Help with putting up a fence : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Ok, Where to start? I am ready to put up the fence.( Sort of) Problem is, I don't know where to put it. We have 10 and 1/2 Acres; 1 acre wide and 10& 1/2 long.

The Corners are marked. But I can not see them all at once. The surveyers Want over $800.00 to mark the fence line.( on one side!) I don't have it. I do have a compass though. And the surveyers papers showing the layout of the land.And someone told me I could figure out where to put the fence line by useing this.

Could someone tell me how this is done? I am so discouraged with this whole thing. I really want to get my animals. Help!

-- Bonnie (, January 07, 2001


Hi, Get a ball of bailing twine. Tie it to a corner marker and walk to the other corner marker.Follow the line to put your post.

-- Bettie Ferguson (, January 07, 2001.

You don't say what the terrain is like. Trees? Brush? Big rocks? Why can't you see from corner to corner? An acre is about 210 feet per side, so your 10 acre side is about 2/5 of a mile or 2100 feet, if a straight line. How accurate does the fence line have to be? Neighbors? Are the long sides straight lines? Dogleg?

-- JLS in NW AZ (, January 07, 2001.

Use two people.One stays behind at the corner.The other moves ahead to a point on the line, checking back and forward, keeping on line with the two fixed points.You can use the compass to direct them left or right. Then flag the line up to the second person, have them move to the next point,repeating the procedure.Til you get to the end of your enclosure.

Hope that made sense.Easier to show than explain.Laid out alot of boundaries this way.

I never could teach this procedure very well to Nick,tho.He's geometrically challenged.We're now working on a stud wall he put up.You don't want to know.He did it while I was gone.I usually handle layout,bc he invariably will get something wrong.Well,everybody has things they do well, and things they don't.

Before you put up the fence,get the neighbor there,and make sure everyone is in agreement on the border you flagged.Also many boundaries are old fences,so you look for barbed wire left in trees.Sometimes it's only a scar,but a seasoned eye can pick it out. Didn't the surveyer blaze(axe gouge in trees) the line? or cut down shrub as he went.Follow these kinds of marks,as well, and you'll know you are on track.

-- sharon wt (, January 07, 2001.

This isn't exactly related to your original question, but it follows up the response.

If the terrain is kind of hilly, you can also have one of the people hold up a long piece of 1x2 or something to help align it (the person at the corner or last reference point holds it so you can see the post even if you can't see them.) We have run fence lines by sight this way before (but not perimeter fencing...I don't think this is exact enough for boundaries.)

Also, you can get a square corner by using the Pythagorean Theorum: Ths square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle equals the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides.... Okay, that means beans to me (ahem!) but basically, if you measure out 3 feet on one length from the corner, and 4 feet out on the other length from the corner, the diagonal between the ends of those two points should be 5 feet, if it's a right angle. Use stakes and twine to get it right before digging post holes and putting in posts!

Whew. Don't ask me how many times I took algebra! I think this is all I remember from Geometry!

Good luck. Fencing can be discouraging sometimes, I know.

-- sheepish (WA) (, January 07, 2001.

Sheepish's mathematical statement is absolutely correct. However, always the however, you might want to use a little longer side on a fence to check the right angle. Try 10 ft on one 90 degree leg and 15 feet on the other, then the hyp would be 18 feet (slightly more, but within string stretching error). Also be sure one leg is true, otherwise you have two misaligned legs.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, January 07, 2001.

The two short corners ( 1 acre width ) I can see. But the other goes up the mountain. Many hills,trees, brush, rocks,and gullies,ect. in between corner markers. Also now, many downed trees, mostly pines. Math is not my strong point.Hubby is better. Nobody lives on the land next to us, but we want to be as acurate as possible. We owned the 1/2 acre tract ( half of the acreage we have now ) before. The fence is off in many places. We weren't very worried about it since we knew we we're going to get this half, and therefore it would be on our own property anyway. The person we bought this from was a relative and gave us a real good deal ( price-wise ) He had it surveyed along with the rest of his property and had the corners marked. It is a very long story, but the fence line on both sides of our property is wrong. Off 2 feet in the front and some 30 feet in the back on the other side.( not in our favor ) The side we need to fix first ( for the animals ) is the one we just bought. We have no neighbors on either side right now,no houses. If we can't use the compass; can we rent a transit, and if so would just anyone know how to use it? I know I sound very ignorant, I AM ( on this stuff anyway ) Thanks all.

