If you have a noisy neighbor, you already know that a 6-foot privacy fence is not enough. The solution? An 8 foot privacy fence. But maybe the reason you’re wondering about the height of your fence isn’t privacy. Maybe you just want to stay on the right side of the law, or it’s possible you have a dog or other animals in your yard.
So you’re wondering…how high should my fence be? And how high can I really go without getting in trouble with the city?
While there is no set height for residential fences, most cities limit fence heights to 6 feet. The limit is usually 4 feet for front yards and 6 feet for backyards. A permit or waiver is required to build a fence over 6 feet. The ideal height for a privacy fence is 8 feet to completely block your neighbor’s view. Actual fence height requirements vary by municipality.
In addition, when installing a fence, the homeowner should ensure that it is done safely and will not affect the adjacent property (e.g. your neighbor’s house). In addition, it is important that your fence is not too high so that it does not block the view of vehicular traffic at the intersection.
But before we overwhelm ourselves… Let’s take a look at what our purpose for installing a fence is and what our real limitations are.
- Common fence heights
- Do I need a permit to install a fence?
- Height Limits for Front and Back Yard Fences (by State)
- How high can a privacy fence be?
- How high can a front yard fence be?
- How high can a garden fence be?
- How high can a neighbor’s fence be?
- How high can a vinyl fence be?
- How high can a chain link fence be?
- How high should a dog fence be?
- How high should a chicken fence be?
- So what is the ideal fence height?
Common fence heights
A fence in your front yard is limited to 3 feet. Whether you live in Houston or Los Angeles, this is true of many cities in the US. Backyard fences have a 6 foot limit while pool fences are limited to 4 feet.
Finally there is a deer fence limited to 8 feet. Installation is recommended for goats a 4 to 5 foot high fence. That is, of course, if you have goats in your yard.
If you have horses, your fence should be 45-60 inches off the ground. But instead of assuming you have several acres for horses, (wouldn’t that be nice?) Let’s get back to the regular dorm requirements.
Do I need a permit to install a fence?
In most cases, no permit is required to install or repair a fence. However, a permit may be required for fences taller than 6 feet. If you want to build a fence taller than two meters, some municipalities not only require you to obtain a permit, but also apply for a derogation.
A derogation is required when a homeowner intends to change the proposed use of their property that differs from local zoning laws designed to protect nearby property values.
If this is granted, you can waive some aspects of zoning laws and regulations for your fence. Finally, the installation of the fence can be done by a contractor or the homeowner as there is no rule as to who installs it. The only factor that matters is that it conforms to the code.
Height Limits for Front and Back Yard Fences (by State)
|federal state||Height limit for the front yard fence||Height limit for backyard fences|
|California||6 feet (2 extra feet for barbed wire)||6 feet|
|Connecticut||6-6½ feet||6 feet|
|Florida||4 feet||6 feet|
|Georgia||4 feet||6 feet|
|New Jersey||4 feet||6 feet|
|new York||4 feet||10 foot|
|Pennsylvania||4-6 feet||6 feet|
|Texas||4 feet||8 feet|
*Remember that these are just general rules for most cities in each state. Actual fence height requirements vary by municipality. For example, in Bristol, CT the height limit for the front yard is 6ft 6in, while other areas in CT only allow a 6ft fence.
How high can a privacy fence be?
If you are installing a privacy fence and want to block your neighbor’s view, you can go up between 6 and 8 feet. We recommend building an 8ft fence as sometimes a 6ft fence is not enough to block the view.
One thing that can stand in your way, however, is municipal regulations. For example, in some cities you need to get drawings with engineer stamps. As a rule, these drawings contain what material to use and how to install the fence.
In some cases, your city requires a more rigorous inspection process. Your contractor may need to make multiple visits, adding to the time and expense of constructing the fence.
However, keep in mind that some municipalities will not allow you to build 8-foot fences at all. For example, in my hometown of Paramus, New Jersey, in the backyard and along side yard lines, a fence can be no more than 6 feet 6 inches high.
How high can a front yard fence be?
A front yard fence is usually limited to 4 feet or 48 inches. In some cities, the fence may not be less than 50% open, as with picket fences and post or rail fences. Also, some cities do not allow the installation of chain link fencing for the front yard.
