Everything You Need to Know About Privacy Fences

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated April 6, 2022
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There’s an old saying that fences make good neighbors, and if you love a bit of time to yourself, then a privacy fence may be the best neighbor for you. These types of fences help you create a sense of retreat and oasis even if you’re living on a busy thoroughfare. Find out if a privacy fence is a good choice for your home or yard.

What’s a Privacy Fence?

Many homeowners opt for privacy fences, so they can feel more comfortable hanging out in their yard, knowing it’s not in the direct view of neighbors or passersby. These fences can come in a wide array of materials, which we’ll get into shortly. 

In order to qualify as a privacy fence, a fence has to be between 4 and 6 feet tall. Privacy fences don’t have much space (if any) between their slates. Some privacy fences come with latticework at the top to make it possible for homeowners to look out at eye level while standing.

backyard wood fence
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To Build or Not to Build a Privacy Fence? The Pros and Cons

It’s not all sweet solitude and butterflies behind that fence. Indeed, there are plenty of benefits to building a privacy fence, but there are some drawbacks, too.

Pros

Privacy: You guessed it! This is a major perk of adding a privacy fence to your property (in case the name didn’t give it away). No more nosy neighbors peeking in on your private outdoor dinner. 

Curb Appeal: If done right, a privacy fence can look fantastic and boost your home’s curb appeal. And we all know how much curb appeal helps to increase your home’s value

Increased Security: Even if your privacy fence is made of simple wood or vinyl, it can deter would-be thieves and vandals from entering your property. Similarly, the fence will likely keep kids and dogs safe inside, and keep wild animals out of your yard.

Noise Reduction: It may not filter out all the sounds of the city, but adding a privacy fence can help reduce noise from the street.

Cons

Cost: Depending on the type of fencing material you decide to use, and how many linear feet of fencing you need, building a fence can be pricey. Privacy fences cost between $1,500 and $8,000, depending on size and style.

Maintenance: Regardless of whether the fence is made of wood, aluminum, or metal, you’ll have to perform routine maintenance on your privacy fence. That means regular washing, and even power washing every few years. If you don’t maintain the fence, it’ll turn into an eyesore. 

Offended Neighbors: We know you’re trying to keep the looky-loos at bay, but let’s not forget there are people with feelings on the other side of that privacy fence. It may be a good idea to talk to your neighbors ahead of time, so they aren’t caught off guard or offended when you build your private oasis.

Landscaping Obstacle: Depending on where your privacy fence is located, it may create a bit of a challenge when it’s time to do yard work. You have to work around your fencing when you need to weed, mow, edge, or plant flowers.

What Materials Are Used to Make Privacy Fences?

You have a lot of choices for materials when building a privacy fence. There’s wood, sure, but did you know you could use vinyl or even veggies to act as your privacy fence?

Concrete, Brick, or Other Stone

If you’re looking for the ultimate privacy, brick, stone, or concrete are all smart picks. That said, while brickwork and stone can make for a beautiful decorative piece in your yard, concrete, while equally effective, isn’t always at the top of everyone’s aesthetic wishlist. All these options are low-maintenance, durable, and make it harder for animals to access the rest of your property.

Vinyl

Vinyl is a great material for a privacy fence for a couple of reasons: it’s durable, and because it never needs to be repainted, it’s low-maintenance, too. Vinyl privacy fences cost more than some other options, but that’s because you’re paying for durability and the guarantee that your fence will last a long time. They are secure, but may not be as tough as stone, brick, wood, or concrete.

Wood

If a natural look is what you crave, you can’t go wrong with a wooden privacy fence. These fences are easy to install and affordable, but you’ll pay more for maintenance down the line. That’s because wood rots, especially if exposed to moisture, and let’s face it, your fence is going to see a lot of water.

Vegetation

If you’re looking for something a little less conventional, you can try using vegetation instead of an actual fence to get the seclusion you crave for your property. Consult a local landscaping professional who can advise you on what trees and bushes would flourish in your area and provide ample privacy from curious neighbors. Keep in mind that vegetation is living, so you’ll have to care for the plants that make up your fence.

Can You See Through a Privacy Fence?

Privacy fences are characterized by their height and the lack of space between fencing slats. Because these fences are so tall, you cannot see through them unless latticework is at the top. The lack of space between slats means peeping through them is a no-go (the exception possibly being vegetation). If you’re looking for a fence but want to see through it, opt for other fencing alternatives.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Privacy Fence?

Depending on the type of material, width, and height of the fence, the price of installing a new privacy fence will range between $1,500 to $8,000.

The average privacy fence runs about 150 linear feet. But you should measure your property line to know exactly how long yours will be. You’ll pay roughly $35 per linear foot on average.

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