Fence Etiquette: Who Gets the Good Side?

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When you get a new fence, you can’t just think about yourself—you have to consider your surrounding neighbors.  If the type of fence you want is permitted in your neighborhood, you may feel you have the green light to install it. However, your fence may be in your yard, but your neighbors are still going to see it every day from their yards or windows. There are a few rules of fence etiquette you should keep in mind before you go forward with the installation.

Make sure your property lines are defined

Do you know where your property begins and ends—and are you really sure about that? It’s a good idea to check your house’s plat, which is a drawing that maps out your land. If you’ve lost this document, you may be able to get it free from your county’s records office. You can also hire a land surveyor to clarify the borders of your property. Additionally, a surveyor can place stakes along the boundary, giving you a clearer idea of exactly where your fence can go.

Talk to your neighbor

Provided your fence is definitely within your property lines and complies with neighborhood regulations, you may not actually be required to talk to your neighbors about it. Still, it’s common courtesy to ask—and it could save you future legal trouble if it turns out your neighbor wants to dispute your fence. Besides, if it’s going to be a divider between your yards, that could actually be something your neighbor is considering, too! You might find that you and your neighbor can collaborate on the project—and split the cost.

Face the finished side of the fence toward your neighbor

Certain kinds of fences have a finished side or a “good” side that looks smoother and more polished than the side with the rails and posts showing. In particular, the solid panel fences often used for privacy are generally constructed like this. The finished side should face toward your neighbor. Not only is this more polite, but it’s the standard. Your property will look a lot nicer with the “good” side facing the outside world. Otherwise, your fence will look like it was installed backward.

However, many other types of fences look identical on both sides, and they’re often called “good neighbor fences” for this reason. You can install a double-sided privacy fence if you don’t like the way the inside of a fence looks. Double-sided fences are created with “sandwich construction,” which also makes them stronger.

Here are a couple good neighbor fences you can buy online:

Continually maintain your fence

Of course, you want your fence to look the best it can—you don’t want the paint to fade or chip, you want to keep your fence clean, and you don’t want your wood to rot. However, this really isn’t only for your own benefit—if your fence becomes an eyesore, your surrounding neighbors won’t be very happy. It could even affect their property value if they decide to sell. Only get a fence that you can keep looking great. If you can’t handle the maintenance for a wood fence, you should consider a lower-maintenance material like vinyl or aluminum. A darker colored fence will also show less dirt than a lighter one and not need to be cleaned as often.

If you follow these guidelines for fence etiquette, you’ll ultimately deal with a lot less stress and will find it easier to enjoy having a fence. Communicate with your immediate neighbors as you work on the project—don’t let it be an unpleasant surprise. You may discover that you’re surprised by how eager your neighbors are to cooperate and help you out.

Have any other neighborly advice for homeowners looking to install a new fence? Leave a comment below!


  • Andrea Holder says:

    I had neighbour come to me yesterday after he put his fences up and said legally you can not paint my fence touch my fence or put anything on it so don’t do it took us by surprise used to get on with them is this true please

  • Jeff says:

    Whoever pays for it gets the good side.

  • Dara says:

    If its my fence the good side should b in my yard then…..

    • Oscar says:

      I have the same problem with my neighbors Began to build my fence And my neighbor say She’s going to call the county because the good side is on her side I do not know what to do I’m going to stop doing my fence and wait what the county says.

      • Deb says:

        Do you live in an HOA community? If so, there may be rules pertaining to fencing. If not, call your county office and make your own inguiry. In our county, there is no such enforcement. Your neighbor wants the view of the pretty side.

    • Mark Stephens says:

      So is it alright for builders e.g to go in your Neighbours garden so you can have the nice side?

  • Charise says:

    They said the good side goes toward the outside or the neighbor. I’m trying to figure this out myself

  • Deb says:

    We decided on one neighbor side to install the fence six inches inside of our property line for maintenance purposes. We’ve had a renter throw his baseball against the fence, place his target on it to practice with his hunting bow and arrow, hang wet towels and garden hose. Even when we respectfully explain that the fence is owned by us and setback from the property line people choose to act as if the fence is on the property line, and ignore our requests to stay off the fencing. Unfortunately, there are now ugly and unfriendly No Tresspassing/Private Property signs posted. We’ve had the signs ripped out of the fence. Those renters, well, let’s say they were finally asked to leave. That house is now AirBnB.
    We decided to put the “good side” facing us for several reasons. First, the properties on either side of us are rental homes so we did not have established relationships. We decided our investment=our choice. Second, we preferred the look of the flat side. There is a downside to this though. There is a possibility that children and the nefarious wil climb the fence. Again, signs and Security cameras. Ridiculous, but necessary.

    • David Guzzi says:

      Right on, these people are all very inconsiderate, as far as I’m concerned you put the fence up backwards it now belongs to the neighbors!

  • Bill says:

    Jeez, at some point you guys are gonna reap what you sow with attitudes like that. You put the good looking side OUT because you have to live next door to your neighbours. You don’t want those people to feel like they have to “get you back” for something. Like, you know, sticking them with the inside of your fence…

    • Deb says:

      I am not taking your comment as being directed directly at my comment, but to all of the commenters that support the homeowner/investor right to choice. Please explain your meaning of “reap what we sow” and “people feel they have to get back at…”. Thanks.

