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How do I break it to my neighbours that we are building a fence? UPDATE - Page 3

post #41 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
It depends on the fence. If it's a 6 ft fence, then the neighbor is absolutely making a statement that they don't want to see their neighbors. I will reiterate, they have that RIGHT, it's just not very neighborly.
They're "absolutely" making that statement? On what planet? Maybe they just like their privacy. Maybe they don't want potential burglars to be easily able to see into their home. (We have a 6' fence on our back patio - was there when we moved in - and I like it, because it would be difficult for someone to come over and steal our bikes and stuff.) Maybe they like to have sex in their front yard in the middle of the night. Maybe they like to throw a frisbee around and don't want to have to chase it into the street very five minutes.

A fence is a fence. It can be a statement. That doesn't mean it is one.
post #42 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
A fence is a fence. It can be a statement. That doesn't mean it is one.
post #43 of 94
Quote:
Having a pool with a hole in the fence sends a message to your neighbors. "I don't care if your kids drown."
Exactly my point. The neighbors took an action without explaining anything to the other neighbors directly affected by the action. So one can only guess at the motive. I seriously doubt they have no concern about kids drowning and it would have been considerate of them to have explained their actions. There may be a legitimate reason why they did what they did, one the OP does not know.

On the other hand, they may be inconsiderate jerks. So then the question is: does being uninformative and inconsiderate back at them help the situation?
post #44 of 94
Quote:
I guess I feel as if I don't need the neighbor's blessing to do with what I want on my property (barring an HOA situation). I may casually inform them that a fence will be going up during a certain time frame but I would not feel like I needed their approval to continue. Good fences make good neighbors.
Ahh but you missed the heart of Frost's poem.

"He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence."
post #45 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
Exactly my point. The neighbors took an action without explaining anything to the other neighbors directly affected by the action. So one can only guess at the motive. I seriously doubt they have no concern about kids drowning and it would have been considerate of them to have explained their actions. There may be a legitimate reason why they did what they did, one the OP does not know.

On the other hand, they may be inconsiderate jerks. So then the question is: does being uninformative and inconsiderate back at them help the situation?
The neighbors have fences. They have fences with holes, but they have fences. So they have no business getting weird about anyone else building a fence.

And Frost himself said that if there were cows a fence makes sense. Small children are certainly more important than cows and just as likely to wander off.

The reason for a fence should be obvious and making a special effort to bring it up to the neighbors would run the risk of implying that there was anything to take offense to and/or that the neighbors had any right to prevent the fence going up.

Sure, mention it in passing if you happen to see them, but the only valid "don't build a fence" argument would be "OMG is it because of my dog? I'm so sorry about that, don't waste your money, I'll mend the hole in my fence so he won't jump on your kids anymore."
post #46 of 94
Quote:
The reason for a fence should be obvious and making a special effort to bring it up to the neighbors would run the risk of implying that there was anything to take offense to and/or that the neighbors had any right to prevent the fence going up.
If the reason for the fence was so obvious then why would the OP's husband feel nervous about annoying the neighbors?

I'm just fascinated by the sentiments expressed in this thread that neighbors are a group of people who do not deserve to be communicated with. If this was a discussion about a marriage and a concern expressed by a spouse about some issue, the FIRST thing people would say is that you should sit down and talk with your spouse about the issue. But in this thread, you go out one concentric circle of interactions with people -- from your family to your neighbors -- and suddenly there's no need for communication. If you don't HAVE to communicate and by golly it is your RIGHT not to communicate, then just don't bother to communicate. And if they don't like -- screw 'em.

Why is it that taking a small amount of time to communicate with your own neighbors is considered such an outrageous suggestion?

If that is really how you see your neighbors, well OK. But then in other threads and forums people post about weird neighbors, rude people, people who are oblivious to other's needs, people with no social skills, people who just see things from their own perspective but can't see how their actions affect other people, ect. Well, if you treat your own neighbors in such a cavalier action then why would you expect other people to treat you with any consideration.

Quote:
Sure, mention it in passing if you happen to see them, but the only valid "don't build a fence" argument would be "OMG is it because of my dog? I'm so sorry about that, don't waste your money, I'll mend the hole in my fence so he won't jump on your kids anymore."
EXACTLY my point again. Maybe if you communicate with your neighbors you could talk to them and they might fix the hole in the fence and the dogs won't jump on your kids. The neighbors may have no idea that you are bothered by their dogs. It's possible that if you talk to them and discuss your concerns, they will understand and act accordingly.
post #47 of 94
verde, I think most of the people in this thread who don't see fences as something to discuss with neighbors just happen to live (as I do) in an area where fences are the norm. It's not that we wouldn't discuss it with our neighbors because we have a "screw 'em" attitude (!), it's just that it wouldn't be considered something worth discussing in our areas. It would be like going around and getting everyone's input before you got a new front door or something.