-- Bonnie (, January 07, 2001.

Buy a surveyors laser transit,mark boundries every 100'

-- Bettie Ferguson (, January 07, 2001.

I worked for a surveyor for a summer while going to college. It sounds as one reason the price is high is that it will require many setups (moving the transit) due to terrain. Every change in transit position is subject to error. You might consider getting just the common boundary surveyed as this will reduce or eliminate future disagreements since you have to move the common fence. (Even relatives can claim they thought the land they bought went to the fence.) Also, are there road or right away easements on the property boundary? Using a transit is not very difficult, but shoot downhill as that is much, much easier and less prone to mistakes. Sometimes you can rent these. Also is there a college nearby that may have civil engineering courses. They might have an instructor who would show you how to do it. If you settle on a rough estimated fence line, a GPS will be more accurate than a compass, probably within 5 to 10 feet.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, January 08, 2001.

JLS, Forgive me for being so ignorant; but THE COMMON BOUNDARY? Is that the fence that seperates their property and ours? That is the one I am conscerned about. When we bought this property, we found out that we actually owned the property down the middle of his ( our neighbors ) land, which is appr.83 acres. We had a warrenty deed.He apparently owned the property our house was on.Which is on the outside edge of his property. Well we switched ( legally ) all the paper work and now own the part the house is on. ( I said it was a long story ) As part of the deal,he had it all surveyed. And so the corners are marked but apparently the fence line is not; which according to him was supposed to be done. But, he lives in Boston and has since sold the rest of the land to others who owned the adjoining property from behind( top of the mountain )According to surveyers; they have done their job by marking corners and he isn't going to come from Boston to do anything about it. So that leaves us where we are. Almost two years later and no fence. AAAHHH! I can't seem to get the new neighbors to help in anyway with the fence. Apparently they don't really care about it since they don't need to use it now. They only bought it to keep others from building next to them. The present fence that runs down the (now middle )of our property is off line in several places which for the most part is in our favor. If we use it as a guide for the new fence Part of the new one would cross over onto their land.Do I make any sense at all? I hope so. Thanks for being so patient.

-- Bonnie (, January 08, 2001.

Hi Bonnie, Yes, THE COMMON BOUNDARY is the line that separates their property and yours. After hearing what you had to say about ownership, I would be very concerned to get a good accurate fence line established. The surveyor has already marked the corners, so it should not cost much to get him to mark the line every 50 feet (three markers). Use iron stakes and do not remove. Get a note or letter from him, or a detailed invoice: that way if there is a future disagreement you would have a certified boundary. You never know who might be the next owner of the adjacent property. Consider the cost an insurance policy.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, January 08, 2001.

Bonnie, another thought. Contact the person that hired the surveyor and ask for a copy of the bill or invoice. If it states that the fence line was marked, he should do it. If not contact the state registar of professional engineers or maybe your county zoning dept. (Actually anyone in the county gov't you might know for help - they will direct you to the right dept.) First check on the cost, because once you start a fight it is sometimes hard to stop.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, January 08, 2001.

JLS, and Others, Thanks sp very much! You have all been a great help.

-- Bonnie (, January 08, 2001.

