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#1: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-10 12:34:46 by roblyn

&lt;<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote in message
news:<a href="mailto:1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com..." target="_blank">1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...</a>
&gt; (cross-posted to alt.home.repair)
&gt;
&gt; I'm hoping to get some advice on
&gt; what to do about erecting some kind of privacy screen or fence along my
&gt; back property line. I have a small lot (1/8 acre) with a 3'+ concrete
&gt; retaining wall along the back edge. My neighbors' yard behind me is
&gt; elevated about 3' from mine. Here is a link to some photos:
&gt; <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/</a>
&gt;
&gt; These neighbors recently removed the privacy hedge (see photos) from
&gt; along their back property line. From our backyard, we now have nothing
&gt; between us and the back of their house, the back of their (ugly)
&gt; strorage shed, and the (busy) street in front of them. The removal of
&gt; this hedge has destroyed the privacy and coziness of our outdoor space.

I had a similar issue, big creeper on neighbours side spreading in to my
back garden. I hacked in to it back to the fence line, a shit load of
pruning, and found that the old fence was a wreck. Rather than a new fence I
put up a medium term temporary option, building a basic frame and putting
weed/brush wood matting over it. I ran this along the rest of the (ugly)
fence line. I am not sure how it looks from my neighbours side but it looks
ok my side. They seem not to have done much their side but that is their
problem. I have planted some fairly quick growing shrubs in front of the
shit section of fence now and they are doing a good job of obscuring it.

One thing you may consider doing is erecting some basic trellis and growing
a creeper up it. The trellis can be higher than 6 foot and would probably
not constitute a fence if you did it right. You can train a fairly quick
growing creeper up it that require pruning twice a year to keep it neat.

rob

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#2: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-10 16:48:25 by jay.luker

(cross-posted to alt.home.repair)

I'm hoping to get some advice on
what to do about erecting some kind of privacy screen or fence along my
back property line. I have a small lot (1/8 acre) with a 3'+ concrete
retaining wall along the back edge. My neighbors' yard behind me is
elevated about 3' from mine. Here is a link to some photos:
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/</a>

These neighbors recently removed the privacy hedge (see photos) from
along their back property line. From our backyard, we now have nothing
between us and the back of their house, the back of their (ugly)
strorage shed, and the (busy) street in front of them. The removal of
this hedge has destroyed the privacy and coziness of our outdoor space.

So here are the some of the options that we've been considering, along
with their respective issues and drawbacks:

Option #1: Erect an eight foot fence along our back line just in front
of the retaining wall.
Problems: our town puts a limit of six feet as the highest fence you
can put on your property line without a variance. Getting a variance in
this town is reputed to be a torturous process. I would argue that
since our yard is three feet lower than the neighbor's yard, we would
really only be putting up a five foot fence, but that's an argument I
would have to make via the variance process. We've thought about just
putting one up anyway and hoping no one notices. But then there's also
the problem of finding a contractor to do the work.

Option #2: Put up a six foot fence and then extend it with some
trellising, a la this method:
<a href="http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/landscape/fence/extend1/lattice.htm" target="_blank"> http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/landscape/fence/extend1/l attice.htm</a>
Problems: seems like a pain and I don't really have time to do the work
myself. Is this really so different from an eight foot fence that a) a
contractor will agree to do it, and b) the town will look the other
way?

Option #3: Offer to pay for a six foot fence on my neighbor's property.

Problems: even if they go for it, they are getting pretty old and
there's no guarantee how much longer they'll be in the house. Still, I
could justify the $2k for a few years of privacy. There's no guarantee
we'll be in our house five years from now either.

Option #4: Put up a privacy screen of 6-8' plantings.
Problems: Our backyard is so small to begin with, losing another 3-4
feet along the back line to a row of plantings would make it
claustrophobic. Plus it's really expensive to buy plantings that big.
Plus we both really hate arborviteas, which is the only plant that
anyone seems to recommend for this kind of thing in our climate
(Massachusetts).

One last question related to the fencing options: should I be concerned
about negatively affecting the integrity and stability of the retaining
wall if I'm digging four foot deep post holes directly in front of (or
behind) it?

Thanks a ton for any feedback or suggestions,
Jay L.

Report this message

#3: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-10 18:07:15 by airborne

&lt;<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote in message
news:<a href="mailto:1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com..." target="_blank">1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...</a>
&gt; (cross-posted to alt.home.repair)
&gt;
&gt; I'm hoping to get some advice on
&gt; what to do about erecting some kind of privacy screen or fence along my
&gt; back property line. I have a small lot (1/8 acre) with a 3'+ concrete
&gt; retaining wall along the back edge.

Do you own the wall or do they?

