How do you determine a fence line? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

This is probably one of those "well, duh!" questions, but I'm stumped. I've got an eight-acre parcel to fence. Two sides are no-brainers (road on each side) but the other two edge up to adjoining properties, and except for a short stretch on one of those sides, there's no fencing in place. I had the place surveyed before buying it, and the corners are clearly marked with pipe and rebar...but how do I lay out a line between them?

The distances on the two sides I'm talking about are approximately 400' and 800'. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-- Christine (, December 13, 2001


I'd use a compass, If the stakes are still in, start at one end, say next to the road and set the compass down alligning the pointer to north. you can then turn the base of the compass to point to the stake you want the fence to go to. Have someone walk from you to the point and paint a spot at each point you want a fence post, you stand at the start point to make sure the other person stays on your side of the property line. I'd keep one step onto my own property.

-- Paul (, December 14, 2001.

If you were anywhere close I'd loan you my transit level to lay it out. Other wise, set up a marker at each end of the fence line. Then use line of sight to mark several points. Stretch a wire (or string line between points.

-- charlie (, December 14, 2001.

In many places adjoining property owners share the cost of a common fence line and work out the routing of the fence to include gates, access to water, and so on BEFORE the fence is erected. Typically the cost is split 50-50. That's what my neighbor and I do.

In some states, if a property owner erects a fence, and the adjoining property owner doesn't pay to help construct it, the adjoining property owner can be prevented from connecting to the installed fence at a future date. That arrangement doesn't usually work out too well for local relationships.

There are a couple of approaches you might consider trying. First, approach you adjoining land owners' and ask them if they are interested in spliting the cost of a fence. If not, then you should probably stay back on your side of the property line by a foot or two. And, don't forget that you are responsible for maintenance of your fence and any critters that get out of the enclosed area.

Given your property adjoins two roads, I suggest you check with your insurance agent to make sure your policy provides liability coverage for you in the event one or more of your animals wander into the road and get hit by a car or cause an accident. The other night we were returning home and my neighbor's 1,500 Black Angus Bull was out in the road enjoying an evening snack of grass on the shoulder of the road. A black bull at night on a dark country road is very hard to see in a drizzling rain. Luckily, I don't speed down country roads and avoided hitting him. I called my neighbor and we managed to get the brute back into the field.

Around here, we are all used to each others livestock getting out once in a while. We either just put them back in for our neighbors and fix the hole in the fence, if we know whose stock it is, which we usually do, or as a minimum we call and let them know their stock is out and then help them get them back in.

One final thought. In some states there are laws on the books that are suppose to govern the construction of certain types of agricultural fencing. For example, here in Virginia, board fencing is supposed to be built to certain standards. I see many fences that aren't, but I imagine there are some legal reasons why those rules exist.

Hope this helps. Ed

-- Ed (, December 14, 2001.

know anyone with a GPS ? Mark the 2 ends,, and work you way in,, the GPS will let you know when your in line

-- stan (, December 14, 2001.

If all the corners are marked then go get you some string and run between the markers. You can get colored string at the hardware store. VERY strong, designed for setting level lines on work sites. If you have an elevation issue to deal with then bring a vertical pole up to a common elevation point and tie your string up.

-- Gary (, December 14, 2001.

We had the county come out and do it after a neighbor complained that our emu were too close to his house. We almost ended up with 40 of thier property, but the zoning guy finally got it right.

-- Wendy A (, December 14, 2001.

Compass not accurate enough. Neither is GPS, unless they've gotten WAY more accurate in the last couple of years.

String's the best, but if there is a rise between the known points, it can be a problem. If the rise is small, you can erect a pole at each corner, being careful to make it very close to vertical, then run the string. Builder's string works well.

Best to run the string a couple of inches outside the line, though, so you don't go along pushing the string out with each post you set!

-- joj (jump@off.c), December 14, 2001.

most surverors use GPS anymore,, WAY more accurate

-- stan (, December 14, 2001.

I'm inclined to agree that GPS would be very helpful. we generally use a string, even left over twine to lay out fences. we have a "Right hand rule" which says that half the line fence is yours and half is the neighbors. Either to fence stock in or out if you or they don't have any. We ran into trouble with two of our neighbors, got the township involved and then (it seemed) all of us scrambled to make amends. Line fences are sore points but good fences make good neighbors they say. We had our halves done first before we had to get the neighbors to do thiers. Now with our city neighbors we're just going to put the fence up our cost no thanks required. This after one of them tried to annex 50 feet of our feild.

-- Ross (, December 14, 2001.

Please check your county code first. We have our place fenced in all sides,the guy behind us put up the back fence and it is right on the property line,so we can use it{county law},now the other side {near neighbor from hell}is also right on the line we did that side we were thinking at first of stepping it back 2 ft we found out that if she used the land{the 2ft gap} and could prove she maintaned it she could claim squaters{sp} rights in 7 yrs. Come to find out thats why she asked us to bump it back. I LOVE the fact our place is fenced with a locked gate at the driveway,it helps keep the city folks away{our friends just jump the fence}lol.

-- renee o'neill (, December 14, 2001.

Aren't GPSs only accurate to 50-100 feet????

-- joj (jump@off.c), December 14, 2001.

Thanks so much for all the info! My plan is to start laying things out after the holidays and get the fence up a bit at a time...assuming, of course, that my sister's two boys will let me wait that long. They're in their mid-teens and in a tearing hurry to show off their growing muscles. Of course, being a doting aunt, I've got to be kind enough to let them help .

Thanks again!

-- Christine (, December 15, 2001.

DO check out your local laws. Many will say both parties should contribute equally to the cost of a basic fence - including surveying. Only common sense. Also means no disputes about location afterwards. Of course, if you want more than the basic, you have to pay the difference.

Don't just build a fence, two feet your side, at your cost - if it's an 800' fence then you've just given away a third of an acre (and as an above poster said, with adverse possession after whatever your limit is (say seven years) you WILL have given it away), and payed for the privilege too. This could cause you trouble in the future too - say you've got a forty acre block, and local zoning says you can subdivide no smaller than ten acres, but you've given away a third of an acre ....

Of course, if your neighbour is a county road or a national park, you're probably fresh out of luck, but check that too.

-- Don Armstrong (, December 15, 2001.

we had GPS in the army,, back in late 80's,, was accurate to 10 feet,, was working on a pipeline last year,, accurate to 6 inches.

-- stan (, December 15, 2001.

I'm not sure about your area, but where I am a fence can be built 7 feet of the property line on either side to avoid obsticles (ditches, trees rocks etc.) without losing title. Call your municiple office.

-- Ross (, December 17, 2001.

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