As the old adage goes, good fences make good neighbors. Or, at least, good fences make for good neighborhood relations, especially when you’ve got a privacy fence to keep the nosy neighbors out of your business.
However, knowing you want a privacy fence and being prepared for the project are two completely different animals. Especially when it comes to pricing.
Here’s a look at everything that will drive your privacy fence cost up or down and how to ensure you get a fence that meets your fence dreams and your budget constraints all at the same time.
What is a Privacy Fence?
Before we answer what a privacy fence costs (or, for that matter, why you should get one), you first need to know what a privacy fence is.
As the name implies, a privacy fence is a type of fence designed to keep the nosy neighbors and looky-loos from peering in your yard. Technically, it’s nothing more than that–a fence, just like any other.
What separates a privacy fence from other types of fences is that it’s basically a shield between you and the outside world. It blocks lines of sight from the street into your yard and vice versa, ensuring that what you do in your backyard stays in your backyard.
Privacy Fence vs. Screen
At this point, we should distinguish between a privacy fence and a privacy screen, since the two are similar in concept but are quite different.
Privacy fences are, well, fences. That means they run the length of your yard enclosure (or as far as you’d like them to go). They offer full privacy coverage for your whole yard. They can be used as a garden feature or integrated into your landscaping, but as a whole, their goal is to provide privacy and security.
Privacy screens, on the other hand, are usually just one or two panels. They’re often used as a privacy feature for a sunbathing area or as a garden feature. They can also be natural screens between you and the neighbors, like boxwood hedges.
Why Get a Privacy Fence?
This brings us to the important question of the day: why get a privacy fence?
After all, when you’re choosing between so many different fence options (the white picket fence of the American dream, the cheap and utilitarian chain-link fence, or the functional agricultural fence) it’s important to ensure you get the right fence for your needs.
The truth is, there are plenty of reasons to get a privacy fence–well beyond the confines of privacy.
Did you know having a privacy fence around your property might actually lower your insurance rates as a homeowner?
Privacy fences offer more than just privacy, and they’re more than just a way to keep people’s eyes out of your yard. Privacy fences are also a way to keep people out of your yard, whether that means the neighbor’s kids who like to cut across your back lawn or an intruder en route to your house.
To be clear, privacy fences won’t keep every unwanted risk away from your property. However, many homeowners don’t think about security until it’s too late. A privacy fence works as a good deterrent to passersby and control entry in and out of your yard.
And that peace of mind makes a world of difference.
Take a look around your neighborhood. What can you see?
If you can see everything that goes on in the neighbors’ yards, you don’t have a lot of privacy. Anyone can look into your yard and you can look into anyone else’s, which also means neighbors can easily disturb each other by accident. That also means that private gatherings of friends and family aren’t quite so private anymore.
A privacy fence allows you to restore that little bit of separation. That way, your gatherings won’t disturb your neighbors–and conversely, your neighbors won’t disturb you.
Plus, there’s something to be said for enjoying the peace and quiet of your own yard without the knowledge that any random person could look into your yard.
Boundary for Animals and Kids
We’ve talked a lot about keeping things out, primarily neighbors and nosy passersby. But keep in mind that fences are also good at keeping things in.
And if you have pets or kids, that’s an important factor.
While your kids are well-behaved and your pets are trained, you can’t always control when they’re going to sprint out of the house without regard for anything around them. A privacy fence is a handy little reminder for pets and kids alike where the boundary line is–and it keeps them within the limits of your property.
Picture being able to open the door to let your dog outside without constantly keeping an eye out to make sure the dog hasn’t wandered away. Picture your kids being able to play in the yard without you having to worry about anyone running too close to the street.
That’s the peace of mind a privacy fence offers you, and it’s hard to find anywhere else.
Listen, we live in Idaho. We know what cold is. We’re quite familiar with snow and ice (perhaps too familiar for our own good). The point is, when winter arrives, it arrives, and the whole state knows it.
The good news? This is another unexpected area where privacy fences can be a huge help, even when it’s not the dead of winter.
Erecting a privacy fence creates a physical shield between you on one side of the fence and everything else on the other. When severe weather strikes, your privacy fence can double as a wind-shield, protecting your yard from some of the damage it might otherwise incur due to Mother Nature’s wrath.
Last but not least, don’t forget that privacy fences can actually be quite pretty to look at!
