What's the Right Fence Height?

What's the Right Fence Height?

Posted in: Fencing

Many factors go into finding the right fence: the material you choose to use, the accessories you want for your fence, how long you want your fence to last, where you want to put your fence, etc. But what often gets overlooked is choosing the right height for the fence. Whether you want a grand and tall aluminum or wrought iron fence or an unimposing yet welcoming picket fence, the height plays an important role in the fence’s look and function. 

Three main factors determine the height of a fence: the style of the fence, the purpose of the fence, and the local regulations. Of course, your taste and the needs of your property play a role as well, but these three questions will help guide you to making the right decision.

At Long Fence, we care about giving you all the tools you need to find the right fence for your property. If you need additional help, don’t hesitate to call us. Our professionals would be happy to assist you. 

Finding the right style

A good fence doesn’t just blend into a property; it plays an essential role in creating a consistent style and adding to the beauty of your home. Different factors have a big influence on the style. A dark wooden fence might lend a house the stoic beauty of a missionary or Frank Lloyd Wright home, whereas a white vinyl picket fence might give a home a quaint, colonial feel. 

The material and color both play a role in the fence, but the fence height is equality important. A high wooden fence might appear austere, while the same fence at a shorter height might appear inviting. Though there are always exceptions, fences of all sorts generally follow a similar pattern: high fences are generally seen as imposing and grandiose, while shorter fences are friendly and welcoming. Keep the intended style of your fence in mind as we explore the purpose of the fence. 

Determining the purpose of your fence

Every fence has a purpose. Some people choose to fence in their yards to protect themselves from trespassers or protect their garden from deer and other animals. Some people choose to fence their yards to keep pets or young children from escaping. Still others are simply looking to add to the beauty of their property, or simply to provide a definitive boundary to their land. 

The purpose of the fence goes a long way toward determining how high to build a fence. Once you clearly define the purpose, you’ll be better equipped to determine the height you want to build your fence. Remember, however, that the ultimate height also depends on your individual property and local regulations. If you need additional advice on choosing the right fence height, call us today! Our team of qualified experts is ready to walk you through the process of determining the perfect height.

Property boundary fence height

Your primary goal may simply be to set up a fence to separate your property from the outside. If you have a large amount of land, a boundary fence is an excellent step toward claiming the land as your own and preventing trespassers, horseback riders, or hikers from making inroads into your property. Even if you don’t own a large property, a short property fence might be the right choice, helping you set up a clear boundary between your backyard and that of your neighbors. 

A boundary fence is typically short, anywhere from 3- to 6-feet high. On a large piece of mostly undeveloped land, a 3-foot fence is typically sufficient. On a smaller, suburban property, a 3-foot fence in the front adds beauty to your front yard and can separate your yard from the next. In the back, 6 feet is an appropriate height for a fence if setting up a boundary is your primary goal. Of course, since property boundary fences often have few height restrictions, you may also want to consider the style and look of the fence when determining fence height. 

Privacy fence height

Oftentimes, people build a fence not just to define their property, but also to provide their home and family with a degree of privacy. Many people value the ability to spend time in their yard and relax without the feeling that others may be watching their every move. If privacy is your main goal, you’ll want a fence that is at least 6-feet high to prevent nosy neighbors or curious passers-by from peeking in. To be extra safe, choose a 7- or 8-foot high fence. Before you start building, however, double-check that local regulations allow you to build a fence to this height. 

The right material is also important when choosing a privacy fence. A solid wood or vinyl fence provides more privacy than an aluminum or chain-link fence, though privacy panels may also be used. A solid vinyl fence is also the ideal choice for homeowners who want to reduce the noise coming into their yard. Choosing a high-privacy material, however, is pointless if the fence is short enough to allow people to look over the top of the fence. 

