Installing a Privacy Fence

My first project will be to install a privacy fence in the backyard. It’s currently chain link which is just awful especially since I live next to a large rental unit. But I have a couple of questions before I get started. Fortunately, I found a lot of information in this article from Better Homes and Gardens.

1. Do I have to remove the chain link fence or can I just install my fence directly inside the current fence?

Leaving the existing fence could make installing the new one difficult. It was my intention to just build the privacy fence inside the chain link so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the neighbors, but it’s looking like I should take my time and do this right.

2. Should I hire a professional or is this a job I can do it myself with the help of friends?

I want this job done right. And I want it done well. I think I’m going to go with a professional recommended by a friend.

3. Do I have to let the neighbors know I’m installing a fence?

I really don’t want to get the neighbors involved, but based on everything I’ve read, it’s best to talk to them. In fact, I might get lucky and have someone interested in helping fund the project. I’m surrounded by poorly maintained rentals and I’m worried the people who own the homes next to me might be slumlords. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

4. Do I have to get a survey done?

Based on everything I’ve heard and read, it is imperative that I get a survey of my property. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s already an issue with the property lines. I think part of my backyard is being used by one of the neighbors. I’m not sure how this happened, and I don’t necessarily want that extra section, but a survey should straighten that out.

All right. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right! First step, get the survey done. Next, I’ll get in touch with the neighbors. Then, I’ll hire the contractor and pick out the type of fence I want. Let’s get it done!

A few weeks later….

Step 1: Property Survey

I decided to read up on property surveys and how to obtain them. Knowing the legal boundaries is important because if there’s a dispute later on, the fence would have to be moved. However, considering the area I live in, I’m leaning toward skipping this step. It would cost me around $800 to get it surveyed which is way more expensive than I thought it would be. Plus, the neighboring properties are all rentals and I don’t think the owners care about a fence or would even be willing to help with the costs which is probably why I’m going to skip step 2 also.

Step 2: Talk to Neighbors

I found a great article on fence etiquette. If I was living in a hoity-toity neighborhood, it would matter more, but I’m not. So despite saying I want to do things the right way, I just don’t see any point in talking to the neighbors. If I install a fence inside the current fence, I doubt they’ll care. In fact, they’ll probably be glad. To be honest, I’d rather just pay for everything myself than to have to deal with people.

Step 3: Dig Rite

This is one step nobody should ever skip. There are cables, pipes, and other important things buried underground, so it’s important to have those spots marked before doing any digging. After they came out and marked the areas, we were able to proceed with the fence project.

Step 4: Hire Contractor

I try to hire friends or friends of friends as often as I can because I prefer to give my money to locals rather than chains. My brother knew a guy, so I hired him and he did a fantastic job! He communicated very well and worked very hard sometimes in the rain even. The labor cost me about $1,500 which I thought was fair for the job.

Step 5: Buy Materials

I know the price of lumber is up and everything is more expensive than usual, but I was surprised that it only cost me about $2,130 for all of the materials. I really thought it would be more.

Step 6: Install Fence

It took a few weeks of hard labor for my contractor and his men to get the job done, but once it was finished, I was delighted with the results! It’s going to be so nice having privacy in my backyard. Now that this project is done, I can start the next one which will either be cleaning out the crawl space and the basement or installing a gravel driveway in the backyard so that I have a place to park my bus.

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