4 Important Steps to Take Before Your Fence Replacement or Installation
What to know before installing a fence: Whether you are planning for a new fence installation in a place that currently does not have a fence, or you plan on replacing a current fence there are a few things to consider besides deciding on the style of new fence. Before we professionally install for you a beautiful new fence in the greater Sacramento area, there are a few items for you to look into ahead of time to ensure that the exact placement and style of fence is allowed where you want to place it. By following these steps you will greatly reduce any chances of code enforcement penalty or neighbor disputes.
1. Perform a survey
Before replacing a current fence or installing a new fence on or near your property line, the initial undertaking is to guarantee that your property line is calculated precisely. As a fence contractor we are skillful in the craft of installing or repairing a fence, but are not licensed surveyors. You will need a surveyor to be able to confirm where exactly the property lines are. The survey will determine where your property line is so that you can understand precisely where the fence contractor can install your fence around your property without the chance of having to tear it down as soon as it is installed. In addition, this will help you avoid legal issues and court appearances by ensuring that your fence remains where it should be. Contracting with a surveyor and obtaining the property line locations of your property is the responsibility of the homeowner. We will install the fence where we are instructed to by the property owner.
2. Review regional ordinances and regulations
City and County planning departments have ordinances (rules) in place that restrict the types and heights of fences that can be installed on each property in their jurisdiction. It is best to consult in writing with your local planning department to confirm what you are hoping to install is allowed where you want to put it. Sadly, most fence companies in the Sacramento, CA area do not recommend that customers confirm with their local planning departments ahead. Hence some neighbors will build fences that are too close to the street, or too tall, or not of the right materials. Sorry to tell you, but just because your neighbor did something against the rules does not mean you can too. We recommend getting your confirmation in writing from your local planning department. The reason we say writing (email is great) is so that it can be kept on record that this was pre-approved incase it comes into question in 5 or 10 years and that person you spoke with is gone or recollects something differently. Take our advice on this one through experience.
3. Consult with your neighbors
Most fences are on a shared property line with a neighbor. It is important to keep this neighbor in the loop as to your fence plan and make sure you are both in agreement. This step is vital because for us to change a fence on a property line, we need both neighbors to be in agreement. Even if you plan on paying for the whole project, we need to be able to contact the neighbor and keep them involved on dates of installation, answer any of their questions, and obtain their approval to be on the property. In most instances neighbors are in agreement, but if they are not you may have to compromise with them to keep your relationship manageable. As a last resort, you might also decide to install the fence not on the property line, but instead a few or more into your property to be able to secure your yard.
4. Trim vegetation back from the fence line
Customers commonly ask us how much vegetation needs to cut back if any to replace their fence. While most fence companies call for approximately 18 inches of clearance on both sides, let us define that a little bit better for you here. No—you do not need to remove your trees. We are talking vegetation and bushes. Here is a good way of looking at it. If you can walk up and down your fence line that you want to replace, so can we. If you are not able to walk up and down the fence line, then we won’t be able to either with heavy bags of concrete on our shoulders and long pieces of fencing.
As for the question about trees within 18 inches of the fence—if the tree is near the fence but not obstructing the new fence from being installed vertically, then it is fine and there is nothing to do. If the tree base for instance is right on the fence line and obstructing the new fence, we have 2 options for you. We can angle around the tree if you want to leave it, or you can have it removed prior. This is really up to you and your neighbor to agree on.