Fencing your yard can provide greater appeal, privacy, and security for your home and increase your property’s value. Before starting the project, however, it is important to follow certain steps to avoid alienating your neighbors and violating Dallas-Fort Worth building code regulations.

Determining Property Lines Before Fencing Your Yard

First, ensure your property lines are accurate by reviewing your property deed. The document will provide landmarks and descriptions of the property boundaries, which will allow you to mark each with a stake. This will help you avoid legal disputes with your neighbors and issues with regulators.

If you cannot locate your deed or understand its instructions, you can visit the assessor’s office or county recorder for a map of your neighborhood and street. If you have a copy of your property survey, this can also be helpful. If you are uncertain, you can hire a land surveyor to help you establish your property boundaries and identify other features of the landscape that you might not immediately recognize. This will be especially helpful if a dispute arises. It is important to be thorough to prevent issues in the future.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, only cities have the authority to impose zoning ordinance, so you will need to start there. Depending on the project and where the land is located, Dallas County has its own set of regulations, especially if the property is within a floodplain or an unincorporated area.

Dallas & Fort Worth Building Code Compliance for Fencing Your Yard

The City of Dallas has a list of specific requirements for residential fencing, including structural soundness and the fence’s ability to support its own weight. It also requires a master permit and other requirements. Detailed instructions are available on the City of Dallas website.

For Fort Worth, you can find a helpful guideline at the City of Fort Worth website.

If you have trouble understanding the instructions, hiring a contractor to fence your yard for you may be a good solution.

Discuss Fencing Your Yard with Neighbors

As a courtesy, you should advise your neighbors before construction that you will be putting up a fence. By letting your neighbors know in advance, you will prepare them for the visual changes and noise disturbances caused by construction. While you have every right to improve your property, this can prevent disagreements in the long and short term.

Before discussing your plans with the neighbors, it is important to familiarize yourself with Dallas-Fort Worth laws. The law often considers a boundary fence to be the responsibility of both property owners. Violating local laws and entering a legal dispute with a neighbor can cause you to incur substantial legal fees and waste a lot of time.

Direct, non-confrontational, face-to-face discussion is better than a letter. After you have completed your research and developed a plan, arrange a time that is suitable for both of you to sit down and discuss the fence. Plan to discuss the project details unemotionally, but be prepared to listen to and address the other party’s concerns. Work to foster cooperation.

By knowing your rights and responsibilities under the law, you will be able to successfully negotiate, plan, and construct a fence for your property.