Social Question

janbb's avatar

Do "good fences make good neighbors"?

Asked by janbb (51303points) July 18th, 2012

Neighbor #1 has just put in a mini-pool and erected a solid white plastic 8 foot fence around his backyard. (A fence is required but not that high.) Neighbor #2 has just replaced a solid stockade fence with one that is higher. I feel a bit “fenced in.” What’s your preference?

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27 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb Lady I’m a farm boy. What do you think my answer will be?

janbb's avatar

Guess you got to keep your cattle in!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb Oh god, that brought up a funny memory. My father and I were working on the roof of our new house when I was fairly young. He was a hunk. Huge shoulders, good looking and shirtless. A car pulled up in front of the house and this scantilly clad lady gets out of the car. She walks a little way on to the lawn and yells “Yohoo, your cows are out”. My mother just about went ballistic.

chyna's avatar

This is probably weird but I think when I’m in my back yard I want privacy. If I’m in the front yard, I don’t expect privacy, neighbors can stop by and chat, so a fence in the back is fine by me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb Every Spring we got out the fence posts, barbed wire, staples, and walked every mile of fence. We kept saws in the wagon to take care of limbs. That was so much fun.

filmfann's avatar

When I had my house in San Leandro, we had an old fence in the back that had a gate in it, allowing one to walk to the house behind me.
We were friendly with that family, and when the fence had to be replaced, I put a gate in again. They were very unhappy with that. I explained that we could have locks on both sides of the fence, and they agreed to let the gate stay.
It was quite odd.

Brian1946's avatar

Here in Los Angeles the R1 zoning laws require that a fence be no higher than 6 feet.


I don’t think that’s at all weird. Most of the properties here reflect that same philosophy with their minimal front fencing and substantial back fencing.

bkcunningham's avatar

We are governed by the Frosts’ elves who want the fences down. There are no fences allowed in my neighborhood, yet you can see the boundaries of properties through the cut of the grass. I’ve always thought it odd that the separate lawn services in my neighborhood mow agains the invisible boundaries in the yards. I think their instinct is defined from the elves.

CWOTUS's avatar

I like Frost’s original line, and I like the reasoning behind it (as I understand it): “Clearly defined boundaries” being “good fences”. But that doesn’t mean that “the better the fence, the better the neighbor”, does it?

Spite fences do not make good neighbors.

However, with that said, I can understand the desire for some to have more or better privacy, and given the geography of many neighborhoods, it may not be that it’s only you they want more privacy from. If they live on a slope, they could easily be trying for more privacy from the neighbor on your other side. I can’t see into my neighbor’s yard at all, but I can see into his neighbor’s yard (from some places in mine) almost perfectly.

Brian1946's avatar


There are no fences allowed in my neighborhood….

Not even for your backyards?

bkcunningham's avatar

My backyard is the second hole of a golf course, @Brian1946. No fences allowed anywhere in the entire community of some 80,000.

Bellatrix's avatar

We have wire fences of around 1200 high around most of our yard. So we can see into our neighbours’ yards if we want to. We are going to plant more native shrubs because we had to cut some back and it is a little too open now.

However, there is one section that is a section timber fencing that’s about 1800 high. My neighbour’s kitchen window is behind this fence. The previous occupant of our house used to like to wander around doing his garden duties in the nude. The problem was he was in his 70s and eventually the view when he bent over his wheelbarrow became too much for the elderly couple who used to live next door. So, the privacy fence was erected :-D

blueberry_kid's avatar

I hate fences. It makes me feel trapped and unwanted. NOT COOL.

Cruiser's avatar

I hate fences and prefer hedge rows.

Brian1946's avatar


We have wire fences of around 1200 high….

Is that in millimeters?

augustlan's avatar

I’m like @chyna. High fence in the back would be my preference, with no fence or only a decorative fence in the front. In my old neighborhood, they didn’t allow privacy fences. So we put up a white 3 rail farm fence, lined it with green wire on the inside (which is nearly invisible against the grass) to keep little kids in and dogs out, and planted a crap load of evergreens to make up for the lack of privacy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The high fences allow your neighbors (and now you!) to sunbathe in the nude. They gave you a gift.

ucme's avatar

Being an engishman, I erect a fence around my garden to claim this piece of land as my fucking own!!
I do hope no one takes of-fence, otherwise that would be theft, plain & simple.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Stockade fence neighbor said, “Now you can have your privacy” and I said “Yeah, for my naked hot tub parties.”

I like privacy too but looking out of my kitchen window at a wall of white plastic is a bit unpleasant.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Personally, I’d be happier with the high fences but then, I am not always known for my social skills!! The only thing that would bother me would be if it completely blocked any sunlight that my garden got before the fences arrived.

Shippy's avatar

I’d love that, saves me buying a fence for privacy!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@janbb It doesn’t have to remain white on your side. You can paint it (with permission) or have flowers growing up alongside it. If it faces to the south you can grow vegetables: pole beans, etc.
You’ve been given an empty canvas to enjoy! Now get out there in just your overalls and SPF-20 and enjoy!

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy have thought of a mural or grafitti or wall art on it!

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Good firewalls do.

Bellatrix's avatar

@Brian1946, yes. 1.2 and 1.8 metres.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’ve always loved that poem.

Having grown up in an an area where no one had fences and we children roamed freely, it was difficult getting used to purchasing a home with a fenced in back yard. It was later appreciated when becoming a foster parent to a dog and adding a fish pond that the neighbor’s young child might have wandered into if not supervised.

At the house in England, everyone around us has a fence around their garden (backyard). We had ours replaced earlier this year due to the neighbors behind us. They have a chicken coop right next to our shared property line. The chickens were bad enough, but when they attracted rats that occasionally showed up on our property, as well as other neighbors’, it was time to replace the fence with something more fortified.

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