Keeping prying eyes and nosy neighbors out of your backyard business is important. A privacy fence is the first line of defense in that regard.
Privacy fences allow you to spend time with your family without the worry of uninvited guests eavesdropping on your Saturday barbeque. Installing one is more than just adding aesthetically pleasing planks of wood. It’s a carefully orchestrated process that, if done correctly, can save you money and headache for years to come.
With so many options and things to consider, you might be wondering what’s the ideal privacy fence height for your requirements.
A 6 ft privacy fence is the most common variant and also sufficient for most homes. It offers a good balance between effectiveness and cost. If you have pets that can jump over, want to deter intruders more effectively, or simply want even more peace of mind, an 8 ft privacy fence should be the better option for you.
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How Do I Determine What I Need from a Privacy Fence?
You own your home and thus rightfully deserve to own your outdoor space as well. Sometimes this calls for adding additional boundaries to be put into place. This article will guide you through some of the preliminary steps to figuring out your fence installation and how to determine which privacy fence height is ideal.
Evaluate Your Surroundings
My neighbors on either side and the rear of my home are close. Living in a subdivision-style neighborhood we are not necessarily right on top of each other, but if you listen really closely, you can hear a little too much of the family gossip.
Single-story homes with minimal trees and shrubs on the property lines gave us some wiggle room on our options without any landscape removal or groundwork.
Consider your personal situation:
- Does your neighborhood comprise single or multi-level homes?
- How much land altering will need to be done?
- What is the perimeter length you will need?
Learn the Rules and Regulations
Most neighborhoods are going to have an established HOA (Homeowners Association). With these organized groups also comes additional rules that a homeowner must adhere to.
Rules like maintaining a particular look and feel that is harmonious with the rest of the properties. In some cases, the fence may also fall into a joint responsibility with adjacent properties. This will require some sort of agreement and cooperation with adjoining homeowners.
What is the Purpose?
Having some clear expectations and problems to solve with your fence installation will help determine your needed height.
For example, while my neighborhood only has single-level homes, I have two large breed dogs that I need to keep enclosed. Without the dogs, a 6 ft fence would more than sufficient. However, with the pets, I knew a higher fence would serve my needs better in the long term.
When I was deciding on my ideal fence height, one factor that didn’t come so obvious to me was intruders. This dawned on me later in my process, but it really helped me decide on the height.
With the average height of a female being 5’4” and a male being 5’9” in the United States, a 6 ft privacy fence was just barely high enough to be a challenge. With an 8 ft fence, your level of deterrence is much higher.
This also plays a role in the material type that you choose. Fencing is normally priced on a linear foot basis; however, with the additional height also comes additional cost per linear foot of the material. This was confusing at first because when I was quoted for linear footage, I assumed perimeter length was all that would affect the cost of the material.
As a homeowner, I never do anything to my home that isn’t going to add value to it. Whether that is personal value or equity value. Another consideration when deciding on privacy fence height is to think about the long-term residual benefit the fence will provide your property.
Many times, the long-term value increase that a fence may provide to your property will more than cover the initial upfront expense of installing the fence. When considering this factor, you may choose to increase your budget a bit more and add some height to your fence.
So What Height is Ideal for a Privacy Fence?
At the end of the day, it will come down to a combination of factors that we have previously touched on in this article. The key is to ensure that your needs are met by your decisions and to not lock yourself into a costly investment that you will be unhappy with in the future.
The 6 ft Option
A 6 ft privacy fence is known as the “gold” standard and is probably what you and most others will recognize in a backyard. At 6 ft, many of the needs of a person looking for a privacy fence can be met and, in some cases, exceeded.
Almost all HOA and building codes are going to recognize and honor 6 ft as an acceptable height for a privacy fence.
When it comes to cost per linear foot, you may find that the 6 ft fence yields a lower overall investment and possibly even more options to choose from. Material availability and customization may also be more accessible.
For example, there are plenty of cheap 6 ft options on Amazon, such as this one, while the options are limited when it comes to 8 ft privacy fences or screens.
The 8 ft Option
Some may call it excessive, but I call it my personal choice. I personally decided on the 8 ft fence for many reasons that just made sense.
I knew that the backyard privacy I desired would be taken care of by the 6 ft fence to a point. However, when it came down to keeping our pets in and intruders out, spending a little bit of extra money for the extra height seemed like a reasonable choice.
Additionally, the cost difference to us was marginal when we broke it down. Install cost did not increase as it was already factored in at linear feet. The only price increase we assumed was material cost.
While there was a barely noticeable difference in the available options for an 8 ft fence regarding materials, custom cuts, and entryways I did not feel that I was with a lack of choice. There were still plenty of options to choose from which allowed me to come away with a choice I am happy with.
A Modular Alternative
There are what are known as privacy fence height extensions that can be placed on top of your existing privacy fence to increase its height. For those who may choose to “try” out a 6 ft fence option, you don’t have to be locked into it forever.
Now understand that the extensions do not come without their own set of drawbacks, and I encourage you to do some research on them before you choose to go in that route.
If you are the “I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it” type, then I suggest you go with what I consider the ideal privacy fence height, which is 8 ft. It is big but it makes a statement and if done correctly will provide your home with protection, aesthetics, and value that will have your neighbors envious af.