Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Does Your Area Have "Good Neighbor" Fences?

Does Your Area Have "Good Neighbor" Fences?

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?

 

26 commentsDonna Harris • July 30 2008 10:39AM

Comments

I spent some time in Houston at a relatives house after hurricane Katrina.  I noticed how the fences were put together.  I had forgotten about them until now.

Posted by John Walters, Licensed in Louisiana (Frank Rubi Real Estate) over 5 years ago

We built a good neighbor fence in Stayton Oregon. I put it up my self, but my neighbors all paid for their half. I thought it looked great... I was happy with it.

Posted by Travis Newton, FHA, USDA, VA, LOAN EXPERT - Salem OR Homes For Heroes SALEM OREGON (Salem and Bend Oregon FHA, VA & USDA 503.931.4490) over 5 years ago

Donna, while visiting my son in Texas the other week I noticed lots of these fences everywhere...I am not a big fan of the huge privacy fence.  There it was just another common fixture to the home.

Posted by Dennis G. Blanton, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate) over 5 years ago

I built a BIG fence to contain my pets.  All the runners need to be on the inside.  Mine runs with the ground and was built picket by picket.  It took me 3 days to run about 400 feet.

Posted by Rebecca Schrader (Competitive Insurance of Dundee) over 5 years ago

These fences are often seen in new developments. Builders do this a lot so that neither neighbor owns the whole fence. You 'own' the side that looks finished on your property line. Your neighbor owns the other side. I think they do this so when it eventually has to be replaced both parties will share in the expense, That way they get replaced sooner I guess. Also if they are all like this then the neighborhood will look consistant. Personally I have an eight foot fence and paid for the whole thing myself. It was worth every penny! Good fences make good neighbors!

Betina

Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E. Selling Homes in Lake Travis & Central Austin! (512-771-6318 Austin Home Girls Realty) over 5 years ago

Yes inside runners are a requirement of our HOA too.  Stain too.

Posted by Randall Schrader (Competitive Insurance of Dundee) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty,Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes - (Lizette Realty - Lexington KY - Richmond KY) over 5 years ago

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!!

Posted by Janis Olson, RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay, 609-276-1741 (RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay 609-978-4046 ext: 5114) over 5 years ago

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

 

Posted by South Beaches Real Estate Team (South Beaches Real Estate Professionals) over 5 years ago

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!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 5 years ago

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.

 

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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

Posted by Michael Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc.) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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."

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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.  :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) over 5 years ago

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

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Homes (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 5 years ago

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

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

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

Posted by Debbie Summers, MoveToLakeMary.com or 407-758-1020 (Charles Rutenberg Realty - Orlando, Florida) over 5 years ago

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.

Posted by Tracie Mason, Holton, Coach & Virtual Assistant (Agent Assistant Network) over 5 years ago

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?

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin (Regent Property Group) over 5 years ago

Participate