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How Tall Should Your New Fence Be?

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If you're getting ready to install a fence, and you've narrowed it down to materials and style, the next step is to determine the height you need. A lot of cities have laws that prevent anything over six feet tall, and if you belong to a Homeowner's Association, you'll want to check with them as well. After that, it simply comes down to esthetics and functionality. Whether you go with aluminum, wood, or vinyl, here are some quick and easy tips to determine how tall your fence should be.


Most short fences that are 3-4 feet in height are perfect for those who want to establish a barrier in a decorative or non-obtrusive way. They are ideal for front yards or small back yards, garden areas, and smaller patios. They can also be added to the top of a brick or stone wall as an eye-catching accent. And as long as it's at least two feet tall, it can be placed around a swimming pool. If you go with an aluminum or other type fence with bars, be sure the spaces are no more than 1 ¾ inches wide.

Three- and four-foot fences are also great for barricading both small dogs and large dogs whose mobility may be restricted due to age, joint problems, or arthritis. If you're using the fence for a small dog that likes to dig, be sure it's installed at least six inches deep, or look into some stone or brick hardscaping along the inside of the fence. Keep in mind that a fence this short won't keep certain animals out, like the neighbor's unruly dog or deer.

The only time a short fence is ill advised is if there's a drop off beyond the enclosed area. Three to four feet isn't tall enough to prevent a particularly tall adult from falling over the edge should they back into it and lose their balance.


A fence that's five feet in height puts you in good "security" territory for a couple of reasons. Because most adults are an average of 5'4"-5'9", a fence this tall is still easy for most people to see over, but it's much more difficult to climb than the shorter fences.

If you're looking to primarily use it for pets, five feet is tall enough to deter most large dogs, while six feet is almost impossible for any canine to jump over. Keep in mind that some clever dogs can learn how to climb, particularly if you have a chain-link fence. So be sure to keep your fence line clear of any objects your furry friend can use to escape.

Six-foot fences are common in larger estates around the entire perimeter of the property for added security. A fence this tall is exceptionally difficult for anyone to climb over.


Due to the fact that a fence over six feet in height could violate a number of city or state laws, they are typically only installed in a select few situations.

If your back yard has a perfect view of a busy road or highway, you could ask for special permission to install a taller-than-average privacy fence to help block the noise and unsightly traffic. But if your house happens to have this view in the front, you may not be able to make any reparations. Tall fences are generally not allowed in front yards because they could block a driver's view of a child getting ready to dart out into the street or prevent them from seeing some pedestrians crossing right around the corner.

Another reason homeowners try to get permission for a taller fence is when unwelcome deer are coming onto their property. However, most deer can jump more than 8 feet high, so it's best to look at some other preventative measures, like blocking the deer's ability to see inside your yard, attaching netting at the top of the fence, or planting a row of bushes behind the fence, making it more difficult to jump.

If you're dealing with a difficult or loud neighbor and wishing to erect an incredibly tall spite fence, be aware that this is heavily frowned upon and could land you in some hot water. The best way to deal with the situation is to keep the fence height legal and reasonable and go for a privacy fence instead. 

For more information and advice, contact a fencing company like Affordable Fence & Screen.