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Which Side of My Fence Should Face the Neighbor?

When it comes to a wooden privacy fence or a picket fence, the finished or “nice” side of the fence should face your neighbors. Not only is this common courtesy, this is a rule enforced by the vast majority of townships and boroughs.

Facing the wrong side of the fence towards your neighbor, either when installing your fence on your own or working with a contractor, can lead to you being legally forced to switch the fence—at your own expense. This rule applies for all manner of wooden privacy fences, whether or not you paint or stain either or both sides of the fence. The nice side of the fence needs to face outwards for almost every type of common wooden privacy fence, including:

  • Picket fences
  • Board fence
  • Estate plank fences

While there’s a good reason for this rule, we understand if you don’t want to see an unfinished fence when you look out over your picturesque backyard. We may have the best solution, too. Check out some of our fences that get around this rule—by looking gorgeous on both sides!

Why Does the Finished Side of the Fence Need to Face the Neighbors?

Wooden Privacy Fence for You and Neighbors

Wood Fence Facing The Neighbors

The finished side of a fence is often called the “face” while the unfinished side is called the “back.” Regardless of whether you paint it or dress it up, the back of the fence is the one that contains the horizontal fence supports (also called stringers) and the in-ground fence posts. The fence posts and stringers are the supports that keep your fence sturdy, but they aren’t as aesthetically appealing as the clean face of a fence.

To ensure that everyone else can enjoy their view, most townships and boroughs mandate that all supports stay on the inside of the fence. To find out the specific regulations in your community, contact your township’s Building/Zoning and Property Maintenance office.

Frustrated? We’re on your side 100%. After all, you’re paying to turn your yard into a backyard oasis for you and your family—not your neighbors. So why should they get to see the clean, attractive side of your fence?

But we understand the need for the rule, too. Privacy fences can be a contentious issue between neighbors. Forcing a new neighbor to look at the back of a fence can raise tensions—something nobody wants.

That’s why at Smucker Fencing, we say install a fence that both you and your neighbor will love.

Fencing Options That Look Great on Both Sides

Any fence that is identical or finished on both sides gets around the rule. You don’t need to worry about which side of the fence should face your neighbor because both sides look the same—and absolutely stunning!

Vinyl Privacy Fence

White vinyl fence installed in neighborhood
Unlike a typical wooden privacy fence, our vinyl fences don’t need stringers to be sturdy. In addition, vinyl posts on our vinyl privacy fences are squarely in the middle, both you and your neighbor get the good side of the fence.

Vinyl fences provide the same level of privacy as a wooden fence and are much lower maintenance in the long run. Vinyl fences are becoming increasingly popular—it’s easy to see why. These sturdy, showpiece fences are perfect for creating a clean and elegant modern style. Finally, even though vinyl has the reputation for being the most deluxe fence on the market, the price is still comparable to a quality wooden fence.

You don’t need to tell your neighbors that, though.

Shadow Box Wooden Fence

Wood Shadow Box Privacy Fence Professionally Installed
For those who love the rustic look of real wood, a shadow box fence—also known as a good neighbor fence—is exactly what you need. These stylish wooden fences feature a stringer around the fence post on both sides. Just like a vinyl privacy fence, a shadowbox fence looks identical on both sides—problem solved.

Plus, feast your eyes on the handsome rustic looks these natural fences create.

Aluminum Fence

Neighbor Neutral Aluminum Fence
For homeowners who want the protection and style of a fence, but don’t need to block the view, Aluminum Fences are one of our favorite recommendations.

When you choose a luxury aluminum fence, you don’t need to worry about which side faces the neighbor—both sides are identical and have a striking, popular style.

Plus, aluminum fences have the advantage of boasting a long, maintenance-free lifespan. You can also install your showpiece aluminum fence for less than any luxury privacy fence.

Get Your Fence Quote Today

Interested in a stylish fence? Get in touch with us today. Smucker Fencing is one of southern Pennsylvania’s leading luxury fence installer with years of service and a long list of satisfied customers.


  • John Smucker

    John Smucker leads Smucker Fencing with over 20 years of experience in the residential fence installation niche. Since 2006, he has built the company from the ground up. His firm is family-owned and values high-quality workmanship. John and his team commit to complete customer satisfaction.Training matters greatly to John. He oversees a skilled crew of over a dozen technicians. Each one undergoes rigorous training for flawless fence and railing installations. Respect for clients and their properties is a top rule at Smucker Fencing.John prides himself on efficiency and promptness. His company ensures projects finish on time without sacrificing quality. Smucker Fencing stands out in Lancaster and Chester Counties for its reliable service from the first estimate call to the project's end.Recognition from customers speaks volumes about John's expertise. Happy clients across two decades point to his success in delivering excellent fencing solutions. His approach combines professional skill with genuine care for each project, making him a leader in his field.

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