      • David Guzzi says:

        I’d make your fence mine if you put it up backwards, that’s what he means

        • David Guzzi says:

          And pretty much her fence now is the neighbors, that’s what it looks like and they can claim it, good luck fighting it in court

  • Momma says:

    I told my daughter to put good side in……No other neighbors have a fence. If they were to put up their own fence that is the side they would be looking at and they should be thankful that that is one very long side of their yard they wouldn’t have to pay for!!!! I’m sorry but when you spend your $ and cheap neighbors complain…..Then tell them they can’t tie in on your fence that is saving them thousands of dollars

  • Ronnie says:

    Good side goes to the neighbors, some places(county and city) require good side out. Just remember safety is an issue too. What does that mean? Leaving the “bad” side out only makes it easier to climb the fence to get into your yard. I prefer the good towards the neighbors because I use the exposed 2×4 and 4×4’s to hang feeders on as well as yard utensils (rakes, hoes, shovels, etc.) I am a Building Contractor and have installed many fences and have always installed “Good” side to the neighbors.

    • Bradley says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I mean, as long as it’s uniform, it should look nice. And the exposed beams are very useful most of the time.

  • Mertis Fidler says:

    If you build a dividing fence on your own property, the “good side” of the fence is the side of the fence that all maintenance will be preformed from. Fences are not “maintained” from the backside. The “good side” of the fence goes to where you have access to maintain it.

    If the fence is a dividing fence, that divides your backyard from your neighbors back yard, the “good side of the fence should be facing your yard. If the “good side” is not facing your yard, and you needed to maintain the fence at a later date, you would need to get the neighbors permission to enter their yard to maintain your fence.

    If you build a fence, anyone with good sense would put the “good side” facing to where it could be maintained without the permission of another.

    Of course some cities regulations may prohibit the choice when the fence divides your property from a street, park or “open” area. In which case you would have to follow the rule. But as far as a fence that is only a barrier from your neighbors yard,… by all means the smart choice is to put the “good side” or the side that maintenance is preformed from to where you have access to do the required future maintenance.

  • Janna says:

    My creepy neighbor has an acre of property but installed a swing set right next to my property line. They never spoke to me about it.. So up went my fence. You really think I am going to put the “good side” to them when they have their screaming brats on the swing set right near my deck? Screw them! They didn’t consider me, so why should I consider themselves?

    • danny says:

      But now you have to think about the children climbing your fence because the inside is outside. Insurance issue !

  • brian says:

    “Not only is this more polite, but it’s the standard. Your property will look a lot nicer with the “good” side facing the outside world. Otherwise, your fence will look like it was installed backwards.”

    REALLY??? look at the poll. Majority says good side in. Good side out if facing the street, yes! Good side in in a divider between yards and not facing street. Unless one wants to pay for good side or you work out what you want (maybe you dont like good side), then that is better. The rule should be, the person saying gets the side they want. So Simple. If both paying, then figure it out.. have a person wanting good side pay more.

    • Fence Authority says:

      We were surprised to see the results of the poll, which we added recently! To us, good side out is the standard.

      We wonder if the results are skewed because this article is attracting people who are not on very good terms with their neighbors, as many of the comments reveal.

      • Lou says:

        This is plain ridiculous. We asked the neighbors to share the cost and they refused. My husband and I are working hard to increase the value of our property and make it look nice and it is expected from us to be polite and put the good side out? No wonder this country is filled with cheap entitled people who think the world owes them everyhting.

        • Good neighbor worried says:

          Wow! This country is filled with “cheap entitled people”…maybe they were not in budget right now. Interesting how we put tags on others so easily. Maybe the current good side is facing your neighbor’s backyard, and you are looking forward to increase the value of you house by taking that value from them? Why is that right?

          • Juley says:

            Exactly. If you want to upgrade your fence for your own reasons, neighbor has no responsibility to pay. If the fence falls down, both neighbors pay but it has to be arranged in advance & contractor agreed upon.

            I’m sorry, but my neighbor wanted to replace the fence for esthetics & we told him we don’t have money for that right now. Our furnace & A/C are 23 years old & could go at any time. So is our roof.

            It’s nice for the neighbor that he has the luxury of making his property look nicer, but we don’t. He is welcome to pay for it himself as long as he lets us know when it’ll be installed & it’s the same style fence. We have lovely vines that took a long time to fill in, so frankly we wouldn’t be too happy about it. And you’d better believe we would need the nicer side, because thst is the way the current fence is.

            Recently we replaced a fence on the other side, but only because it blew over. Since the nice side was facing the neighbor before, we had it installed the same way. We agreed to split the cost & we got 3 estimates that we shared with neighbors, and we agreed to go with the middle estimate because the company is well established & has a good reputation.

      • Richard says:

        I built a lot of fences because I owned an excavation business in Florida and it was always demanded by HOA and county or city regulations to face the good side away from your property for the main reason to not allow unwanted individuals to climb your fence by using the ‘inside’ of the fence as a step ladder to make it easier for intruders to climb onto your property which is very logical. Now, on the other hand where my question lies, what if your building a fence to keep your dogs within the property, what would stop them from using the ‘inside’ of the fence as a step ladder to get out? Thoughts????

        • Khadijah H says:

          Good question. However, I think most dogs would try to jump over rather than climb. Another issue is that a dog could just run into the fence and bash thru, like a battering ram. It would not be too difficult, particularly since there would be nothing more than a couple of nails keeping the planks on. It would be a lot more work and expense to do something like screw or even bolt the planks to the cross members. It can be done, sure…but, you would need to buy fasteners and drill holes. Bolts with 2 washers and a nut would be the strongest…But, you would need literally HUNDREDS of bolts. Also you would need to drill HUNDREDS of holes. People generally don’t do that for that reason.

