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The secret to a front fence in Canberra?

By boo-radley - 4 November 2013 26

Is anyone able to shed any light on how the rules and regulations of front fences are interpreted and enforced (or not) in Canberra? In our street in Ainslie there are at least half a dozen house with fully enclosed yards, not to mention “property demarcations” that are more than double/triple the height specified by our good friends at ACTPLA.

We were planning to put some built elements in front of our house as part of landscaping, with part of the area to be enclosed, but are concerned that even though it is not structural and modest in comparison to other front yards, ACTPLA will either take one look at it and say “computer says no” or worse, encourage us to lodge a DA with independent certifications etc, and then say “computer says no”.

Has anyone had any experience in this respect, or have any of you just chanced your luck and gone ahead?

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
The secret to a front fence in Canberra?
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MsCheeky 2:45 pm 05 Nov 13

There is Woppadingo’s advice to just go ahead and if you do, you know it’s always easier to seek forgiveness than permission, 😉

But NO, NO, NO! Do not plant cypress leylandii. They are monsters completely unsuited to urban landscaping. They grow at the rate of about one metre a year, and can do that for 40 years. They also suck everything from the soil. They are such a problem in the UK, that the High Hedges Act was enacted specifically to deal with them. They are used as ‘spite hedges’, say where a neighbour has been unsuccessful in objecting against a development. A little googling will show some fine examples.

woppadingo 1:49 pm 05 Nov 13

The simplest advice I can give would be ‘DONT TELL THEM”
Just go ahead and do it. Your neighbours dont have the same hangups about front fences as the mouth breathers do. So dont worry about them dobbing you in.

Thumper 8:30 am 05 Nov 13

JC said :

Thumper said :

As Mr Caulfield suggests.

Plant a hedge. Of course, once it starts growing you could always build a fence behind it, so that the hedge completely covers it in the future.

Best hedging plants in Canberra seem to be Photinia, Pittosporum or Leyland Cyprus, (although the latter needs some care to form a hedge)

That’s what someone in Macgregor has kinda done (on the corner of Osburne Drive and Clubbe Street). Though in their case they build the fence out of colourbond, then must of been told to take it down, so what they have done is removed the panels, but left the frames and are have now planted around the outside. I reckon once the hedge covers the frame the panels will go back in.

Ironically this place is on a corner block, my understanding is on corner block it is ok to build a fence from the rear boundary along the side boundary line to level with the front of the house. In the case of the house I am talking about if they had of stopped the side fence (facing Osburn Drive) in line with the house it would have meet the regs.

Ha.. Yep. I’ve seen that place. It’s yellow with a photinia hedge, well, not really a hedge yet…

miz 10:15 pm 04 Nov 13

You can sometimes get viburnum tinus (sometimes called ‘Laurestinus’) as tube stock – usually around $3 ea. They are a little slow growing, but this is actually good thing as they only need a prune once a year. They cope with frost, drought, shade and full sun, so you don’t get that patchy look under trees. As an added bonus they get pretty magenta-tinged buds that open into white flower clusters. AND, they are fire resistant (as I found out when an adjacent neighbour’s wood fence burned down).
In comparison, cypress hedges are pretty high maintenance and are considered a fire hazard (see Dr Google). Photinia flowers truly stink and attract flies – yuck. Pittos grow sparsely in the shade.

JC 6:12 pm 04 Nov 13

Genie said :

I live in a battleaxe property and want to enclose my front yard.

I can only build a pool fence to 1.5m high, and it has to be covered by either a hedge or mesh etc.

However I can’t build a solid fence.

Bizarre rules

I am confused. If you have a battleaxe how do you have a front yard?

JC 6:08 pm 04 Nov 13

Thumper said :

As Mr Caulfield suggests.

Plant a hedge. Of course, once it starts growing you could always build a fence behind it, so that the hedge completely covers it in the future.

Best hedging plants in Canberra seem to be Photinia, Pittosporum or Leyland Cyprus, (although the latter needs some care to form a hedge)

That’s what someone in Macgregor has kinda done (on the corner of Osburne Drive and Clubbe Street). Though in their case they build the fence out of colourbond, then must of been told to take it down, so what they have done is removed the panels, but left the frames and are have now planted around the outside. I reckon once the hedge covers the frame the panels will go back in.

Ironically this place is on a corner block, my understanding is on corner block it is ok to build a fence from the rear boundary along the side boundary line to level with the front of the house. In the case of the house I am talking about if they had of stopped the side fence (facing Osburn Drive) in line with the house it would have meet the regs.

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