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There are some special requirements for fences along the river and in associations.

Where can I build my fence?

  • Side and backyard—your fence may be placed on your property line.
  • Front yard and corner lots—your fence can be placed on or within 15 feet of your property line if it is less than 42 inches in height. Any fence more than 42 inches must be 15 feet or more from the front property line. Fences cannot be placed in the public right of way.
  • A building permit is required to install or repair a fence over 7 feet in height

Live along the Mississippi River

If you live along the Mississippi River, there are extra requirements. Fences may not be constructed within 100 feet of the ordinary high water (OHW) mark of the river and within 40 feet of slope greater than 12%. For more information, please call our Planning Division.

Homeowner’s associations

If you live in a homeowner’s association, there may be other fence requirements.

Tip for winter

Keep fences 5 feet from sidewalks for snow storage.

Examples of fence placement

Fence 2

Fence 1

Where is my property line?

The following steps may be helpful when determining where they are located:

  • Contact a state-licensed surveyor. Fees may vary.
  • Visit the city and review your property records. A survey may be available.
  • Check for property line markers in the ground. These are metal stakes in the ground. They are hard to find, but you might be able to find them using a metal detector.

Tip to be a good neighbor

Talk to your neighbors before installing a fence. This helps prevent future property line disputes.

What is the public right-of-way and clear view triangle?

The public right-of-way is the area between the street curb and your property line. Your fence must also not be built inside of these clear view triangles.

Corner lots

At the corner, you must have a 50-foot clear-view triangle.

Lot with a driveway

Next to the driveway, you must have a 30-foot clear-view triangle.

Fence Diagram

What material can my fence be made out of?

Approved materials

  • Metal
  • Decay resistant materials
  • Wood fence panels
  • Masonry
  • Chain-link
    • Must have a top rail and posts spaced no more than 10 feet apart.
    • If placed in the front yard, it must have a black, brown, or green vinyl coating.

Allowed examples

Fence Type Allowed wooden

Fence Type Allowed chain link

Prohibited materials

  • Electric, barbed wire, chicken wire
  • Chain-link lacking a top rail

Not allowed example

Barbed wire fence

Fence maintenance

  • Every fence must be maintained in good condition.
  • At least one gate is required for an emergency exit and for access to mow areas outside of your fence. The gate should be at least 30 inches wide.
  • The finished side of the fence must be facing out toward the neighboring property. All posts or structures supporting the fence must be structurally sound and on the inside of the fence. Some fences have a design with posts and panels on both sides.

Allowed fence conditions

Fence Maintenance Allowed 2

Fence Maintenance Allowed

Not allowed fence conditions

Fence Maint Not Allowed 1

Fence Maint Not Allowed 2

Fence Maint Not Allowed 3

Fence Maint Not Allowed 4

Do I need a fence if I have a pool in my backyard?

Yes! All residential swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, and other water tanks that are more than 2 feet deep must have:

  • A fence or approved barrier that is a minimum of 4 feet tall
  • Openings within the fence that are 4 inches or smaller
  • A self-closing, self-latching gate that is 4 feet wide or smaller
  • Above ground pools must have sides at least 4 feet in height and access must be controlled (ladder removed)

Fenced in pool example

Fence Pool

Neighborhood disputes

The City does not handle complaints involving property line disputes.Community Mediation and Restorative Services serves Hennepin County and is a free service that may be able to help.

Community Mediation and Restorative Services
Visit Community Mediation

Additional Resources

Fences handout (PDF) >