  • Laurie says:

    Wow, people. A fence should always be installed as a “good neighbor fence”, with the finished side facing out. This has been the standard for years and years, with one generation passing this info on to the next. Yes, it may be an ‘etiquette-thing’ as opposed to a legality, but people used to live by good-will and etiquette. It is evident from many of the above comments that our world is fast changing into an “It’s all about me!”-world.
    Plus, installing the finished side of a fence towards yourself shows a lack of common sense, and it will appear as though you unknowingly installed it backwards….

    • John says:

      Thanks Laurie (and others) for bringing etiquette and consideration for your neighbors back into this thread. I’m disturbed by the selfishness and hostility I am reading. Please people, be considerate. Talk to your neighbors and work out a plan.

      • Angela says:

        I tried that but it didn’t work I had to go to the city to have them to remove theirs it was also attached to my brick home which the city made them move off my property. Oh and the ugly side is facing me so now I have to try to cover it up. It looks very tacky the way they put it up Nails sticking through its a hazards

  • T. vonKramer says:

    My understanding throughout my 8 million years of life: “Good side” out. It’s to be viewed from the street. Did you put the nice cedar shingle siding on the inside of your home? Also, as far as practicality goes, the main purpose of a fence is to keep others out. The finished side keeps people out, so it goes on the outside. It’s not about “bad side and good side” it’s “inside and outside”

  • steve says:

    I have woods in back of me so I will be putting the good side towards me. I can not see the trees enjoying the finished side and not complimenting me for it.

  • C. Daniels says:

    In the process of building my 6 ft privacy fence. I have no neighbors, but I am building “good side” out.

    1. Harder for strangers to hop fence on flat side.
    2. My house is exposed to public eye since I do not have neighbors, so I prefer to have my house look “good” from the outside.
    3. I really don’t think the “bad side” looks that bad anyway.
    4. Being in a new subdivision, I don’t mind attracting new neighbors who might want to build next to a free “good side”.

  • Anonymous says:

    What about this scenario? We have Neighbors on both sides of us but neither has their own fence. The neighbor beside neighbor on the left side of us has a fence up, so essentially it is a barrier on the opposite side of our next door neighbor’s backyard from us. It is an ugly wood paneled six ft fence. We are going to install a nice scalloped five foot picket fence around our whole backyard at our expense. This will give our neighbor to the left side two different fences siding their yard in the back. But since we are paying for the fence and are doing our whole backyard, then we have say in what we put up correct?

    • Mary says:

      My brother moved into a newer, but established neighborhood. The previous owners did not put up a fence, but mostt of his surrounding neighbors did. So he had a hodgepodge of privacy fencing. My brother can be very anal, but on this matter, he was happy, because when he finished enclosing his yard it did not cost him much. And he has a unique fence.

  • Donald Pallo says:

    The good side of fence is on my side. Owner at the time did not want to contribute to fence, why good side is on our side. Was a rental for many years. New neighbor is not friendly. I tried to introduce myself as neighbor. He copped and attitude with me and asked about whose fence it was. I told him we had it built and it was my fence. This fence is stained on my side, no fence boards on his side. They have lived there a couple years. I just recently notice he painted the backs of fence boards white. Painting between boards and getting paints on my stained boards. Can he legally do this without consulting me? Looks great on his side, not so good on my side. You can see white in gaps of fence boards and he painted tops. This is the boards on my side of 2x4s. What can I do, he’s not nice or friendly or he would have spoken to me. Told him when he first moved in he could board his side. To remedy this the boards would have to be replaced or individually removed and the tops and edges sanded so I don’t see white. Very time consuming. I believe he would just paint it again. Can I take fence down on my side and leave rails and post in place and not put it back? Can I take boards down and paint the white whatever color I want since they are attached from my side and put them back? He didn’t ask me, do I have to ask him? Mad because I am seeing white on my stained fence. Need advice.

    • Richard says:

      Your property, he has to have consent to work,improve or replace said property or he can pay you half of the cost of the fence and then his side is fair game.

  • Reine says:

    Check your building codes. Mine clearly states that the finished side is toward the neighbor. My neighbor has the unfinished side facing me. I attached bamboo fencing to it. It’s not like they can complain about it.

  • KayeKaye says:

    I just recently had a new wooden fence put in and an old metal fence removed. The contractor asked if I wanted the attractive side facing out that faces the front side and the rest of the attractive side facing in? and I said, yes that sounds good. I don’t know that much about fences. On one side the neighbor has an old gray wooden fence that looks ugly because it’s old, but they have the good side facing me. I didn’t put a fence on that side since it was already covered by that neighbor. And after my fence was installed I saw that it has 3 boards that go across the fence on the not so attractive side, however, I thought that I’d rather have it on the inside because it looks like something someone could climb and I don’t want that, so now I will get security cameras on the back fence because an alleyway is by that side. Wish I had known beforehand about that side of the fence, because I don’t think the unattractive side is all that unattractive and wouldn’t have minded it being on the inside, but it all looks very nice and it replaced some very ugly fencing that I used to have, so I’m thankful for that. But also, I paid nearly $3,000 for all this new fence and I do believe that owners should be the ones to decide which way a fence faces, the neighbors should be grateful for the privacy the fence provides and that they didn’t have to pay for that nice privacy fence wall that we put up. Either side doesn’t look bad at all, they both look extremely nice and was very nicely put together. Let’s all be thankful for all things people do that is also a blessing for us as well. One neighbor had a tree removed that was shedding feather-like stuff all over everybody’s cars and yards all the way down the block, and I was very thankful when they had it removed.

