When it comes to maintaining harmony between neighbours, the matter of garden fencing can become surprisingly contentious. One common point of debate is who gets the "good" side of a newly erected fence.

In this comprehensive blog post, we'll explore the intricacies surrounding this question, honing in on legal obligations, common etiquette, and advice for peacefully navigating fence construction and maintenance with your neighbours.

Understanding Fence Ownership and Responsibility

Firstly, it's important to establish who owns the fence. This can be determined by looking at the property deeds, which should delineate boundaries and indicate which fence belongs to which property. In some cases, a boundary fence might be jointly owned, implying shared responsibility for its upkeep and the side each neighbour sees.

Legal Standpoints

In the UK, there is no specific law stating you must give your neighbour the more visually appealing side of the fence panels. Laws related to fencing usually centre around height, positioning, and structural safety rather than aesthetics.

Legally, if the fence is wholly on your property, you're entitled to choose which way it faces. However, adhering strictly to what the law allows without considering your neighbour's perspective might lead to strained relationships, affecting long-term neighbourly harmony.

Common Etiquette and Practices

Though not bound by law, it's common practice to position a new fence so that your neighbour has the smooth side facing their property. This approach stems from a combination of aesthetics, as the "good" side is generally more pleasing, and practicality, as the side with the posts and rails can make it easier for the fence owner to carry out repairs.

This convention isn't universally accepted or expected, but it's seen as a gesture of goodwill. Engaging in open discussions with your neighbour before the fence is installed can often lead to an amicable agreement that suits both parties.

A Path to Amicable Resolution

Communication Is Key

Before making any decisions or starting construction, have a conversation with your neighbour. Explain your plans and listen to any concerns or preferences they might have. A solution that both parties are content with from the outset will reduce future tensions.

Consider Sharing the Costs

If you're expecting your neighbour to live with the less appealing side of the fence, they may be more amenable if offered a say in the matter or if the cost is shared. Not only can this lead to a more satisfactory aesthetic choice for both, but it also fosters a sense of shared responsibility and respect.

Legal Advice and Mediation

In the event of a disagreement that cannot be resolved through discussion, you might consider seeking legal advice or mediation services. These routes can offer solutions without escalating to formal disputes or litigation, preserving the neighbourly relationship.


While you might not be legally obliged to give your neighbour the "good" side of the fence, considering their views and striving for a mutual agreement reflects good etiquette and promotes positive relations. Open dialogue, understanding, and possibly sharing the costs can go a long way towards maintaining a peaceful neighbourhood. Ultimately, a fence is more than a boundary—it's a potential bridge between neighbours, fostering goodwill and mutual respect.