Pro Advice

Designing a fence to surround your pool or spa

For many of our fencing customers, few images better evoke family fun and relaxation than that of enjoying a refreshing dip in a backyard pool. But as any pool owner will tell you, there are precautions to consider in making this image a reality.

We make sure the fence surrounding your pool meets the California Safety Code.

To ensure optimum safety for all involved, California law requires you to install and maintain a fence around any “structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing.” It’s a mandate designed to keep your family and your neighbors safe.

At AMM Fencing, we work with you to make sure the fence and gates are installed to California code, while meeting your personal aesthetic and functional requirements.

The State of California

There’s no wiggle room when it comes to the California Safety Code: any pool or spa more than 18 inches deep needs a fence around it. So yes, in addition to pools and standard spas, we’re also talking about hot tubs, portable spas, and wading pools. 

The law is also very clear about what type of fence you’ll need. According to the Swimming Pool Safety Act, a fence must meet these specific criteria:

  1. Any access gates through the enclosure must open away from the swimming pool and must be self-closing with a self-latching device placed at least 60 inches above the ground.
  2. Have a maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure of two inches.
  3. Gaps or voids in the fence, if any, do not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than four inches in diameter.
  4. The surrounding surface of the ground must be free of protrusions, cavities, or other physical characteristics that would serve as handholds or footholds that could enable a child below the age of five years to climb over.

Additional safety measures for pool owners

In addition to the above safety codes, at least two of the safety measures below must also be in placed in or around your backyard pool or spa:

  1. Removable mesh fencing and a gate that is self-closing and self-latching that can accommodate a key lockable device.
  2. An approved safety pool cover.
  3. Exit alarms on the private single-family home’s doors that provide direct access to the swimming pool or spa.
  4. A self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor on the private single-family home’s doors providing direct access to the swimming pool or spa.
  5. An alarm that when placed in a swimming pool or spa, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. 
  6. Other means of protection, if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the features set forth above.

City and HOA regulations

AMM installed this fence in the Tri-Valley region.

Please be aware that cities and homeowner associations also maintain their own mandates when it comes to pools and fences. While most follow the State’s ordinances, some add their own requirements as well.

For your convenience, we’ve provided links to the codes of some Tri-Valley cities below. But be sure to check with all appropriate localities before moving forward with your fence installation.

San Ramon





Walnut Creek


San Leandro


Craftsmanship the right way

Let AMM Fencing help you design a safe and beautiful fence that meets all your state and local regulations. After your fence is installed, you’ll be able to enjoy your own private pool surrounded by a premium, beautiful, and code-compliant redwood fence. We are experts at doing it the right way.

Give us a call today.


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