  • Rob says:

    I’m paying for it, I should get the good side. Duh. If they don’t like it, they can take their screeching children and loud backyard parties and rent some other dump.

  • Tammy Thomas says:

    “Good side” facing out! Etiquette. It’s your fence, but neighbor shares in benefit.

  • Jessie says:

    My husband wants to put up a fence to “shield” out our mean ol drunken neighbour. I am kinda “on the fence” about this as it makes me bitter that we have to shell out the cash to block him out. I see both sides to this argument. I believe the person paying for the fence should be able to decide which side they want. However, after reading some of the comments here, it makes sense to give the “good” side to your neighbour (even if they are aresholes). It will be easier for you to maintain it if you ever need to fix it due to a windstorm for example. Also, imagine the dread in asking your neighbour’s permission if you had to go on their property to fix YOUR fence. In my case, this would be a nightmare as our neighbour is the biggest A-hole I’ve ever met!

  • Patty says:

    Thanks for all the comments! I WAS going to install my fence pretty side facing in. But as I read the comments I began to realize how rude and unneighborly I would be seen and that’s the last thing I want! Really it’s just a fence! How we treat others is more important! Thanks for a lesson in neighborly love!

    • Regeina says:

      It sounds like 75% of the commentors are putting up their fence because of the neighbors. “Won’t stay off my side”, no respect, or thoughts for you. Put up your fence, and they can put up their own fence, they can turn it any way they want. All will be happy and private!

  • Laura Berney says:

    Nice article. I think I agree that the good side on the outside (towards the neighbours) is a better option, as your house would definitely look better that way. Also, as -Ronnie said, it would be safer.

    • John says:

      How dull someone must be to think one orientation is safer. The intruder would have to climb both ways — to get back out — so it don’t matter. People aren’t immigrating to your property. That said i agree good side should be out

  • Fran says:

    Well, maybe you all will get a kick out of our quirky situation! Our neighbor installed a nice fence, good side toward us, adjacent to our driveway. It intersects with a very old, sagging, poorly connected and rusting cyclone fence, which we share with a different neighbor! We would like not to be seeing that old fence every day as we come and go, and so we proposed to the adjoining a neighbor, who is a nice guy, that we replace the failing fence with a nice new cedar fence matching the new one just erected by our front neighbor, all at our expense. The good side would face us to match the new cedar fence it ties into. Oh no, says the neighbor, I need the good side facing me because otherwise it won’t match the fence that same neighbor put up on their shared property line! Well, I hadn’t thought about that because I can’t see it, but after hearing about it, I see his point. Ironically, he is offering to contribute nothing at all to this project. This area is behind his garage, an area he never sees unless he is mowing his lawn. He says several things: 1) I don’t care for fences and would just as soon this fence (the old one) weren’t here. 2) But if there is a fence here I want it to match the good side I see from the new fence my other neighbor put up, and which I didn’t pay for. 3) It’s awful what these fences cost. In the old days if I wanted a fence, a couple buddies and I would put it up ourselves! (And your point is?) 4) Is the fence isn’t good side to me, it will possibly hurt my property value if I decide to sell. If these fences faced the street, it would definitely be good side out. I have gotten a new quote for a double-sided fence, asking the neighbor to pay only for the insreace over the original proposal as the gesture of a good neighbor who, as he says, will enjoy an increase in his property value as a result. His share would be about one quarter of the total cost of the project. No reply, no answer, no decision yet.

  • Katie Dunn says:

    I think that it’s interesting that you mention putting the finished side of a fence towards the neighbor. I can understand having the part of the fence that is facing the road have the finished side up. Yet, what about the part that is in between our yards? I understand that that would be polite, but they could paint that side if they really wanted to, right?

  • Tom says:

    Can the neighbour replace a thicker post 4 by 6 instead of 4 by 4 and the extra two more inches is all to my side?

  • Diane Crocker says:

    Our neighbour asked if he could remove our old fence and put up a new one as he has two dogs our fence is fine really so we said we had no plans to do this work ourselves but he could go ahead if he wished,now fence has been erected but we now have the so called bad side facing in our garden is this correct or should we have the good side this also means we have two bad sides as other side fence is the bad side doesn’t look right to me,where do we stand as he wanted the fence in the first place.

  • Tom says:

    I want to see where the property line is. What should we do?

  • Sunshine says:

    Our local city ordinances required that all post and stringers on the lot line be placed on the inside of the fenced area…. meaning “good side out”. It’s also the code for all the neighboring communities.

    Maintenance of the fence is a non-issue. If you place the fence right along the property line, it is not acceptable to access the neighbors property to maintain it. You should be smarter than that and place it inset on your property enough to be able to maintenance both sides.

    Honestly – shame on you for placing the ugly side out!

  • diana hamilton says:

    I live in Miami Dade County. On our entire block, we all have backyard wood privacy fences, and everyone of us have the “good” side facing towards our yard as opposed to the neighbors. Has been that way since I moved in 20 years ago. Two years ago, neighbors behind replaced their fence and put the ugly side facing me. When Wilma hit in 2005, we all lost fences and everyone including my next door neighbor replaced the fence dividing our yards with the good side facing her (as it had been before the storm). In fact, when I moved in, my yard was surrounded by a chain link fence which I took down (except the polls) because of the neighbors’ fences. In Irma, my next door neighbor’s fence went down again, and her daughter – who now lives there – has not replaced because she says the fence is mine because the good side faces her. I explained to her that her parents replaced it in 2005. I have since found the county code which states the “good” side should face the neighbor not the fence owner – so another words – ALL the fences in our neighborhood are backwards, and the next door neighbor appears to be relying on this to force me to replace her fence. I am at a total loss. Suggestions?

