There are several things to consider in planning your fence before you get into the actual installation phase:
Fences function as protection, property delineation, aesthetics, child or pet containment, privacy or any combination of these. Choose the type of fence that would best suit your present requirement keeping in mind that your needs could change down the road. For example at this moment you may simply want to keep your pets contained in your back yard with a 4 foot high chain link fence, but a few years from now you may want to install a pool for your growing family. You would be best choosing a higher 5 foot chain link fence right away to meet pool code or a wood privacy fence to provide pool code compliance and privacy both.
Do some research online or call a reliable fence contractor to determine the price points for different fence options to achieve best value for money invested. For example as a rule of thumb wood is around twice the cost of residential chain link. So if privacy was not an issue then chain link would be the way to go.
You may be spending more than you had anticipated but remember that a fence is an investment and will increase the value of your property (as long as it fits the aesthetics of your neighbourhood). Always add some extra in your budget to cover unforeseen instances such as cost to repair a damaged drainage tile not shown on your property plan or replacement of some shrubs or ornamental trees that had to be removed to accommodate the fence.
Inform Your Neighbour
Approach your neighbour to discuss the proposed fence. It is the polite and neighbourly thing to do as it invades their vista and is a very personal thing as it butts onto their property. I remember starting a customer’s fence in the morning then having their neighbour arrive home for supper and see fence posts along their property line. They flipped! They had not been made aware of the project and took it as a personal affront thinking that my customer wanted to shut them out of their lives. After a little explanation for the reason of the fence and some soothing words I was able to diffuse the situation.
Had they been the more unreasonable type my customer may have had an offended and contentious neighbour for life.
Determine if your municipality requires you to take out a permit to install a fence. Most municipalities in Ontario do not require a permit for a fence but most do have bylaws regulating them. For instance they may limit the fence height and distance from the road allowance if you have a corner lot to keep vehicle sight lines clear at intersections, or so your neighbour can see to exit their driveway.
Ensure that you know where your property lines run. You can usually find the existing square metal property pins, if they aren’t buried too deep, by stabbing the ground at a 45 degree angle in the approximate area that the pins would be expected to be found. Newer pins are denoted with a white and red wooden stake above ground. Failing that a metal detector can be used. A property plan with house and lot dimensions is a great way to determine where to place your fence. You want to be sure that your fence is installed on your property!! If it is found later to be on your neighbours property they can make things miserable and expensive.
Have underground locates for utilities done. In Ontario a simple call to Ontario One Call (ON1CALL) at 1-800-400-2255 is all it takes to have gas, electrical and telecommunications located. You can also go to www.on1call.com. Your water and sewer lines must be located by your municipality. All locating services are free of charge. Drainage tiles may be more difficult to locate. Your home builder may be able to tell you or you could have someone experienced in water “witching” find them for you. We as a fencing company hand dig by the foundation where your fence is most likely to intersect with a tile.
Every fence and circumstance is different but these items should make you well prepared to start your project.