Here at the Survivor Center we’ve declared November to be all about being neighborly. The blue sneakered Mr. Rogers would be so proud.
Borrowing a line from another Mr. Rogers, the most famous of all 10 gallon wearing cowboys, Roy Rogers voiced his concerns about physical impediments singing “Don’t fence me in.”
In today’s suburban neighborhoods an unfenced property line is a rarity. Whether the purpose is to keep you in or your neighbors out, Robert Frost echoes most homeowners in quoting “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.”
There is a lot of truth to keeping a well establish understanding of property boundaries to help keep the peace. A good fence can create a physical as well as a mental comfort zone. Sure, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence but at least you don’t have to mow it.
But even a good fence has enemies. The silver maple, for one, has a vengeful distaste for a well-placed fence. With help from his friend, the strong arm of a Midwest summer storm, a maple tree can reduce a 6 ft wood privacy fence to fire pit kindling faster than green grass through a goose.
Mind you, a fence is not to be taken for granted. A fence naturally has a split personality; A good side and a bad side. You don’t want to mess with the bad side which ‘typically’ signifies you are the responsible owner.
If your neighbor’s maple tree decides to shed a limb or two on your fence, don’t count any generous check from your neighbor’s insurance company. That’s called an Act of God and an unfortunate and costly one at that.
If you are thinking of buying a new home without a fence it would be wise not to trust the utility pole or the neighbor’s lawn mower patterns as a guide to your property lines. There are surveys of varying quality for a purchaser to choose from that will contractually ensure what they see is what they get.
Believe it or not a fence even has a legal record with numerous ‘hostile’ convictions. In cases of adverse possession, fencing can factor in proving actual, open and notorious use of another’s land in attempt to take legal possession.
Chain link, wood, pvc, aluminum or steel, a fence is has become our silent partner in the landscape of urban design. Good neighbors they make, but they aren’t without their moments of tension.