  • Tom T says:

    The problem with your theory of facing the “good” side out is with maintenance and repair. You would not have access to your fence without entering your neighbor’s property. Also if the neighbor installs his own fence against yours you would have no access at all. Most fence sections mount with screws or nails through the face of the fence section into the post. How in the world would you accomplish that with the fence section mounted towards the outside?

  • Laura says:

    Okay I read all the comments…. I placed my 2 neighbors fences on the pretty side for them…strangely enough I felt if a home invasion happened I could use the wooden slates to jump over and find help. (Yes I know too many horror movies but u never know..lol). So now one neighbor added her fence backed up to mine and my other neighbor after hurricane Irma says I have to repair the fence I paid 100 percent for!!! When is a neighbor supposed to pay half ? Is there some written rule ???? I’m pissed I paid for his first fence…then second fence now he wants a third fence all on me again..is that fair in the state of Florida?

  • NiaTrue says:

    We opted to have the good side of the fence facing our property, but appeased our neighbor by making one section of the fence very low (so that he could get sunlight into a room that is only 18 inches from the property line and not to code) and another section split rail so that he could “keep” some lilac bushes that are technically on our property.

  • Tina Smith says:

    in our neighborhood, (country)a new home was built, the new owners had a fence put up with the UGLY side facing the outside ALL around the house, except the driveway part, where the double gate is. The house was pretty, it’s UGLY now!!
    It looks totally stupid, and backwards!! They have ruined the looks of that street!!
    No one will want to build or live next to ALL that UGLY mess!!
    I’m so annoyed by their lack of brain cells!!!!

  • Patti Muzzonigo says:

    My daughter bought a house recently in Naples, Fl with chain link fencing around 2.75 acres and a 10 ft hedge in front of fence . Psycho neighbor complained to code enforcement the finished side is not on their side ( should be according to code ) AND will not consent to let them on her property to correct. The neighbor doesn’t like the hedge they said “ looks like you have to cut the hedge down to fix this “
    Bottom line, my daughter now has to cut her beautiful hedge down by half to turn be able to the fence around on 2.75 acres .
    The county issued the final when it was installed years ago , but guess what – they say it was an error , and you can’t hold them responsible .
    So, save yourself future grief – it’s an unbelievable story , I’m so angry I could spit nails , but there you have it.

  • Richard says:

    I am just having my fence done and my neighbour wants the good side but I am paying for it
    Is this right

  • Ana says:

    I just instal a new fence, the neighbor has it all ready very old looking , she call the citi claiming the nice side could be at her properti! . I build the fence 4 inches inside my property . Like to know what is my rights. Please

    • Gloria fenton says:

      You paid for the fence: YOU should have the good side facing YOU! I have the same problem with my asshole neighbor. He has complained and tries to block the water drainage from my property under MY FENCE onto my property on the other side of my fence. In the meanwhile he is a tree hugger and his “(FOREST” ) 70 ‘ tall branches lean substantially over my fence and dump gum balls and loads of leaves onto my deck and into my pool. His trees are reaching for the sun because they can’t get sun crowded as they are on his own property. The amount of “gum balls” is BEYOND reasonable and my family has been cut using our pool and deck by those prickly balls! If I could afford it, I’d bring in a “backhoe” with a huge chainsaw and run it along and just above my fence, even if I’d have to go 70’ Up!. He’d have nothing left but tree trunks! I’m considering doing just that even though it will probably cost me $20,000!

  • john watson says:

    If your neighbours plants and shrubbery is adding to the cost of a new fence,does the neighbour bear the added cost or is it to be shared?

  • Bardog Tavern says:

    I think the poll reveals that the world is getting more selfish.

    I have a “good neighbor” fence which is 20 years old and needs to be replaced. I am going to build both sides, as it was done originally. A property, in my opinion, should always have the “good side” facing out, just as the contractors and builders in this comment section have pointed out. It enhances the look of the property, and if built correctly, the “bad side” doesn’t have to be ugly. I think there is a beauty in the linear vertical and horizontal supports on the “bad side,” and you can even fashion this side with crossbeams, which look even nicer.

  • Linda says:

    What do you do when you don’t have access to the neighborhood property to give them the good side? Either due to space or landscaping issues?

  • Hannah says:

    For those who would put the “good side” in so you can see it I say that’s whats wrong with the good old US of A. It’s all about me, me, me and screw you. Lovely. My neighbor is a good, hardworking man who just happens to collect a lot of stuff in his backyard. He does it because he struggles to make ends meet and uses these items for spare parts to keep his other stuff going. I don’t want to see his junk anymore but neither do I want the fence to say to him “f you”. There is a chain link fence between us now so putting a length of privacy fencing, a lawn mower cutting distance in side that fence. I will be giving him the “good side” and that’s works really good for me cause I can use the rails and posts on the “bad side” to hang my hummingbird feeders – they come by the dozens every year – LOVE IT!! I am also incorporating 4 x 8 sections of lattice into the fence design to give it a more open and friendly look. I will plant flowering bushes at those sections so they can be enjoyed by my neighbor also. Glad I don’t live next to, hell, glad I don’t know some of you people. PEACE AND LOVE BABY, PEACE AND LOVE

  • Joan says:

    I’m building a fence along the back of my property– behind it is a hedge, a 4 foot birm, 75′ of wilderness and then a road. Our town code says finished side should face neighbor. In this situation, which no back neighbor and the details I listed, does the code apply?

