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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States


Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

Enjoy a Summer of Solitude with a Privacy Fence


O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.


Enjoy a Summer of Solitude with a Privacy Fence

Chelsea O'Donnell

With summer creeping up on us, I’m sure you’re looking forward to spending time swimming in the pool, enjoying a barbecue with the family, and relaxing on weekend afternoons in the privacy of our own backyard. With all of these activities to look forward to, now might be a great time to make your outdoor domain a bit more intimate with the installation of a privacy fence.

Building a fence might seem like a tough task, but with a little bit of pre-planning and some help, it can be a fairly easy project to tackle. So let’s get to it.

The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for a permit, which can be done at Bristol City Hall. You can find everything you need to know on the City of Bristol website under the Building Department tab. There are specific height regulations that you’ll need to be aware of as well as rules for where your fence can be installed in relation to your property borders. Materials and colors are also enforced; so make sure you review the documentation before you start your project. If your fence doesn’t follow city code, you’ll be forced to take it down and you could get fined.  

Once your permit has been issued, it’s time to start planning and getting your materials in order. I suggest starting by ensuring that your new fence will deliver the privacy you’re after. Cut a cardboard or thin wood screen to the height of your future fence and get a friend or family member to help you assess the fence’s privacy potential in both sitting and standing positions. Because fence heights are regulated, you want to make sure yours gives you the result you’re after without breaking any building codes. If the fence doesn’t do the job, you might want to look at bushes or other landscaping solutions.

Once you’ve confirmed that your fence height offers the privacy you desire you can begin to take your measurements and gather your materials. Be sure to clearly mark the border where the fence will eventually stand using stakes and string, and don’t forget to review the city placement codes before driving in your posts. Also, be aware of any shallow pipes or wires that could be damaged as you begin to dig. 

There are a few things to consider when you’re getting your materials, including style, size and durability. Generally, fence panels come in six or eight-foot lengths, and you’ll want to ensure that you’re installing them in a way that will maximize their durability. The number of vertical posts you’ll need is pretty simple, as it will depend on the length of the panels and the size of the area you’re looking to border. However, you have some choices in terms of the horizontal rails you’ll need to support the fence. For some people, two 2x4’s will do the trick, but if your fence is in a place that’s more susceptible to our sometimes brutal weather conditions, installing three horizontal rails will help to stabilize the structure and decrease the potential for future sagging or wind damage.

Finally, you’ll need to think about your gates. I always like to have two gates, which are required to open inward on the property. Have a good think about what the gates will be used for when you choose their placement and width. Gates that need to allow lawn equipment and machinery to pass through will need to be wider than those that just let people in and out of the area.

With your fence materials chosen, you’re almost ready to build! Next week I’ll share some of my top tips on how to install your fence with ease. Stay tuned.

Image courtesy of Bullard Fence