Do I Have to Give My Neighbor the Good Side of the Fence?

Fences provide a necessary and helpful line of demarcation between properties, but they can also become divisive. Asking for permission to share the good side of your fence before buying is an easy way to avoid conflict in your neighborhood.

The “who gets the good side of the fence” is a question that many people ask themselves. If you don’t know, then it’s best to ask your neighbor.

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Being a good neighbor entails practicing good manners, which includes your fence. Yes, there is such a thing as fence etiquette, and it is essential for avoiding legal or illegal problems with your neighbors. Much of a fence’s construction is governed by local legislation, but what about its Aesthetics?

Despite the fact that it is standard practice, no legislation requires your neighbor to receive the better side of the fence, albeit your local municipality may. Nonetheless, it is proper fence etiquette and the owner’s best practical alternative in terms of safety, maintenance, and curb appearance.

Always double-check your local rules and regulations before starting to erect a fence on your property. It’s also a good idea to run it past your neighbor to prevent any surprises. Continue reading to find out whether you have to offer your neighbor the better side of the fence.


Contents Table of Contents

  • Is It Required of You to Give Your Neighbor the Better Side of the Fence?
  • What Are Your Legal Responsibilities?
  • The Advantages of Good “Fence Etiquette”
  • Conclusion

Is It Required of You to Give Your Neighbor the Better Side of the Fence?

You should begin by becoming a good neighbor yourself if you want nice neighbors. That means treating people with the same respect you would expect them to provide to you. Yes, it is important to keep the noise down and greet each other in the morning. Good neighbor etiquette, on the other hand, includes erecting a fence. But, precisely, what does proper fence etiquette entail?

You should always notify your neighbors before beginning any construction project. This concept is particularly true when it comes to erecting a fence, since it might affect your neighbor’s sightlines, curb appeal, and even property value. In this scenario, neighborly conduct may spare you the trouble of a fence issue down the road.

When we talk about the “good side” of the fence, we’re talking about the flat, polished-looking side. The structural parts, such as rails and posts, are on the “wrong side.” Giving your neighbor the better-looking “good side” is excellent etiquette, but are you legally bound to do so?

Yes, if your homeowner’s association governs fence placement. If you break the rules, your fence will be torn down, and you may face legal consequences. If you are not a member of a HOA, you are on your own. However, bear in mind that doing so is proper fencing etiquette, common politeness, and best practice.


Before beginning any building job, be sure you understand your legal requirements. This will save you from having to demolish your fence or dealing with legal complications. Fence-building requirements vary by state, area, and county, but they generally include:

  • Fence height: Unless the fence is in the front yard or within 15 feet of a roadway or curb, the maximum height for a fence is around 6 feet. The maximum height in these circumstances is between 3 12 and 4 feet tall.
  • Fence placement: It is illegal to construct a fence on someone else’s land. As a result, it’s critical to double-check your home’s design or hire a surveyor to determine your property borders before you start construction.
  • Maintenance: The fence owner is legally responsible for maintaining the fence’s construction and repairing any damages. If the fence is erected immediately on a property line, the law often holds both you and your neighbor responsible if they profit from fence usage.
  • Prohibited materials: While regulations generally do not prescribe the appearance of your fence, they might limit materials that are deemed harmful, such as barbed wire or electric fences.

HOA and CC&R

If you are a part of an HOA, there are even more restrictions to keep in mind. CC&R’s generally focus on fence Aesthetics and can even regulate the type of wood you use to build your fence.

You may have no option but to offer your neighbor the nice side of the fence in these situations. These limits maintain a neighborhood’s stability and coherence.

The Advantages of Good “Fence Etiquette”

So you’ve decided to construct a fence that complies with all municipal rules, and it’s time to speak with your next-door neighbor. This may be a difficult scenario, particularly if you are unfamiliar with your neighbor, but excellent fence etiquette can be useful for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, following good etiquette and giving your neighbor the nice side of the fence is a sensible compromise: you’re erecting a fence that will effect their land, so it’s only right that they have the best view. Everyone benefits from having happy neighbors.

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Using proper fence etiquette and providing your neighbor the nice side of the fence, in addition to quiet living, is also good practice for you. Facing the nice side of your house towards your yard might cause a slew of problems, including:

  • Safety
  • Repairs
  • Aesthetic

Giving your neighbor the good side is thus a win-win situation for everyone, and it should be your gold standard even if you are not legally obligated to do so.


Consider this if you want to keep the nice side of the fence to yourself: posts and rails that are out in the open make climbing your fence a snap. Unwanted guests have easy access to your yard and, in certain cases, your house. As a result, intruders are more likely to target your property’s safety and security.

Giving your neighbors the flat, nice side of the fence makes climbing the structure much more difficult and serves as a deterrent. In the adjoining yard, the same rationale applies to dogs, cats, and even children. On the flat side of the fence, popping out a picket or causing any kind of damage is considerably less probable and much more difficult.


Repairs are considerably simpler to identify and rectify when you give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt. The main structure of the fence is the posts and rails, and any damage to them can jeopardize the entire structure. Consider the following:

  • You will probably not notice any harm if you keep the nice side to yourself.
  • It is a legal need to keep your fence in good repair. In the eyes of the law, failing to notice fence damage is no excuse, thus giving up the good side may also help you avoid legal troubles.
  • If you and your neighbor both profit from the fence’s usage, you are both deemed owners and are legally compelled to divide the expense of repairs.


It looks nicer if you give your neighbor the good side of the fence. Consider curb attractiveness, even if you believe having the beautiful side visible to you is more vital. If the fence is erected with the terrible side facing out, it will seem to be backward. Because curb appearance affects home value, following standard procedure here will benefit your wallet.

Consider building a shadow box or “good neighbor fence” if you’re dead bent on having the nice side to yourself. This sort of fence is designed to have the same appearance on both sides, giving you and your neighbor the best of both worlds. These fences are constructed utilizing a “sandwich structure,” which makes them more durable than regular fences.


Even if you are not legally obligated by CC&R’s to give your neighbor the good side of the fence, you should still do it. Not only will good fence etiquette avoid disgruntled neighbors who may file a legal complaint against you, but it will also benefit you as the fence owner in many different ways.

Overall, giving your neighbor the good side of the fence is the best practice for all parties involved and will enable you to relax and enjoy your new seclusion. Check out our post on how to mend a leaning fence if you have a misaligned fence!


The “how to make bad side of fence look good” is a question that many people have. It’s important to know the answer before you build your fence.

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