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Five Tips for Putting Up the Perfect Fence

Advice on everything from finding your property lines to deciding on the right style.

A man drilling fenceboards.

A new fence can boost your curb appeal, enhance privacy and help keep kids and pets safe. But it can also be a challenging project, especially if your yard has multiple elevations or is heavily treed. Here’s what you need to know—before digging those first fence posts.

Find your property lines

Your very first step should be to determine the boundaries of your property, says Jay Saveall, president of Green Side Up Contracting, based in Aurora, Ont. If you don’t have it on hand, get a copy of your land survey from your local municipality. “You can go to the town and get one—but then you’re counting on the survey being accurate, so you should double check by measuring and identifying the property line yourself.” (You can also hire a land survey company to place flags along your property line. The cost varies, but can range from a few hundred dollars to upward of $1,000.)

Tell your neighbours about your plans

Be sure to talk to the folks next door. The saying “good fences makes good neighbours” may be true, but these architectural additions can also cause strife, so give neighbours plenty of notice and consider showing them your plans before construction begins. You don’t need their approval so long as the fence stays on your property, but it may be worth getting in order to maintain your relationship.

Decide on your fence style

Then, decide on a style. Remember, it’s not just about aesthetics. You’ll need to follow your municipality’s zoning bylaws when it comes to fence height and materials, and also think about your greenery. “If you have a lot of gardens around the property, you’re going to want a fence that will allow air to flow through the fence board so your perennials can breathe,” Saveall says.

Figure out if this is a DIY project

Thinking of doing it yourself? Saveall says there are some situations where you should go with a pro, like if your yard has grade variances, if there are trees or other objects close to the property line, or if there’s concrete—like a walkway—close to where the fence will be built. However, if you have a large property and budget is a concern, consider taking on the job. “I charge $50 per linear foot; if you have a big yard, that’s worth doing yourself,” he says.

Book a utility locate

And whether you DIY your fence or hire a contractor, be sure to locate buried cables, pipes and wires before you start digging. The province will do this for you—just visit Ontario One Call to request a utility locate. They need five business days’ notice, and better yet, it’s free.

Get the Right Coverage

Protect your property inside and out with CAA Home Insurance. Visit CAA Insurance to learn about the different policies and to get a quote.

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