Fence Planning: Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Looking to build a fence around your property? 

It’s a big decision and one that can cost you a lot of money if you don’t do it right. 

Before you get started, make sure to read this article for some simple tips on how to avoid costly mistakes and get the job done right the first time.

Whether you’re building your fence or having someone else do it for you, there are a few things to consider before you get started. 

We’ll walk through the entire process of fence planning so that you know what’s involved and what you should be aware of before you begin.

It’s important to think about what you need and want before deciding which fence is best for you:

-Do you have pets that might escape? 

-Do you have young children who might want to climb? -Do you need to keep critters such as raccoons, deer, and rabbits out? 

Fence Ultimate Guide: Complete guide to selecting, buying and installing your dream fence!

All of these things should factor into your fence planning.

This article will walk you through a step-by-step process on how to plan your fence. It covers everything from materials, design, cost analysis, and hiring a contractor, up to the final cost. 

By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of what’s involved so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

Fence Planning: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Conception

Before you plan on having a fence, you need to know what’s involved and how long it will take to finish. These are important considerations because your fence will be a long-term addition to your property. 

2. Determine Your Purpose On Having A Fence 

-What is the purpose of your fence, 

– What do you plan to use it for? 

– Do you need a fence to protect young children and pets from escaping? 

– Do you need to use it for privacy? 

– Do you want to use the space enclosed by your fence for animals such as chickens and goats?

3. Walk and determine installation location

Before choosing a fence, you need to walk around your property and figure out where it will be installed. 

Take measurements of the space available and make a list of your priorities.

4. Building Permit or HOA permit

Before you start any work, make sure to check with your city or HOA for restrictions and permits. They may require you to go through a certain process before you can officially begin your fence construction.

5. Fence Budget

One of the most important considerations is your budget. 

Fences can get expensive, especially when you factor in the quality of materials, labor cost, property lines, and existing features. 

Take the time to get quotes from multiple contractors and compare materials before deciding on a budget. 

Pay close attention to your budget and how much you want to spend on the materials and labor. 

You’ll want to choose fence materials that fit your needs both in terms of aesthetics and functionality but also in terms of cost. 

Try to get the most for every dollar you spend.

6. Paying in cash or through financing? 

If you have a lot of cash to spend, it’s better to pay in full because you’ll get the best deal. 

If your budget is tight, however, you may want to look at financing options. 

Financing is a big commitment, and you’ll want to be sure of your decision. If you do decide to finance, make sure to get the best possible financing terms before deciding.

7. Material Options

Choosing the right materials for your fence is important because it will affect the cost, appearance, and functionality. The options you have will depend on personal preference and restrictions from your city or HOA.

  • Wood – Wood is a great option if you want a classic look and if you don’t mind the maintenance required. Wood fences are expensive, but they will increase your property value and can be customized to fit any style.
  • Chain linkChain-link fencing is a traditional option that is functional and relatively inexpensive. They can be used for most purposes, but they aren’t ideal for aesthetic purposes. They do, however, add value to your property, and they’re easy to install.
  • Vinyl – Vinyl is a relatively new invention, and it’s quickly becoming a popular alternative to wood. Vinyl is durable, easy to clean, and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It’s also significantly less expensive than wood and can be easily customized to fit any style.
  • Metal – Metal fencing is a great option if you want a modern and sleek look. Metal is expensive, but the initial cost is offset with its high durability and low maintenance requirement. 

8. DIY Install or Hire Contractor?

The next step after choosing your materials is to decide whether you want to hire a contractor or do it yourself. 

There are several pros and cons for both options. 

DIY is usually cheaper, but it typically requires more work. If you choose to hire a contractor, they will be able to take care of the hard work for you, and you’ll get to enjoy the finished product.

DIY Pros:

-Gives you experience

– Low initial cost

– Flexibility of work

DIY Cons: 

– Requires hard work and heavy lifting 

– Can be unsafe for inexperienced workers to install alone

Contractor Pros:

– Reduces installation time

– Can be done safely

– You don’t have to lift or do any of the hard work 

Contractor Cons:  

– Requires an upfront payment and can be more expensive than DIY

– Can be harder to find trustworthy and reliable contractors

9. Design it Before You Buy It

Once you know how much you want to spend and what materials you plan to use, it’s time to make a plan. It’s important to work out all of your details, including the location, height, color scheme, materials used, and more.

It’s important to know what the design will look like beforehand so you can buy the appropriate materials. 

When designing your fence, think about what color scheme you want, how much you’ll be spending on materials and labor, and other things that are important to you. 

Create a plan for your fence before buying any materials or contacting a contractor. Different virtual reality 3D design software are also available to help with this problem. 