And I can only speak for myself on this issue, but it's definitely possible to live in a close-knit, community-oriented neighborhood even with fences. They just don't carry the negative connotation here that they seem to in your area.
post #48 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
It's not that we wouldn't discuss it with our neighbors because we have a "screw 'em" attitude (!), it's just that it wouldn't be considered something worth discussing in our areas. It would be like going around and getting everyone's input before you got a new front door or something.
This is it, exactly. It's also like. . .I love my mom, but I wouldn't make a point to tell her before I got a hair cut. If I happened to be talking to her about what I was going to do next week, I would probably mention it. Just like if I was chatting with a neighbor about something, I would probably mention that we were having a fence put up. But I wouldn't feel like I was being considerate by mentioning it, because I still can't figure out why the neighbor would care one way or the other, unless it was intruding on their property or the workers would have to walk on their grass to install it. It's not a statement, it's not a "screw them" additude - it's putting up a fence. I never knew anyone had such strong feelings about fences.

ETA: It would be really weird to me if a neighbor came over to tell me they were putting up a fence, unless it in someway affected me (like I mentioned above -if the workers might need to come into my yard, or if they were asking if we wanted to go in on it since we would be benefiting from it, etc).
post #49 of 94
limabean, I take your point. Remember as I stated, I have a fence so I totally agree that it's possible to live in a close-knit community with fences. Fences don't necessarily have a negative connotation where I live. My point is not the building of the fence but that so many people seem to have this belief that you don't have to talk to your neighbors about it.

If you read the thread, the OP asked how to let her neighbors know she wanted to build a fence and the first 12 responses were "just build it, you don't have to tell them." When a few of us suggested that talking to neighbors is a good thing, the general response to that was "Why?" And that surprises me.

The idea that it's unnecessary to communicate with the people who live the closest to you when you plan to, as Robert Frost said so eloquently, put up a wall, well, speaks volumes to me about so many things. Putting up a fence is not the same thing as getting a new front door. Putting up a fence is about walling in and walling out something, usually something to do with your neighbors.

I have no problem that's it the norm, but I am pondering with the idea that, apparently, in many areas, it's the norm not to inform people about something that will affect them. I'm not talking about asking for permission or asking for a blessing, I'm talking about giving people a piece of information. That's all.
post #50 of 94
verde, I can understand your point and agree that in some areas, communicating with neighbors before putting up a fence would be the polite thing to do.

When I was a toddler, we lived for a few years in Texas, in an area in which short chain-link fences between yards were the norm. My parents were from California, from an area in which 6-foot wooden fences were the norm, and they felt exposed and uncomfortable with their backyard being so visible, so they put up a wooden fence, and they were worried about how the neighbors would perceive them (I don't know if they discussed it with the neighbors first -- I'll have to ask my mom the next time we talk).

In that community, that was a valid concern, and probably warranted mentioning it to the neighbors to avoid any hard feelings. In my current community, it isn't a concern, and neglecting to mention fence plans to neighbors wouldn't be considered any sort of affront. It's just a different cultural expectation.
post #51 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
EXACTLY my point again. Maybe if you communicate with your neighbors you could talk to them and they might fix the hole in the fence and the dogs won't jump on your kids. The neighbors may have no idea that you are bothered by their dogs. It's possible that if you talk to them and discuss your concerns, they will understand and act accordingly.
But the OP isn't getting a fence just because of the neighbors, she's also getting a fence because she's realized that having a fence makes more sense for her family with having little kids. Sure, the annoying neighbors is what brought it to mind, but the fence has benefits for her family besides that.

If the neighbors really did decide it was all about them, that would be weird and sort of creepy.


I don't know why the OP's dh would get nervous about it. Maybe he grew up in a community like yours? Maybe he had an acquaintance have a battle over property lines? Maybe he's just one of those people who checks to make sure no one is reading over his shoulder before he turns the page on the magazine he took to the loo?
post #52 of 94
And again, a fence when your neighbors have fences has a different connotation that a fence when no one else has a fence.

Like how you talked with your neighbors about your chickens and dog and kids. You needed to do that because no one else had a fence and people might not have known what to make of it.

Whereas in a neighborhood where most people have fences, if a family with little kids builds a fence it's more like "I see the Smiths are finally building a fence. What'll we make for dinner?"
post #53 of 94
Quote:
If the neighbors really did decide it was all about them, that would be weird and sort of creepy.
I don't get your logic, but that's not really my point. It doesn't matter whether it's about the OP's family or about the neighbors -- it will affect the neighbor's either way. And maybe that is exactly what the OP wants. Which is fine. All I'm suggesting is giving the neighbors some basic information.

Quote:
In that community, that was a valid concern, and probably warranted mentioning it to the neighbors to avoid any hard feelings. In my current community, it isn't a concern, and neglecting to mention fence plans to neighbors wouldn't be considered any sort of affront. It's just a different cultural expectation.
limabean, you make a good point. If that is the case then perhaps a useful answer to the OP is to investigate the community standards and act accordingly. But I would not necessarily proceed on the assumption that people would not at least have some questions about the purpose of a fence.

