Is there a max height that my wooden fence can be?

close-up of a wooden fence

The Importance of Fences

In 1914, Robert Frost coined the phrase, “Good fences make good neighbors.” While Mr. Frost probably didn’t have any idea how fences would evolve over the years, he made a good point. Whether it is nothing more than a chain-link fence to establish boundaries or wooden fences for privacy purposes, fences can accomplish a lot. 

Fast forward to today, and we have fences not only to establish boundaries and provide us with the privacy we are seeking, but for security purposes as well. Fences do the job of keeping people and critters out or in, letting us skinny dip in our swimming pool, or simply tell our neighbors, ‘that’s far enough!’. However, depending on where you live, there are regulations to those fences.

How tall can you build a wooden privacy fence?

The first thing that needs to be done is find out if there are any limitations to fencing where you live. An experienced contractor will know who to call and will follow up with any permits needed to install wooden fences or any type of fencing. 

Fencing regulations are typically established by individual cities. For instance, in Fort Worth, Texas, their rules for building solid wooden fences around the back of your property, it must not be any taller than six feet. If you are seeking taller wooden fences, you must apply for a permit first. 

Front yard wooden fences or any type of fencing cannot be taller than four feet and must have a minimum of 50% open design density. Homes in historic districts of the city are subject to additional regulations and rules. 

What is the maximum height of a fence without planning permission?

In the city of Fort Worth, the maximum height for wooden fences to be installed and not need a permit is six feet. Any higher requires the homeowner or the contractor to request a permit. The city may ask for drawings or sketches to be presented before the permit is issued.

What are the benefits of tall wooden fences?

There are several types of materials for fencing, but wooden fencing is the most popular choice. It offers several benefits that make it such a popular choice: 

  1. Affordable and Durable. Because wooden fencing is made from an abundance of natural materials, the pricing remains to be low when compared to other materials like aluminum, vinyl, or wrought iron. Professionally installed wooden fences that are maintained by the homeowner will last for many years, even decades.
  2. Easy Maintenance: Nothing more than soap and water is needed to clean wooden fences. They can be treated with paint, stain, or a water repellant product and if one board gets warped, it is an easy replacement. 
  3. A Wide Variety: Wooden fences come in several choices of wood including cedar, cypress, pine, redwood, or spruce. These can be painted to match your home or stained to remain a natural color and the styles are almost endless. Choose a board on board or split rail, go with picket or paddock styles. The versatility of wooden fencing can complement almost any setting.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Wood is a renewable resource, making it one of the most environmentally friendly materials for homeowners that is eco-conscious. There is a wide selection of treatments for wooden fences that are environmentally friendly too that will protect it from insects and rot.
  5. Property Value Increases: Wooden fences provide homes privacy and security, something that is important to most home buyers. A home with wooden fences will typically have higher offers from prospective buyers than a home without any fencing. 

How tall can a wood fence be?

There isn’t an industry standard for the height of residential wooden fences height. Most cities have established fence height regulations that homeowners must follow. For backyards, the maximum is typically eight feet and for the front yard, the maximum height is four feet in most cities. 

What is the normal height of a privacy fence?

For privacy wooden fences, the normal height in a backyard is between 6 feet and 8 feet. You or your contractor should call the local governing office and ask, “Can you have an 8 ft tall fence?” and advise them of the type of material you’ll be using. 

How tall is too tall for a fence?

Depending on where you live will determine the answer to this question for wooden fencing, or any type of fencing material. The regulations for fences may also be dictated by historic home society or homeowners’ association to keep the fencing all in the same format for aesthetics. In many municipalities, back wooden fences cannot be any higher than six feet and the front yard fence can’t be any higher than four feet. 

How are wooden fences installed? 

There are panels for wooden fences that can make this easier and are highly recommended! This will assure all of the pickets are the same height. Discuss your fencing plans with your neighbors, check for buried service lines, and make sure you get any permits required, then follow these steps:

  1. Stake Out the Location: Place two wooden stakes in the ground and then run string or twine between them for your fence line. 
  2. Dig the First Post Hole: Start by digging a fence hole with a post-hole digger to the required depth by local regulations. If there isn’t a required depth, half the height of the pole is recommended. Place a fence post in the hole to use for measuring the 8-foot distance to the next post. 
  3. Repeat for all the Post Holes
  4. Add a Base Fill of 4 inches deep: Usually, gravel is used; continue doing this with each post hole you’ve dug.
  5. Add the Concrete: Brace each fence post with 2×4 lumber and check them with a level that they are plumb. Then fill the hole with a quick-setting concrete, stopping so that the concrete is three inches below the ground’s surface. 
  6. Position the Fence Panels: Allow the cement 45 minutes to an hour to drive then start placing the fence panels, using a block to hold them up to the height you want then attach them to the posts with screws. 

Now your new wooden fences are ready to be finished with paint or stained and enjoyed!

wooden fence in front of a blooming tree

Let’s Fence This Off! 

So, what is the maximum height of a fence between neighbors? The answer is that it falls under local governing regulations, though you can expect the maximum height to be between 6 feet and 8 feet for the backyard and typically, 4 feet in the front yard.