This is a very common question. Many (but not all!) fences have two distinct sides: a finished side and a side where the structural components are more apparent. The finished side should face out, and the structural side should face into your yard.
It’s not just a matter of taste, it’s the rules. Ottawa By-law No. 2003-462 covers the situation. You can read more about it here. There is a lot of valuable information in there and it’s well worth a look for anyone considering a new fence. We’ve taken out the legalese and compiled a summary of the main points below for your convenience:
Fences must be designed to present the finished side toward the street and neighbouring properties.
No person shall construct a fence that is not of good quality.
Property owners are responsible to maintain their fence in good repair.
The by-law does not regulate where your fence should be installed relative to property lines other than “not on City property”.
The by-law does not regulate how costs of a fence should be shared among neighbours.
The by-law does not set height restrictions on hedges, bushes or trees that serve as natural screenings.
No person shall construct a chainlink fence that is not either vinyl or powder coated.
No person shall construct a fence using barbed wire, chicken wire, electric wire or any other potentially harmful materials.
Barbed wire is permitted on non-residential properties at a minimum of 8′ (250cm) above ground level.
Nothing in this by-law shall prevent the continued use and maintenance of a fence if such fence was lawfully erected in conformity with the provisions of a fence by-law of an old municipality prior to January 1, 2004.
If you have more questions about fences, by-laws, or related issues we’re happy to answer them. Call 613-736-1122 or hit the chat button on the right during business hours.