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Gap Between Neighbor’s Fences: What to Do?

Gap Between Neighbor’s Fences: What to Do?

Perhaps you’re planning to set up a new fence around your property, but you’re unsure of how to utilize the space between your neighbor’s fence and yours. Wouldn’t it be great to turn that empty gap into something more exciting?

The possibilities are endless! And yes, you don’t have to risk a feud with your neighbor! So, in this article, we’ll explore some creative, fun, and unique ideas to turn the gap between your neighbor’s fences and yours into something special.

But just before we get to that, let’s take a step back and consider whether you – or your neighbor – really needs to set up another fence in the first place when theres already an existing one!

Can My Neighbor Use My Fence?

Whether your neighbor can use your fence depends on three factors – the location of the fence, the laws in your area, and whether they have your consent. If you aren’t in any agreement with your neighbor and aren’t sure about what the municipal bylaws say on fence sharing, check on your area’s codes before talking to the neighbor.

Before I proceed, it’s worth mentioning that different states have different interpretations of the word “use” when it comes to fencing.

To some states, it’s occupancy, to mean that the neighbor is using their land up to the fence. 

To others, it means joining, or simply hooking up another fence to the already existing boundary fence. In this case, the neighbor sets up their own fence running parallel to yours, but still attach it to yours for some support or something.

The third and last meaning is that of making your boundary fence serve as part of the enclosure for their property. In this scenario, the neighbor uses your fence to complement their own fence. In other words, your fence is what completes the perimeter fencing for their home. 

Now, lets get back to our question – can your neighbor “use” your fence? 

The answer is: It depends.

If your fence is on the side of your property, meaning that it’s at least a few inches from the property line into your property, then your neighbor has no business using it. The fence is within your property, and any attempt to use it, especially without your consent becomes encroanchment. 

If you installed the fence on the property line, the neighbor has the right to use what’s on their side of the fence (if at all there is). After all, it’s within their property!

But if the fence you installed runs perfectly along the property line, you remain the owner of it and are fully responsible for its maintenance unless the neighbor wants to use it. In case they express their willingness to use it, most city codes and laws state that they can, but they should refund one-half of the cost incurred in the installation of the fence, again unless your agreement states otherwise.

Once they refund or have agreed to share, the fence becomes a co-responsibility of the two of you, meaning that any maintenance and reconstruction costs in the future should be split between you.

But of course, your agreement with your neighbor is what’s most important. As long as you are willing that your neighbor uses your fence, it can be done.

If you don’t get along with your neighbor and aren’t willing to associate with them on any level, then, if you’d constructed the fence on the property line, you’ll have to pull it down and reconstruct it within your property.

They too will need to keep their fence within their own lot, which means that the property line will remain a “no man’s land” in this case!

What To Do With Gap Between Fences?

What to do with the gap between fences will depend on the size of the gap. You can bar it up, spread gravel on it, convert it into a small garden, among other uses. Only ensure that you’re aware of how much of a gap you should use to avoid any future disputes.

In some states, you have to keep everything a few inches from the property line to your side, so check your state’s laws before you move ahead with any plan.

But if the codes state that you can build a fence on the property line, then you can use any gap between the property line and your fence, assuming that you installed the fence on your side of the property line.

Here are some ideas on how to use that void:

Bar It Up

One of the greatest ways to close the gap between fences is to run a metal bar along the entire length of the fence. You don’t need to keep it tall, bars a few inches tall shoved to the ground should do. Just ensure that the metal bars are noticeable to avoid any accidents.

Grow a Garden

If you have a lot of room between the fences or the property line, why not create a garden there? It’s one of the greatest ideas to use the gap, and it will spruce up the area! One thing, though, ensure that you keep them trimmed so that they don’t cross to your neighbor’s property!

Gravel It Up

Using gravel to fill the gap is one of the best options. Gravel will not only hide any weed growth but also keep critters from crawling underneath the fence. Plus, it will provide a neat and clean look. It’s easy to install and maintain and can be a great way to close the gap.

Run Bricks Along The Length

If the amount of space isn’t much, one of the things you can do is set up bricks along the length of the fence. This will create a uniform look and also make sure that nothing grows in between the gap. Plus, you can use the bricks for other purposes, such as to hold the fence in place.