Privacy panels are often used as a garden feature, but there’s no reason why your privacy fence can’t be part of your garden canvas too. In fact, it should be part of your garden canvas, since your fence will serve as a backdrop for your whole yard regardless.
Maybe you want to hang some flower pots from the fence? Or let some climbing plants make their home on your fence? As long as you take good care of your fence, it can provide a sturdy backdrop to your garden for years to come.
Factors Affecting Privacy Fence Cost
Does a privacy fence sound like the right fit for your yard and your family? If so, don’t head on over to buy one quite yet.
After all, knowing a privacy fence is the right fit and preparing for your fencing project are two different things. There are still a number of factors to consider, not the least of which is privacy fence cost (in fact, that’s the deciding factor for many families).
Every fencing project is just as unique as the family the fence is made for, which means we can’t give you a flat quote outright. However, there are several common factors that influence the cost of your fencing project.
One of the major price factors is the material of your fence. Common material choices for privacy fences include:
Keep in mind that privacy fence materials are somewhat limited by the type of fence and its goal, namely to provide a complete barrier between your property and everything outside. This inherently means that privacy fences typically aren’t made with wrought iron or chain-links just because it’s completely impractical to do so.
Wood is the classic fence material, and for a good reason. It looks good, holds up well, and stays strong for years. Common types of wood for fences include:
We offer two types of beautiful wood fencing: cedar and redwood. Both are low-maintenance, naturally insect-repellant, and, of course, quite pleasant to look at.
Stone is one of the most classic fence types out there. Since the days when humans rolled rocks to live in caves, we’ve been using stone to our advantage. There’s something classically beautiful about a sturdy stone fence, style and security brought together into one fence. Plus, stone lends itself nicely to a privacy fence since it can be cut and laid to form a wall.
Real stone is more expensive due to the cost of the material and labor involved in laying it. At Butte Fence, we offer the best of both price and aesthetic with two beautiful stone fence options: SimTek fencing and RhinoRock concrete walls.
Then there’s vinyl fencing, which is durable, flexible, affordable, and, of course, attractive. The beauty of vinyl fencing is that you can make it look like almost anything. With our Kroy Woodland Select fences, you’ll be the envy of the whole neighborhood.
Better still, vinyl is the most affordable option of the three, even if you want an enclosure for the entire yard. If you want a beautiful wood fence but can’t afford it, vinyl makes it possible to have the fence of your dreams–at a price that’s still realistic for your bank account.
Height and Length
Another major factor affecting the cost of your privacy fence is the height and length. In other words, how much material will you need in order to make your fence happen?
The rule of thumb remains the same as anything else: if you need more material, it’s going to be more expensive. So, a fence that encloses more of your yard (and thus requires a greater length of fence panels) will be more expensive. Similarly, a taller fence will be more expensive because it requires more material to make up the extra coverage.
The length of the fence is a function of how much yard coverage you want, but height is somewhat subjective. There are three things to keep in mind when considering how tall to make your privacy fence:
- Why do you want a fence?
- Where will the fence be located?
- Do you have any local fence height restrictions?
Do you want a fence to keep the kids in? Do you want a fence to keep trespassers out? For kids, you don’t necessarily need a tall fence, but for intruders, you certainly will. If you have a dog (specifically a dog that digs for freedom) you’ll need a fence that goes a few feet into the ground to keep your dog from burrowing out and escaping into the neighborhood.
The question of where your fence will be located sounds obvious (front yard or back?) but it does make a big difference. Think about it: in the privacy of your backyard, a taller fence might be just what the doctor ordered. In the front yard, a tall fence can look rather like the Great Wall of China.
Last but not least, keep in mind that the maximum height of your fence might not be entirely up to you. Check for any local restrictions on fence height that might apply in your county, or even just in your own neighborhood if you happen to have a homeowners’ association.
You might not know it, but your yard is actually one of the biggest culprits in driving up the price of your fence, regardless of what type of fence you get.
Remember, yards are as unique as the families they house. This is one of the biggest reasons why a fence contractor (the legit ones, anyway) can’t give you a flat quote outright without seeing your property first.
Every yard has quirks. We’re talking hills, quirky inclines, areas where the ground is mostly stone, patches where the vegetation will make it hard to lay a fence. A fence contractor won’t know about any of these things until they lay eyes on your property.