Report this message

#4: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-10 18:33:51 by bill

I would go for the variance. You have before and after pictures, and that
should help your case. Just because it may be a pain in the ass, it might
work out in the long run. Also, the people that would allow the variance,
may or may not be in a good mood when someone else asked about one. That may
be the reason you heard, &quot;Getting a variance in this town is reputed to be a
torturous process&quot;.


--
remove one of the @'s unless you are a spammer.
&lt;<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote in message
news:<a href="mailto:1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com..." target="_blank">1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...</a>
&gt; (cross-posted to alt.home.repair)
&gt;
&gt; I'm hoping to get some advice on
&gt; what to do about erecting some kind of privacy screen or fence along my
&gt; back property line. I have a small lot (1/8 acre) with a 3'+ concrete
&gt; retaining wall along the back edge. My neighbors' yard behind me is
&gt; elevated about 3' from mine. Here is a link to some photos:
&gt; <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/</a>
&gt;
&gt; These neighbors recently removed the privacy hedge (see photos) from
&gt; along their back property line. From our backyard, we now have nothing
&gt; between us and the back of their house, the back of their (ugly)
&gt; strorage shed, and the (busy) street in front of them. The removal of
&gt; this hedge has destroyed the privacy and coziness of our outdoor space.
&gt;
&gt; So here are the some of the options that we've been considering, along
&gt; with their respective issues and drawbacks:
&gt;
&gt; Option #1: Erect an eight foot fence along our back line just in front
&gt; of the retaining wall.
&gt; Problems: our town puts a limit of six feet as the highest fence you
&gt; can put on your property line without a variance. Getting a variance in
&gt; this town is reputed to be a torturous process. I would argue that
&gt; since our yard is three feet lower than the neighbor's yard, we would
&gt; really only be putting up a five foot fence, but that's an argument I
&gt; would have to make via the variance process. We've thought about just
&gt; putting one up anyway and hoping no one notices. But then there's also
&gt; the problem of finding a contractor to do the work.
&gt;
&gt; Option #2: Put up a six foot fence and then extend it with some
&gt; trellising, a la this method:
&gt; <a href="http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/landscape/fence/extend1/lattice.htm" target="_blank"> http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/landscape/fence/extend1/l attice.htm</a>
&gt; Problems: seems like a pain and I don't really have time to do the work
&gt; myself. Is this really so different from an eight foot fence that a) a
&gt; contractor will agree to do it, and b) the town will look the other
&gt; way?
&gt;
&gt; Option #3: Offer to pay for a six foot fence on my neighbor's property.
&gt;
&gt; Problems: even if they go for it, they are getting pretty old and
&gt; there's no guarantee how much longer they'll be in the house. Still, I
&gt; could justify the $2k for a few years of privacy. There's no guarantee
&gt; we'll be in our house five years from now either.
&gt;
&gt; Option #4: Put up a privacy screen of 6-8' plantings.
&gt; Problems: Our backyard is so small to begin with, losing another 3-4
&gt; feet along the back line to a row of plantings would make it
&gt; claustrophobic. Plus it's really expensive to buy plantings that big.
&gt; Plus we both really hate arborviteas, which is the only plant that
&gt; anyone seems to recommend for this kind of thing in our climate
&gt; (Massachusetts).
&gt;
&gt; One last question related to the fencing options: should I be concerned
&gt; about negatively affecting the integrity and stability of the retaining
&gt; wall if I'm digging four foot deep post holes directly in front of (or
&gt; behind) it?
&gt;
&gt; Thanks a ton for any feedback or suggestions,
&gt; Jay L.
&gt;

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#5: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-11 12:56:39 by jay.luker

airborne wrote:
&gt; &lt;<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote in message
&gt; news:<a href="mailto:1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com..." target="_blank">1152542905.490970.41990&#64;b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...</a>
&gt; &gt; (cross-posted to alt.home.repair)
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; I'm hoping to get some advice on
&gt; &gt; what to do about erecting some kind of privacy screen or fence along my
&gt; &gt; back property line. I have a small lot (1/8 acre) with a 3'+ concrete
&gt; &gt; retaining wall along the back edge.
&gt;
&gt; Do you own the wall or do they?

The assumption is that they own the wall, i.e., it is on their
property. 95% certainty, but we do not have an up-to-date plot plan
($1000 for the surveying in these parts). I should probably get the
plot plan anyway.

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#6: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-11 13:01:33 by jay.luker

George.com wrote:

&gt; One thing you may consider doing is erecting some basic trellis and growing
&gt; a creeper up it. The trellis can be higher than 6 foot and would probably
&gt; not constitute a fence if you did it right. You can train a fairly quick
&gt; growing creeper up it that require pruning twice a year to keep it neat.

