Best way to fence in backyard for dog?


We have a large backyard (in Maplewood) and are eager to fence it in for our new puppy. Right now perhaps 75% of it already has fencing due to neighbor’s fences, so we’re presuming we’d need to install gate fences between the two house side corners and the sides of our yard; fill in any holes in our neighbors fences where the dog might otherwise get through, and install additional actual new fencing only where needed. My question: is there a company anyone could recommend that would take stock of the current state of our backyard fencing and help us do all of the above for a reasonable fee? We’re particularly wondering what to do on sides where there IS a neighbor’s fence, but it’s currently a bit “porous” in many spots -do people typically just put their own fence up also on their side down the entire length of the existing neighbor’s fencing, or ask the neighbor if they can patch up “holes”, etc., or...? And what about areas where there’s solid, existing neighbor’s fencing, but then a small section of fencing completely missing? How does one make the entire backyard consistent with such a current  patchwork of neighbors’ fences? Also: our dog trainer says he ran into trouble with Maplewood bylaws and was forced to take down his fence. Where can I find out the rules governing fence installation (including maximum height and positioning?) 

Finally: do I need to have the city come and look at our property first? This last question might be particularly sensitive since one of our adjacent neighbors recently installed a fence that backs onto our backyard property and which definitely appears higher than what I’m presuming is the maximum height allowed (it looks to be perhaps 8 feet or more?) and I don’t want to inadvertently “bust” them needlessly (since I appreciate their desire for privacy due to their smaller backyard).

Thanks for any advice!



There have been SOOO many discussions on MOL about fencing and the strict ordinances over the years.  Do a search.  It's highly likely that your best bet will be to install an electronic fence for your dog.

If you decide to call a fence company, I had a great experience with Artistic Fence a few years ago. 

Good luck.

joan crystal

If your dog trainer is the person I am thinking of (who trained my son's dog), he has a corner property which in Maplewood has much more stringent requirements than other properties do.  To determine the code governing fences in Maplewood, you can do one of the following:  call or visit town hall and ask to speak with someone who can explain that portion of the municipal code to you, do a search on the town website for the section of the municipal code covering fences, or go to the Maplewood Library website and click on the link for the municipal code (under the About Maplewood  section) and search from there.  There are other special considerations beyond corner properties that could impact your situation so be sure to describe your property in detail if/when you choose to call or visit town hall.


I'm not a dog owner and never was so I'm not an expert...but what about one of those invisible electric fences? 


One piece of advice:  I wouldn't rely on any neighbor's fencing as a long-term plan -- they could take their fences down at any time, either to repair/replace or permanently.  Your best bet is to install your own fencing along your property line, right next to your neighbor's fencing.  That's essentially how most of my property is bordered.


When we put our fence up, Maplewood regulations specified that the "good" side of the fence had to face out of the property, the side with the supports had to be on the property owner's side.

Also, a word about electronic fences - they don't protect your dog from an animal coming in to your yard and bothering your dog. Some dogs are very excitable and will ignore the zap from the electronic collar and go through the fence anyway if they are provoked/excited/upset.... 


I would  start with talking to your neighbors. If there are holes in their fence maybe you could pay to have them fixed, making them happy, too.  Read up on the rules and then make a few calls.


Another word of warning concerning fence gates:  our pooch eventually learned to pop our latches, so now we have to put padlocks through the holes that keep the latches from opening (as pictured)...

cody said:
When we put our fence up, Maplewood regulations specified that the "good" side of the fence had to face out of the property, the side with the supports had to be on the property owner's side. 

We can't get ourselves to use an electronic fence with our dog, plus we're worried that he'd break it and then we're right near Ridgewood Rd. Re: the "good" side of the fence facing out  of the property: it's interesting that the fence on one side of our property which we always presumed belong to our neighbor has the good side facing "in" on his side, despite the fact that he recently re-did a section of it similarly without consulting us (we don't mind, but I wonder if this means that it's actually OUR fence, installed by our previous occupants? I'll have to ask the neighbor!) Re: running a fence along the inside of the entirety of our neighbor's fences - do people really do this? It just seems like overkill since 80% of our backyard is already fenced by our neighbor's fences (albeit with some sections that need to be "fortified"). So there's no "guy" I can call that specializes in coming over, taking stock, and proposing an affordable fencing solution grin? (I'm lazy!) 

One final question: anyone know of above-ground (even "temporary") fences I could consider installing just to somewhat secure the yard so our dog could run around a bit more freely (albeit still under supervision)? We're particularly concerned with making sure from our house 10-12 feet to the edge of our property has a gated fence; and there's also another (maybe 5 feet?) gate on the other side (plus some "bottom of fence" holes plugged up). Thanks!

- Alex


you can install “temporary” fencing without a permit and construction issues up to 2 feet tall (maybe 3?). They sell durable looking decorative fences at Home Depot. Just depends on the size and strength of your pup if this will work for you. For further advice, call a fencing company to come out and  they can give you options. Get two or three companies to come out and see what they say. 


This worked great for many years in my non-fenced in yard.  $16 on amazon.  Fido can run around to his heart's content and you save a few grand in fence costs.


Electrical fencing does not work for all breeds. We were advised against getting one for our dog. The breeder told us that if he saw a squirell, he'd run right through it. (Knowing my dog, I'm not convinced it wouldn't have worked, but I never would have taken a chance.)


Invisible fencing requires training.  The places that install do minimal training.  And as pointed out, not advisable for all dogs, does not keep other animals out, and quite frankly is cruel (if you don't think it is, take one of the collars, put it around your neck and see how it works).  I know the settings are adjustable but to be effective they have to cause some pain.  

And decent fencing company will come to your house.  if they have done work in the area, they will know the regulations and will get the required permits.  


One word of advice : if you live on a corner property, don't even bother trying to fence your yard.  The rules are absurd and inconsistent, and seeking a variance is a complete waste of time and money.  Homeowners are granted them at a rate of 2%, as I painfully learned.

Please feel free to PM me for gory details if you are interested.

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