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How Close To The Sidewalk Can I Build A Fence?

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In many neighborhoods, homes are built right up to the sidewalk. It can even create some challenges when it comes to fencing. How close to the sidewalk can you legally build a fence? Luckily, we did research about this matter to help you with fence installation at home.

When it comes to fences, there are some important considerations to keep in mind, especially when it comes to proximity to sidewalks and property lines. In general, it's best to build your fence 2 to 8 inches away from these boundaries. This will give your fence a nice, clean look and help to prevent damage to the sidewalk or property line.

To learn more about installing fences near sidewalks, keep reading. Besides that, see how you can keep your fence installation process in legal and safe way.

A picket fence next to a sidewalk, How Close To The Sidewalk Can I Build A Fence?

How Close to the Sidewalk Can You Build a Fence?

Elegant white garden fence and gate with pink roses, salvia, catmint, lady's mantle flowers and bushes bordering house entrance.

Fences are an effective way to add privacy and security to your property, but it is important to ensure that they are built correctly. One common question is how close a fence can be built to the sidewalk. The answer largely depends on the municipality, but in most cases, fences should be built 2 to 8 inches from property lines and sidewalks.

This assures that there is enough space for pedestrians to pass by safely, and it also helps to prevent damage to the fence itself. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the fence is not too close to your home, as this could create drainage or root growth problems.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your fence is both safe and effective.

Considerations for a Fence Built Near a Sidewalk

When it comes to building a fence, there are a few things to keep in mind. Fences also come with a host of regulations that must be followed in order to ensure compliance with local laws. 

  1. First, you'll need to check with your local municipality to see if any zoning restrictions apply to your property.
  2. Second, it's important to consider the purpose of the fence. If you're looking to add privacy to your home, you may want to build a taller fence further away from the sidewalk. However, if you're simply trying to define your property line, a shorter fence closer to the sidewalk may be sufficient.
  3. Finally, keep in mind that most municipalities have regulations about how close to the sidewalk you can build a fence.

Benefits of Space Between the Fence and Sidewalk

New Cedar Wood Fence around home backyard property landscaping

When it comes to fencing, there are a lot of things to consider. One important thing to consider is the amount of space you leave between the fence and the sidewalk. Some individuals might not think this is a big deal, but there are actually several benefits to providing space between the fence and sidewalk. Here are just a few of them:

1. It Helps Prevent Soil Erosion

When rainwater runs off of a hard surface like concrete, it can cause soil erosion. By leaving space between the fence and sidewalk, you allow rainwater to seep into the ground instead of running off. This can help to prevent soil erosion and keep your yard looking nice.

2. It Gives Plants Room to Grow

Plants need room to grow roots, and if you don't leave enough space between the fence and sidewalk, they might not have enough room. By giving them some extra space, you're giving them a better chance to thrive.

3. It Makes Your Yard Appear Spacious

If everything in your yard is crammed together, it can make the whole area look smaller than it really is. Leaving some space between the fence and sidewalk can create the illusion of a larger yard, which can be especially beneficial if you have a small yard, to begin with.

4. It Helps Prevent Fence Damage

If the fence has a small gap in the sidewalk, it's more likely to get damaged. By leaving some space between them, you're helping to protect your investment and keeping your fence looking good for longer.

5. It Helps Prevent Trip Hazards

People could trip and fall if the fence is very close to the sidewalk. By leaving space between the fence and sidewalk, you're helping prevent accidents and keep people safe.

Can a Homeowner Be Penalized for Having a Fence Too Close to the Sidewalk? 

In many cities, property owners are required to maintain a certain setback from the sidewalk. The setback distance typically ensures that pedestrians have a safe walking area and prevents obstacles from blocking drivers' views. As a result, homeowners who erect fences or other structures too close to the sidewalk may be subject to fines or other penalties. 

In some cases, they may even be required to remove the offending structure. However, it is important to note that setback requirements can vary from city to city. As such, homeowners should check with their local code enforcement office before they erect any new structures on their property.

Can You Build a Fence Around Your Entire Property?

Two skilled construction manual workers installing a wooden fence.

Fences are a common sight in neighborhoods across the country. They provide privacy, security, and a sense of boundaries for homeowners. But how far can you really go with fencing on your property? 

You can build a fence around your entire property if you so choose. There are a few exceptions, such as areas designated as wetlands or historical landmarks, but for the most part, you have the freedom to build a fence that meets your needs. 

Of course, there are also some practical considerations to keep in mind. Fencing material and labor can be expensive, and you may need to obtain permission from your local HOA or municipality before beginning construction. But fencing on your property is a great way to do it if you're looking to create a private oasis.

Do I Need a Permit to Put a Fence Around My Yard?

Wooden fence painted yellow with a stone base

Fences are a common sight in residential neighborhoods, but before you install one around your property, it's important to check your local zoning regulations.

In many cases, you will need to obtain a permit before erecting a fence. The process for doing so may vary depending on your location, but it typically involves submitting a set of plans to your city or county planning department.

Once your application is approved, you will be issued a permit that will allow you to proceed with construction. But remember, there may be additional requirements, such as obtaining a surety bond or posting a sign indicating that the fence is under construction.

However, following the permit process is typically the best way to ensure that your new fence meets all the legal requirements.

It also depends on several factors, including the fence's:

  • size
  • height
  • material
  • and purpose.

But then, you will not need a permit if the fence is less than six feet tall and made from standard materials such as wood or chain link. However, if you're planning on using unusual materials or building a taller fence, it's always best to check with your local zoning office first to be sure.

With a little bit of research, you can be sure that you're fencing your property in compliance with all applicable laws.

Can I Get a Permit to DIY Install a Fence, or Do I Have to Hire a Contractor?

Depending on your city and state regulations, you may be able to pull a permit for a fence installation yourself. However, hiring a professional fencing contractor has several advantages.

  1. First, they will be familiar with the permitting process and will be able to pull the appropriate permits for you.
  2. Second, they will have the necessary equipment and expertise to install the fence correctly.
  3. Finally, hiring a contractor will protect you from liability in case of any accidents or injuries that occur during the installation process.

Ultimately, deciding whether to hire a contractor or pull a permit yourself depends on your experience level and comfort with the project. If you're unsure, it's always best to err on the side of caution and hire a professional.

Final Thoughts

Homes on a wet morning with beautiful lawn.

A variety of factors must be checked when deciding how close to the sidewalk a fence can be built, including the type of fence, the municipality's zoning regulations, and whether or not the fence will block pedestrians' access to the sidewalk. If you are considering building a fence near a sidewalk, it is important to consult with your local government officials to find out what restrictions may apply. 

To get more ideas on adding a fence to your home, see our posts below:

How Much Space Between Fence Posts

13 Types Of Fences For Your Backyard

7 Best Paint Choices For A Wood Fence