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  1. #1
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    Default Laying Out A Fence Line

    I have a rectangular piece of property that is approx 2000 ft X 500 ft. It has been surveyed and there are concrete monuments at each of the four corners. There is also a monument at the approximate midpoints of each of the short sides and one of the long sides. All sides are straight lines.

    I am planning to erect a fence 1 ft inside of the property lines on all 4 sides. The fence line is mostly clear but there are some overhanging branches and overgrown brush in a few spots. There are also 6-12 fairly large trees that will probably have to be removed. All of the obstructions are on the long 2000 foot sides. I have been cleraring some of the brush and removing trees which are obviously on my land.

    What I would like to know, is there a way I could lay out and accurate fence line without getting the surveyor back. Since I'm staying 1 ft in there will be some room for slight error. What I was thinking was to measure in say 1 to 3 ft on the short ends or whatever is required to have a clear line of sight along the long edges. Then I could place some stakes establishing a line 1-3 feet inside the property lines on the long sides. I would then measure back the required distance to determine where the fence goes and what trees have to be removed.

    Is there some sort of laser device that I could purchase or rent for a reasonable price that would allow me to establish the straight lines a known distance inside the actual property boundries? Or any other way or ways to go about this task, like stretching a length of polywire and letting it rest on some smooth pvc pipe to keep if off the ground?

  2. #2
    Elite Member Dmace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    I would buy a bundle of 1x1x36" or 48" grade stakes from your local lumber yard, measure in from your property line exactly 3',4',5' or whatever measure you need for a clear shot and pound in a grade stake. Do this every 50' or 100' or so and use small rope or string tied between them to give you a straight line guide.

    Kind of like this:
    Derek
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Measuring in “x” number of feet sounds like more additional work than needed, at least to me. I string my lines with a fishing rod/reel spooled with Dacron line. However, I’m not stringing lines that long, but I believe a spectra line would still work for you. This only works if the land is contoured such that you can see from one end to the other. Check with a local rental shop about renting a transit. This will help you establish a line of sight and tell you what trees need removed. Heck, you could even do it with a rifle scope, but again this is assuming you can see from one end to the other. Regarding where you place the fence, I would place it ON the line. Don’t cheat yourself out of that land.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Dmace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Quote Originally Posted by MMagis View Post
    Regarding where you place the fence, I would place it ON the line. DonÁ®š cheat yourself out of that land.
    Check with the local code inspector, most towns have a minimum setback from the property line for fences and the "good" side has to face your neighbors property as well. Plus there is usually a max height of fences.

    In my local towns/cities the setback is 6".
    Derek
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Dmace View Post
    Check with the local code inspector, most towns have a minimum setback from the property line for fences and the "good" side has to face your neighbors property as well. Plus there is usually a max height of fences.

    In my local towns/cities the setback is 6".
    I don't live in town, so I'm not familiar with city codes. It sounds ridiculous to me to force someone to cheat themselves. 6" on a city lot it no big deal, but a foot over a large tract of land is a lot. Still, it sounds like it's worth checking into. If your'e not in town, check with the local township trustees regarding property line fence laws. They SHOULD know, but I'd do some backup research as well. Don't take any one persons word for it.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member BigE_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Quote Originally Posted by MMagis View Post
    I don't live in town, so I'm not familiar with city codes. It sounds ridiculous to me to force someone to cheat themselves. 6" on a city lot it no big deal, but a foot over a large tract of land is a lot. Still, it sounds like it's worth checking into. If your'e not in town, check with the local township trustees regarding property line fence laws. They SHOULD know, but I'd do some backup research as well. Don't take any one persons word for it.
    Also beware of adverse possession: If you put your fence line 1'-3' away from the property line and the neighbor starts using your property at some point (think grazing animals, etc), they can claim adverse possession in some states. My parents lost a driveway due to this. Owned the driveway, neighbors put up a garage on their own property, but used the parents' driveway to get to it. No big deal, right? Except that it went on for 30 years, and when my parents wanted to close off the driveway which they no longer used, they couldn't, even though it was originally legally on their land.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Quote Originally Posted by BigE_ View Post
    Also beware of adverse possession: If you put your fence line 1'-3' away from the property line and the neighbor starts using your property at some point (think grazing animals, etc), they can claim adverse possession in some states. My parents lost a driveway due to this. Owned the driveway, neighbors put up a garage on their own property, but used the parents' driveway to get to it. No big deal, right? Except that it went on for 30 years, and when my parents wanted to close off the driveway which they no longer used, they couldn't, even though it was originally legally on their land.
    Exactly, that's why I wouln't waiver from the surveyed line by an inch. A lot of people don't realize this. Very good example.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    You may also take into account, how do you plan to maintain the fence line? You will need to cut brush,weeds and saplings that are growing in the fence, etc. If you want to keep it mowed, that's another issue.

