Good fences make good neighbors. Privacy and security are the usual reasons to install one, but the type of fence you choose will also play a key role in your home’s exterior aesthetics.
Here in Vermont, a good fence is one that can withstand the freezing and thawing cycle of the soil. Fences typically do not have concrete footings below the frost line (60 inches deep) to support them, so it’s essential to use the best installation method to minimize movement and ensure your fence will last a long time. We recommend using a gravel base under and around the posts. Pouring concrete can get you into trouble here in New England, because as the ground freezes and thaws, the soil moves, causing the fence to heave and rack within a few years.
Make sure you check your town’s regulations for fencing before settling for a style or material. Some towns have particular rules about setbacks so maintenance can be provided on both sides of the fence without entering the adjacent property. They also require that the finished side of the fence faces the neighbors and the public street. Fences placed within a Clear Sight Triangle along driveways and at street intersections, or between an existing building and the front property line, can’t be higher than 3 feet above the curb, so they don’t block the view for pedestrians and drivers. Styles, materials, and dimensions of the proposed fence need to be compatible with the context of the neighborhood and the use of the property.