  • KELLEY says:

    Our neighbor’s fence (on one side of us) was blown down due to bad weather & a strong wind. Well, the fence that they replaced it with looks AWFUL!!!! The wood is not all the same color They only replaced what came down, which was from one end to the center. So from the center to the other end (that was still standing), it’s uneven. The new part is much higher than what is still standing. Then, it doesn’t even go down all the way to the ground. We have a little dog that just walks right underneath it, doesn’t even have to get lower to the ground to do it, that’s how much gap is between the fence & the ground. Also, the “finished” or “good” side is facing their yard, not ours. So not only do we have the bad side facing us, it’s awful looking. It’s so ugly!!! What do we do in a case like this?

  • Ellie Davis says:

    I like where you suggest making sure the property lines are defined before installing a fence. My husband and I would love a little privacy in our yard. I think it’s time to find a contractor to help us install a fence for the upcoming summer. https://blog.fenceauthority.com/fence-etiquette-who-gets-the-good-side/

  • Livandy says:

    Well, it is better to divide with a cement brick wall and get a planning permission and solved.

  • Michael Foley says:

    It should be common courtesy that the fencing shouldn’t affect anyone, even if to avoid an eyesore.

  • Moira Blythe says:

    My husband and I are installing a property-line fence. I did not anticipate the decision of what side should face out to be a big decision for us. I appreciate your advice that we should talk with the neighbors and see what they think about which side of the fence they’d rather see.

  • Barry says:

    We have this problem neighbor advised intention to install new fence quality installation but reversed panel from original good side now facing him his fence his rules and sod me,I now have ugly side to side of front visual aspect to home.to add to this one of his posts now my side of boundary

  • Donna says:

    Our neighbor has a pit bull that climbs the fence. He does not bite, but we have two airedale that romp and bark. Plus, we have to go out and unlock the gate to return the dog. She suggested a fence, so we put one up, for her dog! She watched and when it was over, she complained that her side was ugly. Now we have to cover the other side. Not happy!

    • Carol says:

      Fourteen years ago we installed our 8’ stockade fence ‘good side’ out . We did this because of neighbor whose pit bulls lunged at me while working in my garden bed next door. We had surveyor come and stake property line boundaries & then placed fence 2’ behind for maintenance. We took rail side and put bird houses on postes and morning glories..I’ve heard it said” good fences make good neighbors.”

  • Robert says:

    My neighbor wants the good side and wants me to help pay for it. What should I do?

  • Jack in Florida says:

    Its funny that all the respondents believe that whatever opinion they have on fencing facing in our outward is, “the right answer for all situations”. Its not that simple. Most municipalities have codes and code enforcement agents and if you have an HOA, well you know or will soon find out what their rules are.

    Renowned poet, Robert Frost said it best in his work MENDING WALL… ” “Good fences make good neighbors.” It is the last sentence in the poem.

  • Vicki says:

    I find the terms “the good side” and “the bad side” to be very interesting. I don’t see either as good or bad. I’d say the flat side vs. the non-flat side. I can see putting the flat side on the outside if it faces a street, but what about if it’s neighbors jointly replacing the fence between their backyards? One might prefer one side over the other; I think it’s just something that needs to be worked out. In my case, we went with the original way the fence was built, with the flat side on my side. I was used to the non-flat side being on the inside at my other house, but it was a different situation. It was solely my fence. Where I live now, it’s totally okay for me to have the flat side on my side since I take my cats outside sometimes with the dogs, and I don’t want them jumping up on the ledge/post in an attempt to climb out.

  • Jnut says:

    I’ve just read all these comments, my neighbour last weekend started digging out the bushes in the front garden. They said they were putting a fence up, I was fine with that. At the time I asked who’s having the nice side, he replied “you are” I was ok with that. He has started putting the fence up, he has the nice side. I politely said I thought I was having the nice side, he said no my partner was not happy about giving you the nice side as were paying. So his put the nice side facing the ally way, but my side his put the rough side. Not only has he lied to me, The front garden looks odd now. So is their a law who has what side?

    • Jnut says:

      He never mentioned any money to me, or sharing the costs as he had already ordered the materials. So had already planned to do the job.

  • Julie says:

    My neighbor is wanting to turn me in because I added fence to already existing fence and it puts the good side on me but the neighbors beside me already had the good side towards me so I just added in the front of my yard 4foot fence

  • Charles R Stinson says:

    I live in Pinellas County Florida unincorporated section of Tarpon Springs I found out when my neighbor put the fence up one side of his fence was a good side out cuz he was good friends with that neighbor and towards my mom’s property in mine they put the ugly side out and they said it was legal I checked with the county they said that’s true

  • Heather says:

    Besides being rather rude to neighbors…If you’re looking at your house from the street, you should have the finished side out. Why would you want the ugly side out? Not to apealing.

  • Annette says:

    I cannot find anything about who is responsible for maintaining the weeds on the good side of a fence

  • mike chunko says:

    how does one maintain the other side of the fence that is erected on the property line without trespassing on the property??

  • Kimberly Rosa says:

    I put up a galvanized fence in 2001. I made the mistake of putting the Fence on the wrong side of the posts. A new family bought the place next-door in 2008 but didn’t start claiming the fence until 2016. I exclusively openly constantly maintain the fence for 15 years, even when their dog tore it down. Is the fence really theirs since I’m the one that purchased it and put it up in 2001, Way before they moved in and they have not maintained the fence at all?

    • Khadijah H says:

      It’s half theirs.

