If you want more privacy on your property, then it may be a great idea to secure a privacy fence on the edge of your lawn. If you feel like you can install the fence yourself, then you probably want to do the work right the first time around. Unfortunately, it is common to make a variety of different mistakes without the help of a contractor. If you feel that these mistakes may be costly or aggravating, then go ahead and call a contractor who has the experience you need. If you are ready to make a go of it on your own, then keep reading to learn how to avoid your first mistake, which is not locating the property line properly.
Locating Your Property Line
Many people think they know where the property lines are surrounding their homes, but they are often wrong. Some property lines are hundreds of years old, and they may actually predate the dwellings and other natural boundaries. This may mean that one side of your house sits almost on the edge of a property line while a line of shrubs in your yard sits several feet inside the border. Previous owners may have created boundaries after guessing where the property lines were, or they may have added greenery based on their aesthetic desires.
To find the property lines around your home without guessing, start by locating the original deed to your home. If you do not have a deed, then you can request one from your county recorder's office. The deed will generally tell you where the property lines are based on measurements from your home or from another natural structure on the property. For example, the deed will say that the right hand property boundary is one-hundred feet from the right side of the house. If the line is angled, then the deed will show this.
Finding Metal Markers
If you cannot tell where the property line is from the deed, then start looking for markers placed in the ground. Some markers are steel posts or concrete blocks marked with an orange ribbon or stripe of paint. These markers are quite obvious. If you do not see something like this, then steel markers may be secured several feet in the earth. These markers are usually quite old, but they generally remain in the ground, because it is a misdemeanor in this country to remove a boundary marker intentionally. This may even be stated on the markers themselves if the old ones have been officially replaced within the last few decades.
To find the markers in the earth, locate the approximate area of the boundary and run a metal detector over the grass. Once the detector finds the marker, dig into the ground until you find it. Fill in the earth and place a stake on top. In some cases, the markers will be secured 20 feet or more from one another along the property edge. Other times, the steel pins are placed on each corner of the property. If you can only find corner markers, then use four stakes and caution ribbon attached to them to create the boundary.
Speaking to Your Neighbors
After you have found your property markers, speak with the neighbor whose property will sit on the edge of your privacy fence. Ask them to locate their deed so you can determine if the boundary is accurate. This is important, because your neighbor can remove the fence if it is accidentally placed on their property, or if they even think it is installed on their land. Also, the fence may be owned by both you and your neighbor if it is constructed directly on the property line. If you want ownership over the privacy fence, then it will need to be just inside the property marker on your edge of the property.
Look at your neighbor's deed and your deed to make sure that property barriers are consistent. If they are not, and your neighbor does not agree with the way steel pins are placed, then you may need to invest in an official survey of the land. This may cost you more money, but it is wise to have it done so an official document shows the exact boundary. Even if you do have this document, it still may be in your best interest to install your fence one or two feet away from the property line so your neighbor has no reason to complain if they are not fond of the fence.