Idea?
Homeowners install fences for a variety of reasons. Sometimes fences make good neighbors, and sometimes they lead to disputes. There are also installation and maintenance costs to consider. Weigh all the pros and cons and talk to your neighbor.