When Installing A Wood Fence, Does It Matter Which Side Faces Your Neighbor’s House?

December 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Siding Q & A

I have just installed a wooden privacy fence. One of my neighbors is quite upset that I put the “ugly side” on his side. His side is the side where you can see the posts and crossboards. His property is poorly maintained and the fence was installed to screen our view.
Is there some fencing ettiquette that I have breached or is the method of installation a matter of preference?

  • Siding Installation


28 Responses to “When Installing A Wood Fence, Does It Matter Which Side Faces Your Neighbor’s House?”
  1. fenceorl says:

    Most of our customers in Central Florida opt to have the “ugly” side of their fence facing in, out of respect to their neighbors. You could always just build a shadowbox style fence in which both sides look exactly the same.http://www.fenceorlando.com

  2. Teki says:

    The old saying should read good neighbors make good fences. My neighbor wanted a fence. She had the good sense and good manners to consult us before going ahead. In turn we shared the cost and got the nice side facing us. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone got along as well?

  3. thomasl says:

    usually you install the ugly side towards your own property,i don’t know why since the owner is paying for it why should they see the ugly side every day,tell your neighbor to get over it

  4. charliec says:

    Typically the fence builder gets the finished side. You paid for the fence, therefore you get the nice side. Your neighbor doesn’t have anything to say about it.

  5. sophieb says:

    the cross-post side is supposed to be on your side of the fence. If the cross-post side is facing your neighbor they may claim the fence when you move out.

  6. Turnhog says:

    Our city has an ordinance that makes a homeowner face the attractive side of the fence towards the neighbors. I think it’s nonsense, but it’s the law. One can, however, double face the fence to make both sides attractive.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When constructing a fence that has a good side and a let’s say not so good side, the good side should face away from your property. You would have to nail the finished fence from the neighbor’s side. Some towns and counties enforce this rule and it is also proper etiquette.

  8. Zanzibar says:

    Well typically a fence is used to make a property look good from the outside. The smooth side of the fence is the side visible to passerbys an onlookers. Your neighbor probably feels like you built him a fence and he doesn’t want it.
    When you’re in a backyard that is fenced in, you expect to see the “ugly” side of the fence.

  9. misskate says:

    As long as the fence is on your property, then you can build it however you’d like. It would be odd for you to pay for a fence and then have the unfinished side facing you. If he dislikes, it, he can put his own fence in.

  10. pinkdais says:

    Just as long as there isn’t nails sticking out the other side, it should be fine other than him being angry about it. My parents took their neighbor to court after my daughter ran into a nail sticking out of their ugly fence and the judge made them install a second fence on the other side.

  11. Chick with pets says:

    I’ve always been told that the side that doesn’t have the posts on it should face the neighbors. (The nice side of the fence).

  12. texas_an says:

    Most ppl put the “ugly side” so that they can see it NOT so others and the public can see it. Is it ettiquette I wouldnt say it was but would you want to see the “ugly side” if your neighbor was the one who had put the fence up?
    I live in a very upperclass gated community and anyone that puts up a privacy fence must put the “ugly side” so that the public and neighbors can not view it.
    Personally if I was driving down your road and saw the posts out I’d laugh thinking that you didnt know what you were doing. No offense

  13. Sugar says:

    All ways remember to nail from you side.If your neighbor puts one up He is to nail from his side. Then it’s perfect.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did he help pay for it? Did the last fences “Good Side” face his yard? Usually one asks as a courtesy, you could of built it one section his side one section your side, but to tell you the truth this guy sounds like a jerk F him.

  15. naturalp says:

    Sorry but you did it backwards. I understand your position and it sounds like your neighbor is just being difficult, but still…wrong.

  16. markisbo says:

    a ‘good neighbor’ fence has sections that switch back and forth. However, it depends on who paid for the fence also. If he paid half then he is entitled to have had some say in the final result.

  17. foodieNY says:

    Around here it’s not just breaching the etiquette, it’s against the town ordinance. If you did that here, you would have to take it down and change it. A pain, not fair but it’s the law.

  18. crewchie says:

    some towns require you to have the “ugly” side because you are the one putting up the fence

  19. Richard D says:

    The uglier side needs to face in toward your property. This is to discourage inflicting an eyesore on your neighbors.

  20. Barkley Hound says:

    You should have spoken to him first to see if he will willing to pay the extra cost of finishing both sides. If the fence is entirely on your property he can always put up his own or put whatever facing he wants on his side of the fence.

  21. trinket5 says:

    it is a matter of preference but most people put te ugly side on the inside just so someone can’t use the cross beams to climb the fence tell your neighbor to get over it or they could put up a fence on the other side so they have the pretty side facing them then everyone is happy…………..good luck

  22. jennifer p says:

    first, i must say that your neighbor should be thankful that such a decorative fence borders his property and that you’ve allowed him privacy to create the mess that he prefers. Next, maybe when he complains again, you might ask him to kick in for the other half of the fence and you would be more than happy to lend an hand in installing a moredecorative side….also let him know (ps? I;ve been where you are) that its not your responsibility to maintain his property. Its a PRIVACY fence…stay out.

  23. Rip says:

    As long as you don’t mind being a rude and thoughtless neighbor, you did the right thing by sticking him with the “ugly” side of the fence. Why not throw up a little bit of graffitti on his side of the fence? Maybe some curse words and some nude cartoon characters? It is your fence after all, and in line with some of the earlier advice “he can get over it”.

  24. Travis says:

    How about not letting people easy access to your yard by constucting so. Wow

  25. Joel says:

    Most municipalities will have a bylaw stating that the finished side faces out. Most likely for a few reasons… my neighbour recently put up a board on board privacy fence, and the unfinished side faces me. We have chain link that was to be replaced with a semi-private fence, so he put his 6 inches onto his property. He is the type of neighbour that if I ask to use his posts and cross boards when I do mine, he will refuse and now because of him putting it up, when I erect my fence, I will not be able to do semi private, how can I nail the boards on the opposite side, as it will be within 6 inches of his fence. The other problem, he just put a pool in and as a result of the unfinished side being on the outside, people can climb the fence easier to get into the yard, and thus into his pool… His insurance company may actually have something to say about it. he is actually a pretty nice neighbour, but we have only spoken on one occasion (they moved in recently). Hoping he will let me put my semi-private boards on my side even though the fence is on his property and not the line.

  26. Jeannine says:

    the township’s inspector will tell you which way by law the bad side of the fence should face. I have installed numerous fences, as a contractor, and in all the different towns i have yet to see one which allows the ugly side to face the neighbor. the ugly side always faces the owner of the fence……this is the more common law.

  27. Deb says:

    I would say the nice side faces out. But just keep in mind, if you get a nasty neighbor who will not allow you access to maintanence the fence, you’ll be left trying to figure out how to maintanence from the opposite side. Anybody have ideas on how I can secure fence planks from the ugly side?

  28. Tim says:

    Why would you build a privacy fence and then allow the crossbars to be facing outside so people can climb up it and look over into your yard. Kinda ruins the privacy aspect. I have always figured and been taught whoever has the ugly side owns the fence.

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