Why Pick a Good Neighbor Fence
When looking for the perfect fence for your yard, you may feel overwhelmed by the many shapes, sizes, designs, and regulations. You may have learned, for example, that it is customary to build a fence with the “good side” facing away from your property, so as to not cause blight to neighboring properties or to your neighborhood. Maybe that struck you as odd—what about the visual landscape of your own yard or property? Here’s where an ingenious solution comes in: the “good neighbor fence" aka the board-on-board fence.
You may have heard the good neighbor fence called by other names. It is also called a board-on-board fence or a shadowbox fence. It is a popular partial-privacy fence that is visually appealing on both sides, meaning that it is pleasing to look at from both your property and your neighbors’ property.
Typically, a fence will feature posts and stringers facing in towards your yard. However, a good neighbor fence is built to look exactly the same on both sides. Instead, the posts and stringers are inside alternating fence slats. While this fence is not a standard privacy fence with boards hinged together, this fence offers a great deal of privacy as the gaps between boards are narrow and very difficult to see through. Rather, it creates privacy while also establishing a feel of openness and allowing light to pass through the fence.
Good neighbor fences are perfect when you are planning for a fence that is positioned on or near a neighbor’s property line. Both neighbors can reap the benefits of the fence without having to compromise. No one gets the “bad side” of the fence – you both get the good side. A good neighbor fence sounds pretty good, right? Let’s cover the details so you know exactly what to expect from a good neighbor or shadowbox fence.
Installing a Good Neighbor Fence
Good neighbor fences arrive as pre-packaged, wooden panels. The fence is constructed into a staggered arrangement of boards, with pickets fixed on each side. Good neighbor fences are easy and quick to install. During installation, it’s important to ensure that all the boards are set the same way on either side, and that the boards on each side cover the gaps created by the boards on the other side.
If you live in an area that is prone to storms or dangerous weather patterns, it’s important to take into consideration durability when selecting a fence. Because good neighbor fences aren’t solid – they have gaps between boards – wind can pass through the fence slats rather than directly pushing or forcing a fence to the ground.
Though good neighbor fences are resistant to storm damage because they allow air to move through them, they are also popular for their general durability. Good neighbor fences are known for long lifespans. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the fence’s alternating pickets evenly distribute weight across the rails. This prevents sagging and decay over time. Good neighbor fences also have plenty of wood options, so you have the option of choosing pressure-treated wood that will further guarantee durability.
Good Neighbor Fence Materials and Design
Good neighbor fences are designed with one of the four most common board styles in mind. These board styles include straight, dog ear, French Gothic and Gothic. Each design gives the fence a different look, giving you the opportunity to choose the perfect aesthetic for your property or taste.
The vast majority of good neighbor fences are made of cypress, fir, spruce, redwood, red cedar, white cedar, or pine. Each type of wood holds a different value in terms of durability and aesthetic choice. We suggest choosing cedar pickets and rails over pine, as pine tends to warp or bow over time. Cedar or cypress woods, on the other hand, are highly durable. It is resistant to insects, because it contains natural insect-resistant chemicals or oils. Cedar and cypress woods are also rot-resistant. Redwood is a particularly durable, high-quality wood, but it is more expensive than other types of wood.
Good neighbor fences are easily customizable and versatile. They come in a number of woods, styles, and finishes. This allows you to properly match the style, color, and design of your fence to your home, neighborhood, or garden. You also have the option of expanding the pickets on your fence past the top rail in order to give it a sturdier look. Or, you can choose to add a lattice top by shortening the pickets and attaching a lattice, forgoing the traditional top rail. Good neighbor fences are generally installed with 1x6” pickets and a 4” space in-between. The height is entirely customizable, but privacy fences typically range between 6 and 8 feet high.
Good neighbor fences are classified as semi-private fences, meaning that the pickets conceal your property from passersby, but still allow light to shine through cracks and allow fleeting glimpses of your yard to walkers or neighbors. Wood and light work together to create an appealing design, thus giving the fence type the name “shadowbox fence” as well.
Shadowbox fences are strong choices for fences placed proximate to a property line or in the front yard, as they look more visually appealing than looking out your front window to the “back” of the fence.
Benefits of a Good Neighbor Fence
There are so many benefits of a good neighbor fence, it’s difficult to sum them up. Good neighbor fences are visually appealing not only to you but also to onlookers and neighbors, making them perfect for individuals looking to be a “good neighbor.” They also provide the security of a semi-private fence, keeping your children, pets, and property out of eyeshot of passersby or neighbors, while still offering an open and inviting feel to neighbors. Good neighbor fences are highly customizable, allowing you to choose the height, wood, color, and design of the fence to perfectly match your space. They are highly durable, attractive, and weather resistant. They’re easy to install and care for. Good neighbor fences are a great choice for a wide range of properties. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect fence, you may have just found it.