    • Michael says:

      So, the fence is almost 20 years old. I would think who cares who “owns” the fence. You can still maintain it if you desire, but if they want to replace it, they own it and need to pay for taking down the old one and then give you the good side again. As a side note, I replaced a fence that was falling down on a house that was for sale. After the sale the new owner told me I had to put the good side facing him and called code enforcement to tell me that. When the CE Officer showed up to my front door and said I needed to change the fence, I said “I don’t own the fence”. He smiled and said, well I guess the settles that.

  • Cheryl Samuels says:

    I recently put up a 6ft stockade fence on the side of my yard that borders my neighbors, My neighbors are new to the neighborhood and have only been in their house about 1yr. They are first time home owners and bought the house from my previous neighbor who lived in the house for over 40yrs and is the original owner of the house and property. My previous neighbor was living there when my house was built right next to his. When i moved into my house in 2001, both his property and the house i bought was enclosed by 6ft stockade fencing. the neighbor changed his fencing on his property to 4ft Pickett fencing including the fence that separated our property. I assumed the fence belonged to them since the fence was there when i bought the property. We didn’t like our property exposed so we planted a row of arbourvataes which were about 4ft tall at that time, to provide some privacy. The neighbor didn’t have a problem with our trees and often complimented my husband, whom planted them with how beautiful they are growing up to be and the hard work he performed in planting them. My arborvitae are between 6 – 8ft tall now. The neighbor has now been gone for 1yr and we lived next door to them for 17yr. The new owners have kids that pick at my dog over and between the 4ft Pickett fence and have actually hurt my dog by poking him with something in his ear. We immediately talked to the parents about it, but unfortunately, they are the “not my kid” type of parents. We witnessed this happening to our dog. So we put up the 6ft stockade fencing behind the arborvitae to provide complete privacy to protect my dog and my property since the mother has a tendency to come in our yard to retrieve her kids toys that come over the 4ft fence. Two days after we put the fence up, a police officer showed up at our front door saying the neighbor said we are on 3ft of their property and they are hiring an attorney to sue us and we are paying for the attorney. We’ve been on this property for 17yrs and have never heard such a thing. You would think that if that was the case the previous owner who was the original and only owner of the property and. Got along very well with us, would have said something to us about the supposedly 3ft of property especially when we planted our 21 Arbourvitas in front of the fence he put up all around his property. The town said that the neighbor needs to prove it, but I.ve been on this property since I moved here, its been close to 18yrs now, do I have a legal right to the property if it’s proven to be true? The neighbor wants me to move my fence and cut down my trees.

    • Greg says:

      You will have to get a survey done, if you want piece of mind, or I would think that the neighbor would have to prove their claim. If they do, then you may be out of luck.

  • Eddie says:

    I think the good side facing your neighbour is a little confusing. If I erect a fence then the good side faces them. If they erect said fence then good side faces me. Who gets the good side if you both agree to pay for it?

  • Yougonna Payforthat says:

    This was either written by someone who didn’t really pay for the whole half of their side of the fence or someone who has no idea the time and money it takes to make a good fence. Because if you do or did, you would always put the nice side facing what you see and not what your neighbor sees.

  • gt says:

    After 10 years, my neighbor decided to start a rooster orphanage on his property with no consideration for any of the neighbors. He’s definitely getting the unfinished side of the fence.

  • Chris Ax says:

    I offered to split the cost of the side of the fence with each adjacent neighbor, I even printed up a copy of the estimate for the fence and printed up estimates if we split the cost. I would have been willing to negotiate who gets “good side” if they cooperated. Since none of them did, they have no say. That sounds fair to me.

  • Aggravated Dad says:

    Yeah, my neighbor is currently redoing an older fence that was installed with alternating boards in the good neighbor fashion. He is installing it with the good side towards his property.
    The owners have moved and rent the home. He is also running new rails between posts.
    I told him that I would prefer that he use cedar rails like the ones he’s replacing, and the facing, since I don’t like treated wood (UGLY!). I even told him I’d help pay for the additional cost over treated. I told him as we looked at the neighbors fence facing his yard and others in sight, that the good side should face out. That’s just how it’s done.
    Well, he’s out there now rebuilding it good side towards his yard, with treated rails towards my yard…
    He says his wife wanted it that way. I told him to tell her she’s a bad neighbor ;o) We’re supposed to be friends, we’ve hung out dozens of times, even since they moved.
    I’ve been putting off enclosing my side yard for years because it will close their front yard off in kind of a big way. Well, I might have to reconsider that now. And they just might get a 6′ privacy fence by their front yard with the back side towards them…

  • aggie says:

    we have tons of signs and lights on our side of a fence. It’s a wooden fence, and our neighbor and I chipped in for it. Now he’s putting up a vinyl fence, and told us that we’d have to remove all our signs and lights. Can’t we put them back up after this new fence is installed (we are not chipping in) by making sure it will have no effect on his side. No screws going through, nothing. Can we?

  • Rachel Frampton says:

    I thought your article was very interesting and I’d never really considered which way the “good side” of my fence would face. However, I think you made a great point about being considerate of your neighbors as you install your fencing and taking with them before you do install just to make sure you’ve covered your bases and you’re being considerate to them as well. We will have to take this into consideration as we look around at fences.

  • Linda says:

    Personally I don’t care about my neighbors at all. The good side is facing the neighbors or street. This is done to prevent someone from entering my property; which is why you put a fence up in the first place. If the neighbor wants to paint the side facing his property, so be it. I could care less.

