Arrange to be home during construction, especially early in the project.
If you can’t be home, commit to being easily available by cell phone if possible. No matter how thorough you and I may be prior to the start of the project, questions will inevitably arise as the crew gets into the nitty gritty of the actual construction.
Make sure the crew has access to working electrical outlets and running water.
And if at all possible, please give us access to your electrical breaker box and alternative indoor outlets, especially during wet weather when GFCI outlets (the ones with the buttons) tend to trip, leaving us without power. We will, of course, remove our boots and prevent any pets from escaping outdoors in the event we have to enter your home to turn individual outlets back on or to access others.
Talk to your neighbors.
An understanding of property lines and design/height expectations is key to keeping the peace with the folks next door, certainly if you’re sharing expenses on a fence, but perhaps even more so if things are a little tense to begin with. As fence builders, we are not licensed or equipped to survey property, but we can make sure the fence is entirely on your property or perfectly split between you and the neighbor if there are property monuments (markers, stakes) to work with. Bottom line, however, is that we’re going to dig where you tell us to dig.
Understand that almost all fences have a front and a back.
Individual boards, in fact, even have a specified front and back. This might seem an overly obvious thing to say, but it’s a necessary consideration as you plan the logistics behind neighbor relations, worker access, and the view from your yard as it relates to the view from the street. Keep in mind that under most if not all city ordinances, the front/finished/good side of the fence needs to face the street. Side and backyard fences can face any direction you please if you are the sole paying customer, and as long as workers have the necessary room to build in the direction of your choosing.
Understand the differences between contoured, level, and angled fencing.
Rare is the yard that is perfectly level, and you need to have a clear understanding of how you would like your fence to respond and adapt in the event that there are changes in elevation, especially if pet containment is a priority. This is the area that perhaps causes the most confusion and misunderstanding, so it’s important to have a solid plan going in:
- Contoured fencing: This one is typically the easiest and least expensive, primarily because it’s usually just posts, rails, and fence boards, and the finished fence can literally roll with the changes in elevation.
- Level fencing: This one is probably the most popular but can create some containment or landscaping issues post-construction. Imagine a level fence as essentially a series of perfect rectangles in a row. If your yard is relatively level, the fence can also stay level at the top and — more importantly — the bottom without losing good ground coverage. If you put that series of of rectangles on any sort of slope, however, you’ll note that the downhill side of any fence section will inevitably have a gap between it and the ground. Plus, we’ll have to “step” each panel down as the elevation drops. At this point you have a choice: Leave the gap or introduce an angled or contoured bottom, the latter of which can result in extra charges for having to custom cut every single board and/or having to purchase longer lumber to fill up the available space.
- Angled fencing: This kind of fencing goes from Point A to Point B to Point C in as many straight elevation lines as necessary, no matter what the angle. Essentially, it’s a way to build a more elaborate or decorative fence than a contoured fence allows while still maintaining good fence-to-ground coverage. Depending on the style, angled fencing can result in extra charges for having to custom cut every single board and/or having to purchase longer lumber to fill up the available space.