This software will allow you to create a virtual environment of what your finished product will look like before you install it. 

This way, you can have an unlimited number of designs to choose from before spending a dime on the actual fence.

You can use the following softwares for design purposes:

  • LeoCAD
  • Autodesk Homestyler
  • Big Hammer Do-It-Yourself Fence Designer
  • MagiCAD
  • Home Depot Do-It-Yourself Fence Designer
  • Edraw Simple Garden Design Software

Once your design is finalized, you can buy your materials and schedule the installation with a contractor if you don’t plan on doing it yourself.

10. Design considerations

Now that you have your fencing materials and design planned out, it’s time to think about the installation.

 These are a few things you should keep in mind while planning your fence:

  • Height: 

Fence height is a very important consideration which you should think about before installation. 

There are many different types of fences, but they typically fall into one of three categories: tall, medium, and short.

-Tall: Tall fences are required when you want to block the public view or maintain an extra level of privacy. Tall fences usually range between 6-7 feet high.

-Short: Short fences are recommended for low traffic yards or when you want to create a garden oasis. Short fences usually range between 3-5 feet tall.

-Medium: Medium fences are the most popular option because they provide an adequate amount of privacy without being too inconvenient. Medium fences usually range between 4-5 feet.

  • Proximity To Property Line: 

Another aspect you should consider before installing your fence is the distance from your fence to your property line. This is important because you should leave enough room for gates and any other fixtures. 

It’s also important to make sure that your design allows for the space you’ll need to install gates.

If you live in an area that has zoning laws, this could be very important to check into before moving forward with your design. 

Depending on where you live, zoning laws can vary greatly. The last thing you want is to install your fence only to find out that you can’t use gates or that it breaks the law.

11. Check With A Neighbor:

Another important factor to keep in mind is how your fence will impact any neighbors. It’s important to let your neighbors know that you’re planning on installing a new fence. 

If they have any concerns or want to be involved in the process, this is the time to contact them. Just be sure to let them know that you’re not trying to mess with their property.

12. Call 811 To Locate Utility Cables Before Digging:

Before digging, call 811 to have underground utilities located. This is important to prevent any damages to cables or the pipes that go with them. 

Once you know where the cables and pipes are, you can plan accordingly.

14. Tools

It’s important to have the right tools before you start your installation. Here is a list of some basic tools you should consider having in your arsenal before you start your fence installation:

  • Tape Measure – if you’re installing an electric fence, this will be one of the most important tools required for the job.
  • Saw – you’ll most likely need to cut your fencing material to fit the area where you want them.
  • Drill – in some cases, your fence may have screws that you’ll need to drill into place.
  • Hammer – when installing fencing material, this is one of the most common tools used. This is also a tool that’s required for almost any DIY project at home. 
  • Screwdriver – most fencing material is installed with screws. This will be another important tool you’ll need for the job.
  • Screws – these are used to attach your fencing material to posts or other fixtures.
  • Shovel – if you plan on digging holes to place your posts, you will need this tool.
  • Posthole digger – if you plan on digging holes by hand, this is a very helpful tool to have.
  • Saws-All – these are used to cut your fencing materials. These will be a little more heavy-duty than a standard saw, but they’ll still have the same basic features.
  • Stakes – you will most likely use stakes when installing your fencing material. This is the best way to keep them in place while you drill or screw them into place.
  • String – string can be used to attach your fencing material to the stakes you’ve installed.

These are some of the essential tools that you may need for this project.

You may not need all of them, but it’s best to have as many as you can so you will be ready for anything.

15. Research and Planning

When it comes to the first steps of your fence installation, you should consider doing some research before jumping into this project. 

It’s important to talk to other people who have experience installing these types of fences. 

You also want to look at some photographs and search online for some ideas for this. These can be very helpful in helping you decide what fence is right for your property. 

You can also check with your local hardware store for any special instructions or requirements they have. Be sure to bring all of this information with you when designing your fence. 

This can help you narrow down the choices and choose the best one for your property.

When planning out where to put your fence, you’ll want to consider the intended purpose of your fence and how it will be used. 

This can help you determine what type and style of fence would be best for your property.

16. Purchase Online vs. In-Store

When shopping for your fence, you have many options available to you. You can purchase them online or in local stores. 

Some general contractors will even offer to install the fences for you. While there are benefits to each option, you’ll want to choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.

When you buy your fence online, you will have a much larger selection to choose from. This is because the companies that sell the fences online can carry larger inventories. They also can offer you a wider variety of colors and materials that you can choose from.

These online stores also will have a wider variety of prices available. They may even have sales going on at different times of the year that can save you money.