Try a Wall

If there’s a big gap or if you want to create something special, why not try erecting a wall in the gap? It doesn’t have to match the height of your fence, a few feet tall wall should do. This will look attractive and also provide an element of privacy.

Things To Know While Installing The Fence

Before you install the fence, ensure that it isn’t breaching any city codes or laws. It’s best to check with your local authorities before installing the fence to avoid any future disputes. Otherwise, you may be fined and asked to take it down.

If installing on the property line, it’s advisable to also alert your neighbor of your intentions and get their approval. This will guarantee that both of you are on the same page, and any disputes in the future can be avoided. Sometimes they may also like the idea and express their willingness to share the cost of the fence.

Additionally, have your boundary lines surveyed before installing the fence or closing the gap. This will ensure that you are aware of what’s on your side and what’s off-limits.

Finally, know what kind of fence you need to install. Some areas may have restrictions on the kind of fence you can install, so it’s best to research that before making any investments. That will help you avoid any costly mistakes.

How To Fill The Gap Between a Fence Post and a House?

If there’s a gap between the fence post and your house, you can use different materials to fill it up. You can build a patio platform, use it for potted plants, add hedge vegetation, among other ways. The possibilities go as far as your creativity takes you.

The space between a house and a fence post can be quite tricky. But thankfully, there are lots of ways to make good use of it. But whatever you choose, ensure it coordinates well with the fence and the rest of your house so it doesn’t look too out of place.

Here are some of the ideas you can try:

Plant a Low-growing Hedge Vegetation

Yes, you can grow and maintain a few varieties of low-growing hedge vegetation. It’s one of the most attractive ways to fill the gap between a post and a house. This also provides privacy and spruces up the scenery! Garden privet, Ligustrum vulgare, and Taxus baccata are some of the best hedge plants that you can consider.

Set Up a Patio Platform

If you want to build a platform, ensure that it’s not too high. A few feet tall should do the trick. This will provide an additional place to relax and enjoy the view.

Fill It Up With Potted Plants

If you want to use the space for gardening purposes other than hedge vegetation, potted plants can be used to fill the gap. You can use different kinds of plants and make the space look more attractive.

Install Landscaping Stones

Another good option is to use landscaping pebble stones. This will create a neat and visually appealing look and also prevent any weed growth. You can even be a bit more creative and develop some artistic patterns with the stone pieces to make the place more inviting.

Add Gravel

As with the space between fences, you can also fill the void between your fence post and house with gravel. This is ideal if you also want to keep the weeds away. Plus, adding this material will also reinforce the foundation of your fence post and provide it with extra stability.

Ideal Gap Size Between Fences

The perfect gap size between your fence and your neighbor’s depends on what the law in your area dictates. In some states, a shared fence on the property line is fine, so the gap won’t be there in the first place. However, in others, you can only set up your fence a few inches or feet from the property line.

So, before you build your fence, make sure to research the laws in your area and find out what’s allowed. This will help you avoid any fines or disputes with your neighbor later down the line.

Can You Build a Fence Right Next To Another Fence?

Yes, you can build a fence right next to another one. Your neighbor’s fence remains theirs as long as it’s on their property. They can remove or bring it down at their will. So, if you can set up your own without having to rely on theirs, go right ahead and do it.

But if they have erected the fence on the property line and you intend to make it a shared fence, talk to them about it. Once they agree to make it joint, they’ll lose the right to bring it down anytime they want, but at the expense of you sharing the costs for building and maintenance.

Should a Fence Have Gaps?

While it’s not a requirement by law that fences should have gaps, having some on your fence is advisable. Gaps in fences allow increased air circulation, better wind protection, and more room for expansion.

So, while the law doesn’t demand it, opting for a fence with gaps between its posts is recommended for more efficient functionality and longer life.

But then again, ensure that you don’t leave plenty of voids between the posts. That will downplay the fence’s original purpose, which is to provide you with the necessary privacy and security.

Keep the gap small enough to prevent pets and kids from getting through it. You can as well consult your municipal’s building codes and regulations to get more clarity on the ideal gap size.

Final Verdict

The gap between your fence and that of your neighbor is a common challenge among many homeowners. Fortunately, there are various ways to fill it and make it more functional and visually appealing. It all depends on the level of your creativity.

But then, before you set up anything in between, check the laws and codes of your area. It will allow you to deal with the gap within the confines of the law and save you from any potential disputes.