Yes, I've thought about the trellis vs. fence option. I'm not sure what
the criteria are for determining if a trellis constitutes a &quot;fence&quot;.
The local code only makes reference to fences.

Report this message

#7: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-11 14:12:23 by trader4

<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a> wrote:
&gt; George.com wrote:
&gt;
&gt; &gt; One thing you may consider doing is erecting some basic trellis and growing
&gt; &gt; a creeper up it. The trellis can be higher than 6 foot and would probably
&gt; &gt; not constitute a fence if you did it right. You can train a fairly quick
&gt; &gt; growing creeper up it that require pruning twice a year to keep it neat.
&gt;
&gt; Yes, I've thought about the trellis vs. fence option. I'm not sure what
&gt; the criteria are for determining if a trellis constitutes a &quot;fence&quot;.
&gt; The local code only makes reference to fences.


First, you have my sympathy. Your neighbor is an idiot. Where I
live, I have a 1 acre lot. The neighbor behind my house has a similar
size lot, maybe a little bigger, with a 9000 sq ft house on it. This
dummy took all the trees on the lot out right up to his property line.
There is a buffer of natural trees of about 25 ft on my side. That's
how the situation was when I bought it. It's OK right now, but if he
had any sense or decency, he would have left at least 10 or 15 ft ft on
his side too. If I or a future owner ever take out all the trees on my
side, we too would be staring at each other. Had he done the right
thing, and shared creating a buffer, I could take out some of the
trees, have more open space, without creating a problem for both of us.


In your case, my first choice would be to use arbovitae or similar to
create a screen. They can take up a lot less than 3-4 ft, especially
if you just trim them occasionally. I have them planted between my
garage and sidewalk, in a narrow planting bed that can't be more than 2
ft wide and they work fine there. They are easily 7 ft tall now.

If you don't want to go that route, then I'd apply for the variance.
It really shouldn't be that difficult. Typically, for this kind of
thing, you have to fill out some forms, supply drawings, explanation,
notify all property owners withing a certain distance, and pay a filing
fee. At a public hearing, the board takes any input, then renders a
decision.

I would likely talk to the neighbor behind you as long as you have no
reason to think they will object. If they are supportive, that could
be critical. At best have them show up to support you or provide a
letter. At least make sure they don't object.

The comments about a variance being difficult depend entirely on what
one is seeking. For example, if you are trying to get a variance for a
non-conforming use on a property, that will be far more difficult,
require engineering work, etc. What you are requesting is very
simple, straightforward and reasonable.

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#8: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-11 14:22:45 by roblyn

&lt;<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote in message
news:<a href="mailto:1152615693.590255.222530&#64;75g2000cwc.googlegroups.com..." target="_blank">1152615693.590255.222530&#64;75g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...</a>
&gt;
&gt; George.com wrote:
&gt;
&gt; &gt; One thing you may consider doing is erecting some basic trellis and
growing
&gt; &gt; a creeper up it. The trellis can be higher than 6 foot and would
probably
&gt; &gt; not constitute a fence if you did it right. You can train a fairly quick
&gt; &gt; growing creeper up it that require pruning twice a year to keep it neat.
&gt;
&gt; Yes, I've thought about the trellis vs. fence option. I'm not sure what
&gt; the criteria are for determining if a trellis constitutes a &quot;fence&quot;.
&gt; The local code only makes reference to fences.

something lightweight that isn't solid should be distinguishable enough. I
am thinking of a bean trellis type set up, maybe made from piping with wire
mesh. Easy to train a creeper up that and it will hide the structure in
time. Build it a foot or so in on your side and it is then not right on the
boundary.

rob

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#9: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-11 20:03:04 by The Other Funk

Finding the keyboard operational
<a href="mailto:jay.luker&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">jay.luker&#64;gmail.com</a> entered:

&gt; (cross-posted to alt.home.repair)
&gt;
&gt; I'm hoping to get some advice on
&gt; what to do about erecting some kind of privacy screen or fence along
&gt; my back property line. I have a small lot (1/8 acre) with a 3'+
&gt; concrete retaining wall along the back edge. My neighbors' yard
&gt; behind me is elevated about 3' from mine. Here is a link to some
&gt; photos: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/37849137@N00/</a>
&gt;
&gt; These neighbors recently removed the privacy hedge (see photos) from
&gt; along their back property line. From our backyard, we now have nothing
&gt; between us and the back of their house, the back of their (ugly)
&gt; strorage shed, and the (busy) street in front of them. The removal of
&gt; this hedge has destroyed the privacy and coziness of our outdoor
&gt; space.
&gt;
&gt; So here are the some of the options that we've been considering, along
&gt; with their respective issues and drawbacks:
&gt;
&gt; Option #1: Erect an eight foot fence along our back line just in front
&gt; of the retaining wall.
&gt; Problems: our town puts a limit of six feet as the highest fence you
&gt; can put on your property line without a variance. Getting a variance
&gt; in this town is reputed to be a torturous process. I would argue that
&gt; since our yard is three feet lower than the neighbor's yard, we would
&gt; really only be putting up a five foot fence, but that's an argument I
&gt; would have to make via the variance process. We've thought about just
&gt; putting one up anyway and hoping no one notices. But then there's also
&gt; the problem of finding a contractor to do the work.
&gt;
&gt; Option #2: Put up a six foot fence and then extend it with some
&gt; trellising, a la this method:
&gt; <a href="http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/landscape/fence/extend1/lattice.htm" target="_blank"> http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/landscape/fence/extend1/l attice.htm</a>
&gt; Problems: seems like a pain and I don't really have time to do the
&gt; work myself. Is this really so different from an eight foot fence
&gt; that a) a contractor will agree to do it, and b) the town will look
&gt; the other way?
&gt;
&gt; Option #3: Offer to pay for a six foot fence on my neighbor's
&gt; property.
&gt;
&gt; Problems: even if they go for it, they are getting pretty old and
&gt; there's no guarantee how much longer they'll be in the house. Still, I
&gt; could justify the $2k for a few years of privacy. There's no guarantee
&gt; we'll be in our house five years from now either.
&gt;
&gt; Option #4: Put up a privacy screen of 6-8' plantings.
&gt; Problems: Our backyard is so small to begin with, losing another 3-4
&gt; feet along the back line to a row of plantings would make it
&gt; claustrophobic. Plus it's really expensive to buy plantings that big.
&gt; Plus we both really hate arborviteas, which is the only plant that
&gt; anyone seems to recommend for this kind of thing in our climate
&gt; (Massachusetts).
&gt;
&gt; One last question related to the fencing options: should I be
&gt; concerned about negatively affecting the integrity and stability of
&gt; the retaining wall if I'm digging four foot deep post holes directly
&gt; in front of (or behind) it?
&gt;
&gt; Thanks a ton for any feedback or suggestions,
&gt; Jay L.
For some reason, I can't access the pictures
Just a semi-serious suggestion if you can't get a variance. Install a 3'
high retaining wall on you side of the property with a 6&quot; space between
their existing and your new walls. Then fill the space with dirt and put in
a 6' fence. What you have done is raised a portion of your yard and
shouldn't count as fence.
BTW, do you have any drainage problems due to the wall? That might help you
if you can use correcting the drainage as part of the solution to the view.
Bob
--
--
Coffee worth staying up for - NY Times
www.moondoggiecoffee.com

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#10: Re: Help with privacy fence options

Posted on 2006-07-22 12:49:12 by Ken Douglas

On 11 Jul 2006 05:12:23 -0700, <a href="mailto:trader4&#64;optonline.net" target="_blank">trader4&#64;optonline.net</a> wrote:
&gt;First, you have my sympathy. Your neighbor is an idiot. Where I
&gt;live, I have a 1 acre lot. The neighbor behind my house has a similar
&gt;size lot, maybe a little bigger, with a 9000 sq ft house on it. This
&gt;dummy took all the trees on the lot out right up to his property line.
&gt; There is a buffer of natural trees of about 25 ft on my side. That's
&gt;how the situation was when I bought it. It's OK right now, but if he
&gt;had any sense or decency, he would have left at least 10 or 15 ft ft on
&gt;his side too. If I or a future owner ever take out all the trees on my
&gt;side, we too would be staring at each other. Had he done the right
&gt;thing, and shared creating a buffer, I could take out some of the
&gt;trees, have more open space, without creating a problem for both of us.

I feel your pain because I am in the exact same situation. Young,
aggressive, expansionist neighbors on three sides have cut down
practically ALL of their own trees (and many of mine) and now consider
my land as their own land's buffer (and yard waste dumping) zone. This
problem has been going on for a few years now. The old neighbors
valued peace, quiet and privacy. The new neighbors apparently only
value cleared land. I truly wish I understood their logic.

The only real answer is going to be a definitive property line survey
with permanent markings and a sturdy six foot chain link fence backed
up on my side with some tall, fast-growing shrubs. I fear they would
literally destroy a wooden stockade fence (to re-achieve that &quot;open&quot;
feeling) just like they destroyed the trees. It would only take one
match.

Ironically, the surveyors and fence installers can only gain good
access to the property line with their equipment by using the evil
neighbor's yards... setting up a real &quot;Catch-22&quot; situation as we are
not exactly the best of friends. How ironic that to re-establish my
lost privacy, I will probably need to clear out a ton of trees and
other natural privacy cover from my own land.

Kenny

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