That said, as a homeowner, you’re familiar with the quirks of your property. You know where the hills are, or areas that are particularly difficult to work around. The more areas you have that aren’t flat as a ruler and clear as a noontime blue sky, the more custom work your contractor will have to do to fit the fence. And that means your price tag will go up.
New Fence vs. Fence Replacement
Another factor that will affect your privacy fence cost is whether you’re laying a brand new fence into the ground or if you’re looking for a fence replacement.
Before you protest, “Hey, wait a second, either way a new fence is going in! What’s the big difference?” hear us out. There is a big difference, namely whether or not your contractor has to dig into your yard anew or if they can use the work of a previous contractor and put the new fence in the old fence’s place.
It’s all about the intensity of the labor. The more work it is, the more expensive it will be to finish.
What to Do Before Installing a Privacy Fence
All of those factors combine to give you a composite sketch of what your privacy fence might cost, or at least, what drives up the cost of your fence. Once you look at materials, you can get a baseline guesstimate and add on complications that you know will drive up the price, like hills or the amount of fencing.
But, before you hop on the phone with a contractor, or even open up another search tab to dig into the details of your fence, there are a few things you can do to set your project up for success. If you know what you need and what you want, you’ll have a far easier time ensuring you get both.
Look at Your Yard
First things first: open your front door. Or your back door. Whichever you prefer to start with doesn’t matter. Just stick your head out. Take a look around.
Remember, your yard is the biggest deciding factor that shapes your future fence. So it’s time to get familiar with it.
Think about how much of your yard you want to have surrounded by a privacy fence. Take a look at how long that is (and break out your trusty measuring tape while you’re at it).
Then take a look at your yard’s quirks. Are there areas where it will be harder for your contractor to lay a fence? Are there areas where you could work around potential complications to make your project simpler?
Know your yard, know your project. It will make your life a million times simpler in the long-haul.
Think About What You Want Your Fence For
While you’re taking a long, hard look at your yard, do some hard thinking about what you want your fence for, as this will significantly alter the details of your project going forward.
Do you want your fence to keep your kids in? Do you want your fence to keep pets in? Do you want your fence to keep neighbors out?
It might not sound like a big difference, but your priorities based on each of these questions can significantly change the fence you end up with.
For example, if your goal is simply to stop the kids in their tracks, you don’t necessarily need a tall fence. However, a fence like that won’t keep cats contained, and a fence that stops at ground level won’t keep a digging dog in either. On the other hand, if your goal is to keep people out, a taller fence might be just what the doctor ordered.
Think about what matters most to you in a fence. That will make it easier to make decisions and find the perfect fence for your needs.
Chat with the Neighbors (and Your HOA)
Unfortunately, unless you live in the middle of the woods miles away from civilization, you’re not the only one with an input about your fence. Or, put another way: if you want to maintain friendly neighborhood relations, it’s best to get outside input rather than simply charging full-speed-ahead into the project.
Think of it this way. If you don’t want a feud with your neighbors (or an unfriendly call from your HOA) start a conversation first.
This does not mean you need to change your entire fence to suit the neighbors’ whim, but it does mean that you should talk to the neighbors first. And you should definitely talk to your HOA if you have one in order to make sure you’re actually allowed to have a fence in the first place (some HOAs don’t allow fences or put limits on the types of allowed fences).
Do Your Homework to Find a Great Contractor
Last but not least, do your homework to find a great fencing contractor.
Remember, your fence contractor will be your partner throughout this whole process. They’re the ones doing the work to lay a fence you’ll keep for years to come. The whole process gets that much easier when you find a contractor you like and a contractor you’re comfortable with.
Start by asking around among your friends and family. See if they have any recommendations. Then, take a look at contractors in your area and narrow down the list to contractors offering the service you want. From there, you can further narrow the list to contractors whose offerings you like.
From there, you’re ready to hop on the phone and talk to a contractor about a quote for your project. Look for a contractor that takes the time to explain the process and guide you through what’s happening while paying attention to your input.
We Go That Extra Yard
At Butte Fence, we’re proud to go the extra yard, just like we’ve been doing for the last 25 years. Our company is built on integrity, solid values, and good old fashioned hard work, because we know that the families we serve deserve nothing less.
So when you come to us for a privacy fence, you can rest easy knowing you have a fencing contractor that will get the job done right. We know how to make a privacy fence cost work for you while still working around the quirks of your property.
Let us know how we can make your fence project a reality.