How To Separate Merged Front Yards (Here's What You Can Do)

Kathryn Flegal
by Kathryn Flegal

There are many reasons to separate your yard from the yard next door. Neighbors invading your space or needing more privacy are common reasons. Sometimes people feel the need to clearly define their property line, which is never a bad idea.

To separate merged front yards, you can build a pathway, plant trees or shrubs as a hedgerow, or put up a fence. This article will guide you through each process.

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Build a Pathway

Planning a path within your side of the property line is an attractive way to separate your yards. While it won’t create any privacy, it will ensure that there is a clear visual of your property lines. Here’s what you’ll need:

Materials needed:

  • Stakes
  • Rope or string
  • Sharp, flat spade/Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Sand
  • Hand tamper
  • Edging material (optional)
  • Landscape fabric
  • Pathway material

Step 1: Choose a Material

Choose your material. There are tons of options for path materials. You can build it using gravel, stone, cement, brick, pavers, wood, or more.

Step 2: Map out the Path

Plan your path by using stakes and ropes to mark exactly where you want it to go. Decide how wide you want the path to be.

Step 3: Dig the Soil

Dig out the soil. Use a sharp spade or a shovel to remove the sod and rocks. Dig your trench about 7 inches deep. Use a tamper to compact the soil and make it even.

Step 4: Install Edging

If you want edging along the sides of your path, install it now. Many kinds of materials are available to use as edging.

Step 5: Place the Fabric

Lay landscape fabric on the soil along the length of the path. This is to provide a smooth surface and act as a weed barrier.

Step 6: Add Sand

Add a layer of sand that’s 2 inches thick along the path. Use your finishing trowel to smooth it out. If you choose to, you can spray the sand with water to compact it before you lay your path material.

Step 7: Place the Material

Lay down the material you’ve chosen for your path in whichever configuration you desire.

Step 8: Fill the Gaps

If necessary, fill the gaps in your pathway with sand or gravel.

Plant a Privacy Hedge

There are many benefits to using a hedge to divide your lawn from your neighbor’s. The hedges can create a sound barrier, protect against strong winds, and provide privacy.

You will need:

Materials Needed:

  • Tree plants of choice
  • 2 Wooden stakes
  • Marking flags
  • String
  • Garden shovel

Step 1: Pick your Tree

Decide which kind of tree to use. Evergreen trees are one of the more popular options for privacy hedging. However, it depends on the desired width and height of your hedgerow.

Step 2: Map the Location

Map out the location for your plants by placing wooden stakes in the ground at opposite ends of the row you want to plant. Tie a string between the stakes to make sure your row will be straight. Then use a marking flag or any other marker to identify the spacing between plants.

Step 3: Dig a Trench

Dig a trench along the length of the area you have marked. Once you place the tree in the trench, fill it with enough soil to stabilize the tree.

Step 4: Water the Plants

Pour water into the trench and allow the plants to settle. Then finish filling the hole and use a hand tamper to push down lightly on the soil.

Step 5: Train the Plants to Hedge

Once your plants start growing significantly, you can begin to train them to grow into a hedge. This typically takes up to 1 or 2 seasons after planting them.

To do this, trim the top and the sides a few times per year as needed. When trimming, remove one half of the length of new shoots. You will want the hedges to be wider at the base in order to let sunlight reach the lower leaves.

Put Up a Fence

The obvious solution to separate adjoined front yards is to put up a fence. This is definitely a viable option, but the process might not be as simple as you think. To put up a fence between your property and your neighbor’s, you will need to:

Talk to Your Neighbor

If you’re following zoning laws and are within your property line, you’re not always required to talk to your neighbor. However, it would be the courteous thing to do to maintain peace and be a good neighbor.

Simply tell your neighbor that you’re thinking about putting up a fence and see what they think. The worst-case scenario in this situation would be your neighbor disputing your fence, causing legal trouble.

The best-case scenario would be that your neighbor was also thinking about doing the same. If this is the case, you may be able to work together on the job and even split the cost.

Follow Zoning Laws and Regulations

In many areas, your town will have limits on the height that your fence can be. For example, a standard law would require you to obtain a permit for all fences that exceed 4 feet. Visit your town or city’s official website to find out about your area’s fencing laws.

Respect Property Lines

You need to be absolutely certain of the exact property line before you put up a fence. Dig up the document that maps out your property (called a plat map). Alternatively, you can hire a surveyor that will point out your property line for you. A surveyor can also set up markers for you so that there’s no doubt about where a fence can go.

Consider Fence Etiquette

It is common practice to face the “good side” of the fence towards your neighbor. If your fence has one side that looks more polished, without rails or posts showing, it’s polite to have that side facing them. There are certain fences that you can get that look identical on both sides. These are called “good neighbor” fences.

Follow HOA Guidelines

If you live in an area with a Homeowners Association, they will likely have extremely specific fence guidelines. HOA’s sometimes go as far as requiring fences to be a certain type of material and have a specific color stain.

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Related Questions

Is a hedge considered a fence?

In some areas, hedges can be considered fences. This is because the term “fence” is not always clearly defined in zoning laws. To find out if you would need the same permissions to plant a hedgerow as a fence, check your local zoning laws.

How long does it take for a hedge to grow?

If you’re looking for immediate privacy, hedges may not be the solution for you. If you started with a plant that was around 24 inches, it will most likely take around 5 years for it to achieve its full height.

How much does it cost to build a fence?

It will cost anywhere from about $1700 and $4000 to install a fence. The cost depends on the type of fence you choose, the size of the fence, and the cost of labor in your area. Gates, extra hardware, paint, and stain can also add to the cost of the fence. If you want to build your own fence, you may be able to get the materials for around $1000-$2000.

Kathryn Flegal
Kathryn Flegal

Kathryn is a craft aficionado who loves writing about DIY home improvement projects. When she's not writing, she loves reading, listening to musicals, and playing with her kids.

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