Why are you not allowed to have a fence above a certain height in your front yard or garden? Easy. Other neighbors may complain that you are blocking their view of their home.
Or your yard might be so big that someone turning off the side street next to your house can’t see oncoming traffic. That’s a potential accident waiting to happen. All this and more points will be discussed in the next video:
The general idea is that a front yard fence should be shorter than a backyard fence. But, although you might think so, the reason has nothing to do with the aesthetics of your neighborhood.
What if I have trees next to my fence?
Trees are slowly allowed to be higher than fences. But in general your trees will be made to about the same standards as your actual fence. If your trees are interfering with your neighbor’s enjoyment of their property, they may complain and prompt you to prune them or remove them altogether.
On the other hand, if your trees don’t obscure traffic and your neighbor doesn’t complain, you might be allowed to keep them. But if an inspector from your town comes by, chances are you’ll be fined. There is no loophole here, and you will likely need to prune your trees or bushes.
How high can a garden fence be?
A shorter 3-4 foot fence is ideal for fencing a yard. With this short fence, your beautiful garden can still be seen by passers-by. Typically, you should opt for a vinyl picket fence or an aluminum fence for your garden. To avoid animals attacking your yard, choose solid vinyl or a wooden fence instead.
For the best look, choose a bamboo fence. It acts as an extension of your garden, giving it an organic look.
How high can a neighbor’s fence be?
The same rules apply here. The legal height for fencing between a neighbor’s home and your home is four feet for the front yard and six feet for the back yard. The maximum is definitely 6 feet all round, which means there isn’t an area of the neighbor’s house that can be higher.
Of course, if your neighbor applies for a permit or derogation and is approved, he or she can build a higher fence. But can my fence be higher than my neighbor’s? Safe if it meets the height requirements in your city. If your neighbor has a 4 foot fence and the maximum allowed height is 6 feet, you can have a 6 foot fence.
How high can a vinyl fence be?
Vinyl privacy fencing are heavy duty fencing and are available in 3ft, 4ft, 5ft, 6ft, 7ft, 8ft, 9ft high, 10ft high and 12ft high. There are also 16-foot-tall privacy fences, but such tall fences are typically only installed in recreational locations such as public parks. It is very rare that you can install such a high fence around your house.
Chain link fences come in different heights. The most common are 36, 42, 48, 60 and 72 inches. However, check your local zoning laws to ensure you can install a fence over 6 feet. Chain link fences are a smart investment and can be used to keep your pets in. But if you live near a school, you might want a wooden fence.
While chain link fences are good for dogs and other pets, laws in certain states like Massachusetts state that you can be responsible for any injuries your pet causes to children walking home from school. A wooden fence will block your dog’s ability to see children crossing, or the children will notice the pet and approach them.
How high should a dog fence be?
Install a 6 foot high fence for large dogs, especially if your dog is known to jump often. For small dogs, a 3.5 to 4 foot high fence is more than enough. As a rule of thumb, your fence should be three times your dog’s shoulder height.
To the Chihuahuas and pugs, a 3 foot fence is ideal. To the beagles, a 4 foot fence. To the Border Collies, Labradors and German Shepherds, you get a 6 foot fence. To the Saint Bernard or Great Danewe recommend a fence of 8 feet.
How high should a chicken fence be?
Fences should be 6 feet high to keep chickens inside and deter other animals from getting close to them. Fences also need to be buried at least 6 inches into the ground to prevent chickens from escaping underneath. Choose a sturdy fence like a chain link fence with smaller holes.
So what is the ideal fence height?
Although it depends on your intended use, we have learned that a 6ft fence is most commonly used for residential purposes. In some states, you might be able to get away with an 8-foot (or even higher) fence.
In areas like New York City, the maximum allowable fence height is only 4 feet (in lower-density areas). We’ve learned that if your fence was built a certain year ago, the height requirement is slightly higher.
Based on our research, we also determined that you may not need to meet the exact requirements as long as you make what is known as significant service or have a good faith belief to meet the requirement. As long as the fence you build conforms mostly to local laws, you can make your point even if it’s not the right height.
To find out what you can get away with, visit your municipality’s website and look up the fence regulations. Alternatively, you can do a google search with your city name and “fence requirements” and you will likely find the ecode360.com database.