Zankapfel Fences: The Discord of Peace

Zankapfel Fences: The Discord of Peace


Fences, walls and hedges create privacy and should serve good neighborliness. Often enough, however, there is a dispute over the garden boundaries.

Many property owners want a clear demarcation. Be it as a visual screen, out of a need for security or as a purely symbolic border. If only there were not the direct neighbors who felt affected by the design and height of the fence, the wall or the hedge again and again. The lawsuits fill mountains of court records. Which height is permissible can only be decided on a case-by-case basis. But after all, there are some clear rules on design, placement and cost distribution.

Are fences or walls a must?

Whether a property necessarily needs a physical boundary depends on the state and often on the community. Definitely prescribed are enclosures only in Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Who lives in Schleswig-Holstein, Hesse or Berlin, has to provide for hedge, fence or wall, if his neighbor expressly insists. However, neighbors must share the costs, even if only one of them requires demarcation. As far as the placement is concerned, in some countries it is necessary to place the fortification half a meter behind the property boundary.

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Many federal states have so far waived precise garden boundary laws. Differently numerous municipalities: To enforce uniform place or street pictures, they often prescribe an enclosure including type and height. Often, building authorities limit the freedom of design. Although a privacy screen up to a height of 1.8 meters may be erected in most cases without a building permit. But, for example, the authorities intervene when a wall serves road safety on public roads and has to fulfill structural conditions for it.

Creative diversity or unity harmony?

Individuality is a matter of taste, but seldom neighborly. Annoyance avoids who sticks to the usual of his residential area when limiting his property. If there is no consistent picture in the fourth or in the street, as a rule no fence can be prescribed or demolished. But especially in areas with inconsistent appearance there is potential for conflict if the neighbors do not coordinate in advance.

Where the freedoms are relatively large, homeowners can follow a rule of thumb. Heights of 40 to 90 centimeters are ideal for symbolic boundaries. Real garden or pasture fences are best built between one and 1.4 meters high. For privacy, heights of 1.7 to 1.9 meters prove themselves.

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