Is it possible to place a marker at the corner that CAN be seen from the other corner? I'm thinking about a ten foot or longer pole or PVC pipe w/surveyer's ribbon attached that could be raised at the corner high enough to be seen from the other corner. Then you could sight from one corner to the next. If you can do that, then you can establish points in-between to find the line. I've done this on my land which is also very hilly and brushy. Stand between the two corners, place a hoe handle or a long straight pole across your shoulders. It helps to extend your arms along the handle. Turn you head and sight along the handle to one corner, then turn your head (head only!) and sight down the other side. You can eventually line up the corners by sighting and repositioning yourself. When you do, you are standing on the line. Drive a metal stake immediately.

-- Maggie's Farm (, January 08, 2001.

I think every property has a true starting point, check your deed. This is where you need to start from even if this is not where the fence is going. I live in real hilly country and you can loose site of the markers fairly quick. Try this first mark and locate your corners with orange flag tape or whatever. Then stand about 50 feet away, keeping both corners lined up, then have another person move towards the line with other markers and when they line up with the corner markers have them mark this spot.

This might seam a little confusing, so think of it as looking down the barel of a rifle, You have your rear site(Corner marker) and you line it up with your front site(Other corner marker). This equalls your straight line. Now move your finger untill it just starts to pass between the two site, wa,la this would be a point to mark on the line.

Something else to add, In some states building a line fence, both propertites owners are liable for cost. You might have a mad neighbor, however if you bring this to their attention then maybe they would help you with your line?

Me, I don't like a line fence, I leave 2-3 feet from my neighbors so I can walk on the other side without trespassing.This alows me to keep the wild roses away and other unwanted plants.

Good luck.

-- hillbilly (, January 12, 2001.

Go rent yourself a transit from the local equipment rental place. You know the general direction of the line. Go out as far as you can from the first corner and still be able to see it. Set a stake firmly in the ground and mark an exact point with a finish nail. Set the transit over the point as accurately as possible with a plumb bob or the optical plummet if it is so equipped. Sight on the corner marker. You'll need a helper to hold a plumb bob so you can sight accurately on the string. Plunge the telescope or turn an angle of exactly 180 degrees and set another point ahead on that sighting as far out as the terrain allows. Move the transit ahead to that point, backsight the first point you occupied and repeat the process. Keep on like this until you reach the other corner. Unless you are extremely lucky, you will miss the corner by a certain amount. Measure the right angle distance from your last line of sight to the corner. Now you will need to use some math. You will also need to measure the horizontal distance between each of your stakes and the corners (all survey measurements are done in terms of horizontal measure, not along the slope of the ground). Adjust each point you set a proportionate amount in relation to the distance by which you missed the last corner. For example, if your total property line between corners is 1000 feet, and you set points, starting at one corner, at 250 feet, 300 feet, 150 feet, and 175 feet, you should measure 125 feet to the second corner. If you missed the second corner for line by an even 3 feet to the left, you would adjust stake #1 a distance of 0.75 feet (9 inches) to the right (3/1000*250), stake #2 a distance of 1.65 feet to the right (3/1000*550) and so on. Divide the total distance between corners by the distance you miss the second corner and multiply by the total distance from the first corner to obtain the correction for each stake. This is exactly the procedure used by the Government Land Office surveyors as the laid out the rectangular surveys of most of the United States over the past 150 years and is called the Transit Rule Method of Traverse Adjustment. Feel free to email me if you need more clarification. (BTW, I'm a Licensed Land Surveyor in Washington)

-- Skip Walton (, January 13, 2001.

Another note on where to put the fence: DON'T put your fence inside the line unless you want to give that extra land away. Put your fence as close to the surveyed line as physically possible. Fences are considered in boundary case law to be monuments of the property line. After ten years of your fence two to three feet inside your line, your neighbor can take possession of that land by adverse possession. Avoid boundary conflicts and PUT IT ON THE LINE.

-- Skip Walton (, January 13, 2001.

I've been reading this with interest because it kind of affects my situation as well. However, I would like to add to Skip's last post - - 'unless your township/county has a set-back ordinance'. Ours does, and if you put the fence on lot line exactly, you can be forced to take it down and move it back. I'd rather not have to go to double work.

-- Julie Froelich (, January 15, 2001.

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