Many people, especially those who live in close neighborhoods, enjoy sitting outside, but do not enjoy the feeling of being in a fishbowl. Putting up a privacy fence takes care of this problem. Most laws about privacy fences vary from state to state, but for the most part, the regulations are the same. Check with your homeowners' association, if you have one, for additional rules regarding privacy fences.

Be sure to follow all the rules of building a fence.


Check with the zone codes where you live. Some zones can have privacy fences that are only 4 to 6 feet tall, with the 4-foot height in the front yard and the 6-foot height in the back yard. If your particular zone allows a privacy fence that is not as tall as you would like, consider planting trees, shrubs, or other bushes that grow taller than the allowed height of a fence.

Front Yard Fencing

Keep the fence in the front yard 30 percent open.


When building a privacy fence, build with the nicer looking, or finished, side facing out. You could build a fence with two finished sides, hiding the posts in the middle so that both you and your neighbor see only the "good" side of the fence.


If you are building a privacy fence, you must build it on your property. Do not build it on the property line. If a previous fence, that you want to tear down, is on the property line, you must get permission from the sharing neighbors to rebuild. Most regulations for building a fence on your property require you to build it 6 to 12 inches within your property line.


While many fences are wood, there are other types of materials, such as chain link or split rail. Check with your homeowners' association about the types of materials you can use. It may not be against the laws of the state to put up a chain link or split rail fence, but it may be against the homeowners' association rules.


Get a permit from your city or county to build the fence. Get a required permit if you plan to build your fence within 30 feet of any public right of way. File for the permit if you are building the fence yourself. If a contractor is building the fence, make sure he or she has taken care of getting the permit.