    I would either put the fence on or as close to the actual property line as code permits - OR - I would lay in from the line far enough to get my mowing equipment on the outside of the fence and still be on your own property.

    If you want to maintain the fence line, offsetting by 1' to 3' may just be making hard manual work out of the tending the outside of the fence if you intend to keep it clean.

    If you decide to offset from the line, I would use the monuments directly to stretch a line or layout stakes, then measure in from that line the offset distance for each fence post you set. Once you get a line of posts in, eyeball then from the end of the line, the out of place posts (if you made an error) will be very evident.
    Dave.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Quote Originally Posted by dave1949 View Post
    You may also take into account, how do you plan to maintain the fence line? You will need to cut brush,weeds and saplings that are growing in the fence, etc. If you want to keep it mowed, that's another issue.

    I would either put the fence on or as close to the actual property line as code permits - OR - I would lay in from the line far enough to get my mowing equipment on the outside of the fence and still be on your own property.

    If you want to maintain the fence line, offsetting by 1' to 3' may just be making hard manual work out of the tending the outside of the fence if you intend to keep it clean.

    If you decide to offset from the line, I would use the monuments directly to stretch a line or layout stakes, then measure in from that line the offset distance for each fence post you set. Once you get a line of posts in, eyeball then from the end of the line, the out of place posts (if you made an error) will be very evident.
    Dave.
    The land is basically flat, so I have no problem getting a view from one end to the other.

    I don't really plan on maintaining the fence, other than removing overhanging branches and any growth that will poke thru the fence.

    This will be a high tensile deer exclusion fence and I have all local approvals that are required. The posts will be spaced 20 feet apart.

    A contractor will do the install and he tells me all he requires is a clear line of sight from one corner to the next for him to set the posts.

    The reason I can't stretch a line between the monuments is that right now the path isn't clear for the entire length, there are a few trees and some brush in the way; that's why I had the idea of stretching a line or using a transit or laser a few feet in where it's clear all the way. The only thing I have to be careful of is not to cut down one of the neighbors' trees.

    I'm not really worried about adverse possession of 1 foot. Adverse possession is almost impossible to obtain in our state, and they just toughened up the law even more last year. A title company will insure full title if no more than one foot is outside the fence. I was really leaving one foot just in case I have to squeeze in there to do a repair and also so as not to have to deal with any big tree that may be right on the line. I'm dealing with 14 different neighbors bordering this fence.

    Thanks for all the advice.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence Line

    Quote Originally Posted by dave1949 View Post
    You may also take into account, how do you plan to maintain the fence line? You will need to cut brush,weeds and saplings that are growing in the fence, etc. If you want to keep it mowed, that's another issue.

    I would either put the fence on or as close to the actual property line as code permits - OR - I would lay in from the line far enough to get my mowing equipment on the outside of the fence and still be on your own property.

    If you want to maintain the fence line, offsetting by 1' to 3' may just be making hard manual work out of the tending the outside of the fence if you intend to keep it clean.

    If you decide to offset from the line, I would use the monuments directly to stretch a line or layout stakes, then measure in from that line the offset distance for each fence post you set. Once you get a line of posts in, eyeball then from the end of the line, the out of place posts (if you made an error) will be very evident.
    Dave.
    The land is basically flat, so I have no problem getting a view from one end to the other.

    I don't really plan on maintaining the fence, other than removing overhanging branches and growth that will poke thru the fence.

    This will be a high tensile deer exclusion fence and I have all local approvals that are required.

    A contractor will do the install and he tells me all he requires is a clear line of sight from one corner to the next for him to set the posts.

    The reason I can't stretch a line between the monuments is that right now the path isn't clear for the entire length, there are a few trees and some brush in the way; that's why I had the idea of stretching a line or using a transit or laser a few feet in where it's clear all the wayl The only thing I have to be careful of is not to cut down one of the neighbors' trees.

    I'm not really worried about adverse possession of 1 foot. Adverse possession is almost impossible to obtain in our state, and they just toughened up the law even more last year. A title company will insure full title if no more than one foot is outside the fence. I was really leaving one foot just in case I have to squeeze in there to do a repair. I'm dealing with 14 different neighbors bordering this fence.

    Thanks for all the advice.

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