Thinking of building a fence? You must first identify your needs, check municipal standards and regulations, choose the location of the structure, the fence model, and the materials. And agree with your neighbor to share the costs, if possible.
Identify your needs
Well planned, the construction of a fence is a simple and quick project to carry out. However, it is necessary to define what will be used, check the municipal regulations, and determine the location before choosing and building a foundation for your fence.
What will the fence be used for?
- Privacy: when the backyard is close to the neighbor or is located on a busy street, solid panels or very small lattices are suitable. This allows you to hide an unpleasant view or to preserve your privacy.
- Security: High traffic areas or less secure neighborhoods favor high fences that do not contain horizontal uprights. If you have children, this also allows them to be more secure.
- Animals: Determine how high your animal jumps and choose the panel’s height accordingly. Avoid fences with spikes or pointed shapes on top.
- Pool: In some provinces, including Quebec, it is mandatory to fence the area around a pool. Check the standards with your municipality.
- Climate: in a region prone to high winds, a fence can be useful to protect against it. Choose a fence with solid foundations (sonotubes) and posts close together. However, avoid solid panels over 6′ wide, and make sure the model lets air circulate.
- Nuisance protection: A fence is useful in cases where there is a lot of noise and dust from busy streets or boulevards. Choose a high, opaque fence (ideally with wooden planks on both sides).
Check the municipal regulations.
You must also take note of the municipal standards and regulations concerning the minimum and maximum height, the distance separating the fence from the residences, the models, and the authorized materials. Finally, check if obtaining a permit is necessary.
Determine the location
First, check if you can split the costs with your neighbor. If it is negative, install the structure on your land, making sure that you are, of course, your property.
Indicate the limits of your land and measure the total length to be covered. Mark the location on the ground using stakes and rope and determine the total length to be covered. Caution: on sloping ground, the fence is installed in stages; it is, therefore, necessary to measure horizontally, to obtain the exact length. Plan the location of access to the yard, gates, and doors.
There are two categories of fence panels:
- Standard in shape.
- Meaning straight with or without the traditional latticework above, or elaborate, with arches.
- Openings that allow light to pass through.
The width of the fence panels is usually 4′, 6′ or, more commonly, 8′. The nature of the ground will determine the space between the panels (sloping or not) and the climatic conditions of the place (e.g., strong winds). Choose a fence with posts close together in places prone to high winds.
The standard height is 6′. However, a fence installed around a swimming pool is lower and not opaque (question to see the children well). A fence installed in an unsafe place can however be higher, up to 8′.
The ready-to-install fence sections represent a quick solution; they are simple to assemble, good quality, inexpensive, and available in different models.
These models include all the necessary pieces of wood and, sometimes, accessories (caps for the posts, for example), in addition to the instructions which are easy to follow. Hardware, however, is sold separately.
Color and finish
Colors vary a lot depending on the type of material used. However, the most popular colors blend well with the landscaping of the yard (e.g., green, brown, natural wood color).
A wooden fence offers many possibilities. It can be painted, stained, or varnished. The color choices are very wide when building a treated wood fence.
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