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The Legal Height of Garden Fences

Updated February 21, 2017

Most jurisdictions have restrictions on the allowed height of fences. The height is set according to its location, not the type of fence. Check your local ordinances for specific requirements.

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Front and Side Yard

Fences in the front yard are typically restricted to 4 feet in height. Corner lots may be subject to the same height restriction in the side yard. There may also be design guidelines for the front yard fence in some locations.

Back Yard

The backyard fence is usually limited to 6 feet in height. The height is measured from the existing grade; lattice panels on the top are included in the height. In some jurisdictions, there may be special ordinances or bylaws for certain areas, such as conservation easements or land adjacent to conflicting land uses.


A taller fence than allowed requires a variance. A variance may be granted to screen out an unsightly view that is incompatible with residential use. There may be special conditions put on the style of fence granted by variance.

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