Good fences typically make good neighbors, says the old platitude, but a number of homeowners are scrapping their dividing fences in order to build shared backyards and gardens with the folks next door, reports the Wall Street Journal. The communal spaces offer more room to entertain guests and plant an edible harvest, say converts. "When the fences are up, you tend to hide in your garden from the other people. That is no longer possible here," says one Brooklyn resident who now shares an expansive woodland yard with two other brownstone owners.
But the communal spaces aren't without risks, note real estate agents in particular. "Before I'd put [a shared] property on the market, they would have to have a legal document," says one. Another advises would-be sellers to re-erect a fence before listing a shared property: "Potential buyers instantly start calculating the cost" of installing one, and "buyers will not want to be the bad new neighbor who required a fence."