Fences and Walls

Wood fence by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

This webpage provides general information about Denver's rules for fences and walls, including retaining walls. Please review this information before applying for zoning or building permits.

General Rules

  • Fences should not be constructed on a neighboring property or in the public right-of-way. The public right-of-way includes streets, alleys, sidewalks, and tree lawn areas.
  • All fences and walls must be at least 6 inches back from the public sidewalk, regardless of where the property line is located.
  • Except for industrial areas, the maximum fence height allowed is four feet in the front yard and six feet in the backyard.
  • In industrial areas, the maximum height allowed is 7 feet within the setback and 10 feet outside of the setback.

Key Definition

Primary street-facing façade refers to the building wall that faces the primary street. In many cases, this is the wall where the building's front door is located. Except for industrial areas, fences in front of the primary façade must be four feet or shorter. Fences behind this point can be up to six feet in height.

diagram of fence height zoning rule


  • All fences over four feet tall need a zoning permit. All walls, including retaining walls, over 12 inches high need a zoning permit.
  • Post-hole dug fences only need a building permit if they are taller than eight feet, but all other fence and wall types require building permits if they are over four feet tall.
  • Masonry walls and retaining walls over six feet in height require commercial engineering plan review and a building permit.

Apply for permits online

First-time e-permits users will need to create an online account. Then go to Development Services > Apply for a Permit. When prompted, select "zoning permit."

What to submit

When you apply for a permit in e-permits, you will be prompted to upload additional materials with your application. For fences and walls, please include the items listed below.

A site plan that illustrates...

  • Labels and dimensions of all zone lot lines (e.g., primary, side, rear)
  • The distance of the proposed fence/wall from all zone lot lines
  • North arrow
  • Labels for adjacent streets and alleys
  • All existing structures already on the property
  • Proposed fence/wall location and height
  • Proposed fence/wall materials

Fence/wall elevations if the proposal includes...

  • A mix of materials, such as a fence on top of a retaining wall etc.
  • An over-height fence or wall

Section and footing details for fences or walls that require a building permit

View sample plans and tip sheets

Special Situations

Landmarks, Historic Districts, Parkways

All fences and walls regardless of height that are located in a historic district, an individually designated landmark, or located along a designated parkway require a permit.

Learn about design guidelines for landmark and parkway properties.

Floodplains and Sewer Lines

If your property is in a floodplain or if you are digging within two feet of the sewer line, a sewer use and drainage permit (SUDP) may be required.

Research your property