There's more than one way to build a privacy fence. In fact, you'd probably be…
Before the fence installation process begins, you need to consider fence placement. In most fence setups, there is a “good” side and a “bad” side. The side of the fence with flat pickets is considered the good side, and the one with the support beams is considered the bad side. Which side of the fence should face your yard? Here’s the answer…
Which side of the fence should face your yard? – The Good Side Faces Out
As a general rule of thumb, the “pretty” side of the fence faces outward. The side with the rails and posts will be visible inside your yard, and the smooth side will face your neighbors, the street or the alley. There are several reasons for this:
- If your fence faces a street, it will look much better with the smooth side out.
- Putting the rails on the outside of the fence would make it easy for people to climb up and over. This would be a major safety concern.
- Giving your neighbors the pretty side of the fence is considered good etiquette. It’s a compromise – I’m putting up a barrier that connects to your property, but you get the good side to look at.
- Gate latches are easier to install on the railed side of the fence.
- If your fence gets damaged in the future, you will be able to see the evidence better with the railed side facing in.
- If you have dogs or children in the yard next to you, they will not be able to climb over the fence with the smooth side. They will also have a hard time pushing the fence posts. On the railed side, you could pop a picket out if you pushed hard enough with an outward force.
The list goes on and on, but the simplest answer is to put the railings facing your yard. This creates a durable, sturdy frame that adds protection and value to your property.
Exceptions to the Rule
As with anything, there are some exceptions to the rule. For instance, if the two neighbors next to you have already installed privacy fences, you may have the finished sides of both their fences facing you. At that point, it would look more cohesive to connect them with a smooth wall of fencing. If the back of your home faces an alley, having the railings on the other side won’t take away from your home’s aesthetics. You just need to think about the security threat it may create.
Some fence styles do not have a good or bad side. These are considered “semi-private fences” because there is a small gap between the pickets. One picket goes on one side and the other goes on the next. People walking by can see through the fencing slightly, more so than they would with a complete privacy fence. This is usually not a good fit for people with immediate neighbors.
Discuss your options with your fence installers upfront so they can help you pick the best setup for your home and which side of the fence should face your yard.
Talk to Your Neighbors before Installing a Fence
It’s always best to talk to your neighbors before figuring out fence placement and installing a fence, especially if your properties sit right next to each other. You may be able to split the cost of the fencing that connects to their yard. You may also convince your neighbor to get a fence at the same time, saving you money in installation costs. If there are any discrepancies about property lines, you will need to work those out before the fence is installed. Most neighbors will be more than happy to work with you, and if not, your fence company can speak to your neighbors for you.