Association of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors

By Fred C. Hutchinson, BA, NSLS, CLS

The above quotation is from the poem "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost (1874 - 1963).  The concept is a good one since poor fences will generally cause some ill feelings between neighbours. 

The term 'good' does not only mean the condition of the fence, but also its location.  If a fence is not located on the boundary line as recognized by all land owners, then a problem greater than the condition of the fence arises.  It should be noted that more than one person owns a boundary line ..... they are shared and the responsibility of maintenance should be a mutual one.  Fences, however, are built by a single land owner for various reasons.  Even mowing six inches of your neighbour's lawn may be viewed as an act of trespass.

The good neighbour policy will not be maintained if fences are constructed in locations other than on boundary lines, no matter how nice they look.  Pasture fences may be an exception in rural areas, provided they are not interpreted as boundary lines.  The building of and the type of fence should be reviewed by all adjacent owners.  That's just common courtesy and the failure to do so may result in some friction.  You have the right to fence your property and, in some situations, it becomes a responsibility.

The recognition and maintenance of a boundary line, with or without a fence, does promote an orderly community.  Or more briefly stated -- "Good Fences Make Good Neighbours".


Fred Hutchinson has been the Executive Director of the Association of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors since 1999 and also is a Past President of the Association.  Mr. Hutchinson was licensed in 1971, employed by municipal government for nearly six years and spent over twenty-two years in private practice.