Buying from a local store is also a good idea. If you decide to purchase your fence in-store, you’ll want to choose one that has a wide selection available. You can also ask them for any recommendations or other hints and tips to help you with your project. 

You can also visit hardware stores to find the right tools for this job. 

Most of these stores will be able to help you find the right tools and materials to help you with your fencing project.

17. Delivery

It’s important to note that if you buy your materials from a local store, they may not be able to provide you with delivery. In this case, you may have to schedule delivery through another company.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you want your materials delivered right away or if you want them delivered later. 

If you choose to have your materials shipped to you, they will arrive at your home on a specific date or within a certain time frame. This gives you the ability to plan for your project and helps you ensure that all of your materials will be ready when they are needed.

It’s a good idea to schedule your delivery for a day when you know you will be home and available to help the driver unload your materials. If you need help, contact a local delivery service in your area to learn more about their services.

18. Layout and Measurement

As you get started with your project, it’s important to take accurate measurements. You want to be sure that all of your materials will fit on your property and that they’ll be large enough to complete the job.

Before you install your fence, you should also take some extra time to think about how the layout should look and what style you want to choose. This can help ensure that your fence is well-designed and is best suited to your needs.

When taking measurements, you’ll want to be sure that you include any trees or other obstacles that may get in the way of your fence. 

This will help you avoid any surprises during the installation process and give you enough room to install your fence correctly.

19. Installation Process

Once you have all of your materials and measurements in hand, it’s time to get started with the installation process. 

If you plan ahead, you can make sure that all of your materials are there and easily accessible when the installation process begins.

When installing your fence, you’ll want to make sure that it is sturdy and strong. You also want to ensure that the materials will be long-lasting and keep your property safe.

If you choose to hire a contractor, they will most likely provide you with an installation date during your initial meeting. However, if you decide to handle the installation yourself, you will want to prepare for this process in advance.

Make sure you know which tools and materials you will need before the installation begins. You also want to make sure that there is plenty of space in your garage or storage area to keep all of the materials that you will need.

It’s also a good idea to have all of your materials delivered at least two days before your installation date. This will give you enough time to make sure everything is the way it should be and save you from making last-minute trips to your local store.

When you have everything you need, start the installation process and follow the instructions for your project. If you run into any problems or face any issues, call in a professional to help you out.

Fence – FAQs

Q. Can I build a fence next to my neighbors?

A.  It’s important to check with your neighbors before installing a fence next to their property. Make sure that you get permission from them to install your fence and that they agree to take responsibility for maintaining the fence. 

Q. How do you design a fence plan?

A. First, check with your local city building department to find out if there are any rules or regulations that you need to follow for fences. Next, take measurements of your property and plan out where you want the fence to go. 

Make sure to account for any obstacles such as trees or other objects that may get in the way of your fence. You can also make a rough sketch of what you’d like the final product to look like and get the opinion of a friend or family member.

Q. How high can my fence be?

A. If you want to install a fence that is taller than 6 feet, it’s important that you ask your neighbors for their approval before starting the installation process. If you plan to install a fence that is taller than 8 feet, you should also consult with your local building department before starting the installation process.

Q. How do I find my property line for free?

A. If you want to build a fence on your property, it’s important that you find the location of your property line so that you can avoid any problems with your neighbors. 

There are a few different ways to find the location of your property line:

  • Using an online mapping service to get the location of your property line
  • Contacting your local city or county government to find out where your property line is located
  • Contacting a land surveyor to come out and mark your property line

Q. Who owns the fence between two houses?

A. If two houses are next to each other and share a fence, the fence is typically owned by both homeowners. They are both responsible for maintaining the fence and repairing any damage that may occur. 

If one homeowner wants to make changes to the fence, they will need to consult with their neighbor and get permission before beginning any work.

Q. Can you build a privacy fence in your front yard?

A.  You can build a privacy fence in your front yard as long as it meets any zoning laws or regulations for fences in your city or county. If you’re not sure if your fence is allowed, call your local city or county building department for more information.

Q. How high can my fence be in my front yard?

A. There is no specific height limit for fences in front yards, but it’s important to check with your local city or county building department to make sure that your fence meets any zoning laws or regulations.

Fence Planning: Summary

Fences are often added to homes as a way to increase privacy, security, and aesthetics. If you’re thinking about installing a fence at your home, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure that you have everything you need before starting the installation process. 

Make sure to check with your local city or county building department to find out any rules or regulations that you need to follow, and take measurements of your property so that you can plan out where you want the fence to go.

If you’re not sure what type of fence you want, you can always sketch out a design and get the opinion of a friend or family member to help you choose the right fence for your home. 

We hope this fence planning guide helped you learn more about fences and how to install them at your own home. 

If you have any other fence planning questions, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to help.

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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