Do Home Builders Include Fences on Newly Built Homes?
When you buy a brand-new home, the yard is typically unfinished except for the rough grade needed to ensure proper drainage. You may wonder if the home builder is responsible for building a fence along the property line. In most cases, the answer is “no.” Building a fence is a homeowner’s responsibility and is not included in the general construction process of your home.
You as the homeowner are responsible for building the fence on your property after you take possession of the home.
There is an exception, however.
On specific lots bordering a public area such as a park, playground, stormwater pond, or collector roads, the land developer will build the fence along the shared property line. They’ll only build the fence along the shared part of the property line, so you may choose a lot that has a partial fence constructed. You’ll be responsible for completing the fence along your own property lines and those shared with neighbours. There’s no additional cost for the completed portion of the fence; it’s included in the lot price.
In most new communities, the land developer has established a standard design and style for the fences to be built within that area. These requirements are in place to ensure your neighbourhood has a certain overall style, consistency of design, and great curb appeal throughout the area.
They include both fence and landscaping controls and will outline details of what’s expected of you as a homeowner. You’re required to adhere to these requirements which means your fence style and colour are typically decided for you.
When you purchase a new home, a landscaping deposit is required and is tied to the lot on which your home is being built. Once your fence (and landscaping) is finished within the expected timeline, the land developer will perform an inspection to ensure you’ve met the architectural requirements. If you have, your landscaping deposit will be returned to you.
Should you build a fence that doesn’t meet these requirements, you may forfeit your deposit, or even be asked to replace the fence. It’s better to not take that risk and build what’s been established in the guidelines.
Types of Fences
If you’re building a fence in a neighbourhood where architectural controls are not in place, you’re free to choose your design and colours. There are several different types of materials to choose from, including wood, vinyl, chain link, composite, and metal.
Wood is most common of course, but also requires staining every couple of years so it’s higher maintenance than other types of fences. Vinyl and composite fences require very little maintenance but also come with a higher cost to install. Metal and chain link fences give you the security you need without obstructing the view and are great for properties that border a scenic space such as a park, water feature, or golf course.
When choosing your materials, you’ll also want to consider the size and style of your posts and caps, boards, and whether you want any special features added such as gates and trash can access. The style of hardware you choose can also add an extra design element to your fence.
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Fence?
Many factors play a role in how much your fence will cost to build and install. Materials, style, size, hardware, labour, and special features collectively affect the overall cost.
Some materials are more expensive than others. Wood is the most used material for fences, the benefit being there are many different species that offer unique characteristics. You can also choose to stain wood in your preferred shade to enhance its natural beauty. A fence built from wood can be a beautiful addition to your landscaping. Wood is often the most cost-effective option of all the materials, but supply shortages can inflate the cost of this material so it may not always be that way.
Vinyl and composite fencing are designed to be extremely low maintenance. Once installed, these types of fences typically don’t need maintenance or repairs for many years. The initial cost is typically higher for the material, and it’s less versatile than wood as you can’t always cut it the same way. The finished product, however, gives you a clean-looking fence that doesn’t need to be cared for every year or two.
Metal and chain-link fences are a great option if you want low maintenance but also an unobstructed view of what’s on the other side. Metal fences usually come already painted, and chain-link can be either raw metal or painted as well. This material will need to be repainted from time to time depending on its exposure to extreme weather, but nowhere near as frequently as wood.
Your fence can be designed in a variety of styles, depending on the materials used. Metal and chain link fences are typically a standard design and don’t offer much in the way of creativity. Vinyl fences are premade, so they may come in a straight-edged finish or in various other cuts to create a finished design once installed. The more unique designs may come at a premium price as their installation takes a bit more work.
Wood fences are the most versatile in terms of designing your fence style. Since wood can be cut to create any design, you have full control over the finished look. Of course, you may need additional material or equipment to create the design you’re looking for which will add to the overall cost of your fence.
Standard fences are six feet in height, but if you choose to vary from this it may affect the cost of your fence. Be sure to review your municipality’s bylaws to ensure you’re permitted to build a fence higher than six feet.
Standard hardware does the job of connecting the parts of your fence, but it can also be an added design element. For example, if you’re building a farmhouse-style fence, you may wish to use larger black hardware to add the specific design element. This hardware may come at a premium price and can add up the longer your fence is.
If you’re contracting out the installation of your fence, labour will affect the overall cost. Depending on how much fence you need to be built, your crew may need to bring on more people to get the job done in a reasonable time frame. Additionally, labour wages can fluctuate based on market demand.
As a rough estimate, your cost can range anywhere from $17 – $46 per linear foot* for a fence in Edmonton. Now, with the lumber market how it is right now, these prices can fluctuate hugely, depending on lumber pricing and the items we’ve talked about above. You have to do your homework and take market values into account.
* numbers are accurate as of date of posting
Splitting The Cost With Your Neighbours
Most fences are built right on the property line between you and your neighbours. As a result, it’s the responsibility of both parties to cover the costs of building your fence. It’s up to you how you want to approach the task, but if you contract out your fence installation, most fencing companies can handle the paperwork to determine how much of the final invoice each party is responsible for.
Homeowners can be very particular with their fencing needs. While technically you aren’t required to, it’s good practice to discuss design and installation plans with any neighbours along your proposed fence line before starting your project. It’s courteous and it helps eliminate, or at least decrease, frustrations or disputes that could happen during construction.
The downside to wanting to split with a neighbour is when you’re building a home in a new community, you may need to wait until your neighbours are fully moved into their home before you can start the conversation about fencing.
If you find your neighbour is unwilling to share the cost of your fence construction, you may choose to build it entirely on your side of the property line. This does come with a risk of problems down the road. Technically you will own the entire fence in this case, but your neighbours still have access to their side of the fence. You will be responsible for the complete care of that fence, but if your neighbours are not cooperative you may find challenges in getting any work done if you need to access their yard.
So the short answer to “do home builders include fences on newly built homes” is no (the exception we talked about notwithstanding). The longer answer to that, well, you just read about. By allowing customers to take care of fencing on their own, it gives the homeowners an opportunity to reach an agreement with their neighbours to find a style of fence that both will like and enjoy. It also allows homeowners to share the cost with their neighbours, instead of having to foot the cost of the bill on their own.
Homebuilders don’t include fences in the construction of your home, so it is important to understand your options and responsibilities for completing the fence on your property. Be sure to familiarize yourself with any architectural controls for your community as well as your municipality’s bylaws, and your fence building process will be a success.
Originally published July 23, 2020, updated May 19, 2022
Photo credits: depositphotos.com
About the Author:
At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise. Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land. This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers.
Learn more about:
Sterling Homes - Home Builder in Edmonton
Start The Home Buying Process Now