Quote:
I never knew anyone had such strong feelings about fences.
eclipse you miss the point. It's not about building a fence, it's about talking to your neighbors about building a fence. It's about communication.
post #54 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
eclipse you miss the point. It's not about building a fence, it's about talking to your neighbors about building a fence. It's about communication.
I'm not missing your point. I'm saying that I never realized that there were people who would either expect or appreciate that a neighbor tell them they were building a fence. I would feel like I was bugging a neighbor if I went out of my way to communicate something like that to them (as opposed to it just coming up in normal conversation. Like limabean said, it would be as odd as if I made a special trip or went out of my way to tell them I was changing the front door or getting new windows or buying a new car or something. When I said I didn't realize people had strong feelings about their neighbor's fences, I was being genuine. I didn't know that in some places I might be seen as making a statement by building a fence, or that some places neighbors might think it inconsiderate not to bring it up.
post #55 of 94
I'm with verde on this one. For pete's sake, the OP's thread title is "How do I break it to my neighbors that we are building a fence?" The OP's husband is worried about ticking off the neighbors. Does that not suggest that maybe just going ahead and putting up a fence without mentioning it to anyone might not be the most neighborly thing to do?

I get that their neighbors have fences. But there also seem to be a lot of gates and passageways between yards in her neighborhood, and if that were the case in my neighborhood, I'd appreciate a heads' up from the neighbors before they went ahead and built their fence. Of course the OP can go ahead and build a fence without telling anyone. But in the interest of neighborliness, it seems the courteous thing to do to let the neighbors know.

What is the downside of letting the neighbors know first? Sure, someone might get upset, but if so, then you can pretty much bet that they'll also be upset if the OP just goes ahead and builds the fence. But just going ahead and building the fence in a neighborhood where the norm seems to be to have gates and openings into others' yards...well, that seems like it could very likely be interpreted as a snub. Letting the neighbors know in advance can go a long way to not having them get upset!

Telling neighbors about something can really help smooth things. For example, my next-door neighbors are in the middle of getting a new driveway. It's been LOUD the past few days! If they'd just gone ahead and had their old driveway jackhammered out and repoured without telling us, that would have been perfectly legal. But they told us ahead of time, and we really appreciated it. It allowed us to plan our week to minimize our time at home during the construction and destruction. It's been a minor irritation. But I can guarantee you that if I'd been awakened by jackhammers the other morning and hadn't expected it, I'd have been really annoyed!
post #56 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
What is the downside of letting the neighbors know first?
Exactly. It's not asking their permission, it's just a casual comment... "Hey, just wanted to let you know that we're going to be putting up a fence for safety purposes. Just wanted to know because it might cause a bit of a ruckus while they're putting it up."
post #57 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoS View Post
The new neighbours behind us broke the fence between us so their children can cut through our yard to get to school and bike ride, but opening our yard to a busy street.
Did they ask you before doing that?
post #58 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
If you read the thread, the OP asked how to let her neighbors know she wanted to build a fence and the first 12 responses were "just build it, you don't have to tell them." When a few of us suggested that talking to neighbors is a good thing, the general response to that was "Why?" And that surprises me.
If one of my neighbours came to talk to me about the fact they wanted to build a fence on their own property, I'd think they were weird. I wouldn't necessarily think they were bad neighbours or anything, but they'd strike me as weird. I'd also be a little concerned about them, and would probably make less effort to engage with them regularly.

Quote:
The idea that it's unnecessary to communicate with the people who live the closest to you when you plan to, as Robert Frost said so eloquently, put up a wall, well, speaks volumes to me about so many things. Putting up a fence is not the same thing as getting a new front door. Putting up a fence is about walling in and walling out something, usually something to do with your neighbors.

I have no problem that's it the norm, but I am pondering with the idea that, apparently, in many areas, it's the norm not to inform people about something that will affect them. I'm not talking about asking for permission or asking for a blessing, I'm talking about giving people a piece of information. That's all.
And, I can't even imagine why anyone would think they needed to give anyone this information. It's a fence. It's not like it's going to be some big secret.

Ny neighbours aren't "one concentric ring" from my spouse, either. I have other family and friends.
post #59 of 94
I'm really confused, btw. If the neighbours are going to be upset about the fence, what difference is telling them ahead of time going to make? If anything, that would just come across to me as passive-aggressive (ie. "we know you probably won't like this, but we're going to do it, anyway")
post #60 of 94
I'm of the camp that believes it is neighborly to let people know. I don't necessarily think one is WRONG for not doing it but I do think it is being considerate. We are friendly with our neighbors and when they put in their new 6 ft tall privacy fence last summer, they definitely took the effort to let us know they were going to do it. I don't know WHY they put in their fence and I certainly did not ask as it isn't my business.

I've lived in neighborhoods where that wouldn't be a consideration and I have to say that they didn't have as good of a community feeling.
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