Keeping animals and trespassers out

Fences are also an important means of keeping out unwanted animal and human visitors. Most animals, including deer, are deterred by a 6-foot fence. White-tailed deer are capable of jumping up to 8-feet high, so if white-tailed deer are a problem in your neighborhood, consider installing an 8-foot high fence. Also be sure to install a solid vinyl or wood fence, as many animals can slip through or under an aluminum, wrought iron, or picket fence. 

Humans are more difficult to predict. A 6-foot fence will keep out most casual trespassers, but a determined burglar might be able to hop an 8-foot fence. Accessories such as pointed edges on the tops of an aluminum fence might be an investment to consider. However, be sure not to rely solely on your fence. Implement a comprehensive security system at your home to protect your property against burglars. 

Keeping pets and young children in

Many of our clients build a fence to keep loved ones from wandering off the property. Families want to be able to relax in their yards with their children and pets, without having to constantly watch them to make sure they don’t run off. A proper-sized fence allows them to let their children and pets play freely without constant supervision. 

If this is your primary goal, a simple aluminum or vinyl fence may do the trick, so long as you are sure it is high enough to keep your pets or children from climbing over it. A 4-foot fence is typically high enough to keep most dogs from jumping over it, but larger and more active breeds may need a 6-foot fence. For young children, a 4- to 6-foot fence is typically a safe bet. 

Pool fence height

Because of the drowning danger pools carry with them, pool fences are especially important and highly regulated. Even if you do not have any children or poor swimmers in your household, a pool fence is sometimes required by law to prevent a stranger from entering your property and falling into your pool. It also helps protect you from liability should an accident occur. 

Pool fences are typically 4-feet high but may vary based on location. They also have various other requirements designed to prevent young children from being able to climb over or slip under them. Gates must be self-closing and self-latching. If the fence is aluminum, the pickets must be less than 4 inches apart, and if the fence is chain-link, the holes must be no wider than 1.75 inches. Before installing a pool fence, double-check all local ordinances and pool code. 

Garden fence height

Clients who want to fence in a garden typically choose a shorter fence – about 3-4 feet. This allows them to show off the hard work they’ve put into cultivating their garden and allows visitors and passers-by to enjoy the foliage inside. An aluminum or vinyl picket fence is a popular choice for the same reason, but if you want to keep small animals such as skunks or rabbits out, you may prefer a solid vinyl or wooden fence.

Some people choose to install a solid bamboo fence, which adds natural beauty to the garden. A bamboo fence feels like an extension rather than a boundary to foliage and flowers. Certain kinds of fences, including bamboo and wood, can act as trellises for climbing vines, which also gives the fence an organic look. 

Local regulations on fence height

Before you get your heart set on any one fence material or fence height, be sure you are complying with all local regulations. Some neighborhood associations and city ordinances dictate that fences cannot be below or above a certain height. You wouldn’t want to have an 8-foot high vinyl fence installed only to have to take it down a month later because it doesn’t comply with a regulation. All it takes is a few clicks or a phone call, and you can make sure your fence complies with the law. 

Fence height for municipal facilities

Municipal facilities often have their own regulations regarding height. Though municipal fences should look professional and add to the beauty of parks and public property, their primary goal is safety. Fences around parks and pools, for instance, have the goal of keeping young children safe and preventing trespassers from entering during off-hours. Typically, a fence of 4 to 6 feet is a proper height, unless otherwise specified by local codes and regulations. 

Fence height for businesses and retail stores

Fence height regulations are typically similar for retail stores and small businesses as they are for homeowners. For retail stores, business owners must balance a need to protect their property with the desire to attract new consumers. For example, a tall chain-link fence may be economical and stop potential burglars, but it may also appear unwelcoming to passers-by. A short, picket fence that customers find appealing, however, might invite trespassers and burglars after hours. 

A fence should not be the only thing between your property and a burglar. A detailed security system should also be in place. However, investing in a beautiful, aluminum or vinyl fence that is at least 6-feet high is a smart thing to do. Of course, consider your company’s individual needs and local ordinances first, but a 6-foot high solid fence may be enough to protect your property at night while not deterring customers during the day. 

About the Author

Brett Crouse