  • Greg says:

    If the good side- meaning the side that doesn’t show the posts and such- is on the neighbors side, then that means you have to enter the neighbors property to install or replace brokens pieces. If the person that paid for the fence, assuming that there is no shared cost, should be required to have the good side to avoid entering the neighbor’s property. If the fence is on my property, and I paid the full cost, then I am going to reap the benefits of the good side. My property value is important to me as well. If the neighbor wants a nice fence, then the neighbor can use his own money and land to build whatever fence they want.

  • Ira Borton says:

    I paid the $3800 to replace an existing fence that my neighbor says is mine anyway, So I put up just like it was, The finished side to me. Having said that, there are city codes that state of the fence borders on the public right of way, the finished side goes to the public.

  • Teresa Burchell says:

    My neighbor while putting his new fence up gave me the unfinished side, which I’m easy to get along with but he has a theme of colors and his existing backyard which has me fearing the color of paint he’s going to apply. I surely have a say so on the color that’s on my side don’t I? A polyurethane finish wood protected just as much, since that was his excuse and concern.

  • chalde says:

    It’s plain to see that there are a good many un-neighbourly people about. Whether you pay for it or not, the “good” side goes outwards. Apart from etiquette, decency to your neighbour, or even the “right” thing to do, the fence should show the “good side outwards.
    Any other way will show you up as the impolite, inconsiderate, crass and selfish person that you really are.

  • Linda Barker says:

    My neighbors on one side of me have a very loud heat pump. I have talked them and even wrote a letter hoping they would put a panel or fence around. It has been a problem for 2 going on 3 years. Cannot open my front door, back door, or sit on patio without listening to that crappy thing. I plan on putting up some fence panels and also using some tree/shrubs to try and block out. I plan on putting nicer wood side towards me and then putting metal sheets on their side to deflect sound. In country so don’t think I should have a problem.

  • Michelle says:

    I recently paid in full to put up a wooden fence, with the good side faced to my neighbor. She did not allow me to walk to the property line and put color to my fence. And she starts putting nails to my fence and hang all her flowers there. Can I tell her to remove all the nails the the woods she added to my fence?

  • Jeffery K Smith says:

    I just got off the phone with the city government. In Florida, the state law requires the good side facing outwards. This is required to prevent children from climbing over and falling and drowning into a swimming pool.

  • John Scott says:

    I built a wood fence on my property and left the good side facing my property.
    Do I need my neighbor to sign a finished side waiver form since the fence is in my property?
    If so, what can I do if they don’t want to sign it


  • Ahorsesstar says:

    Wow…we are currently going through this. I’m sorry but it is courtesy to put the ‘good side’ facing the neighbors. As for us, we do NOT want to look at nor maintain around unsightly posts! We live in a very nice neighborhood, & we were here prior. Though our intentions was to eventually fence, we were going to put up a neighbor friendly fence..making both sides finished…they just moved in and stated ‘whoever puts the fence up first gets to choose’ …we held off on fencing only because we wish to put in a pool. I’m very upset that they do not see that this is also important to us..no matter they would have to enter our sideeven if inside their property to maintain…if you ever had to weed eat around post…I think you just might ‘GET A CLUE’

  • stephanie scott says:

    our neighbor wanted to replace the fence between us that was old and had a section falling down. we were asked to pay for half and they had already picked out the contractor for it. my husband agreed to pay half. they did not give us a date on when this was to be done we came home and the fence was gone. i was upset about that even a note on the door to let us know would have been nice. so this was a Thursday they put in the posts on Friday and built the fence on Monday. so we come home from work and the fence is up but she put the nice side facing them. and we are suppose to pay half. now i am really upset because this is wrong she got the contractor and got it her way. little does she know that she did put it up wrong. hopefully the next owner of our house will be as nice as my husband. oh and by the this does not surprise me because she is the most unfriendly person i have the pleasure of never being introduced to because she will not even look at us let alone being a halfway decent neighbor. after reading this i feel a little better because you can bet i will be decorating my side since she was nice enough to put it in backwards and got us to pay for half!

  • Mr Syed Sharfuddin says:

    I pointed out this etiquette to the workmen who were installing the fence on behalf of my neighbour. The head of the working team said to me: “No, the person who pays for the fence chooses and gets the better side”. I said to him: “One thing is certain; either the rules have changed or people have changed or I am getting old but the fences remain the same with one finished side and the other unfinished side. I do not intend to raise this with my neighbour. A fence is such trivial thing to place good and friendly relationship with your neighbours in jeopardy.

  • Mr Syed Sharfuddin says:

    Fences are like clothes. You always wear them with the finished side outwards to be admired and loved.

  • Doug says:

    Where a fence encloses a paddock for horses, or a pasture for livestock, for safety, the posts should always be on the outside of the enclosure and the smooth boards to the inside. The boards will not pop if an animal pushes on it.

    This is even more important if the enclosure will be used for riding. Posts on the outside are the difference between a scuffed boot and a shattered knee if a horse spooks into the fence. Safety ALWAYS comes before aesthetics!

  • Ethan Hansen says:

    I found it interesting how you mentioned how you need to make sure your property lines are defined when installing residential fences because you don’t want to overstep your property. My son recently moved to a new area and he wants to install a fence to keep his dog in without disturbing the neighbours. I will be sure to pass this information on to him so he can choose a fence that gets the job done!

  • Ethan Hansen says:

    I found it interesting how you mentioned how you should talk to your neighbor before installing a fence so you can define property lines. My wife and I want to install a simple fence for our new puppy but don’t know where exactly our property stops and our neighbors start. I will be sure to ask my neighbor where I can install the fence to keep my puppy safe!

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