Before building any outdoor structurenear a neighbor's land, be sure you knowexactly where your property lines lie.Start by studying the lot plat, or map, thatwas furnished with the title to the land.When mapping the land, the surveyorsdrove metal stakes into the ground at thecorners of the plot to serve as propertymarkers. If you can locate one of them,your property map and a little basicgeometry will enable you to find theothers. You can determine the boundariesby driving stakes next to the markers,then stretching string between the stakes.Once the boundaries are established,a few simple surveying techniques andtools will enable you to map the location
Magnetic stud finderTransit levelWooden stakesTall polesPowdered chalkMason's lineClear plastic hose
and size of the structure you want tobuild. Distances can be measured fairlyaccurately with a mason's line, woodenstakes, and a carpenter's tape measure,but keep at least 12 inches from a property line when siting a structure to avoid accidentally straying onto a neighbor's land.To sight lines for pouring foundations, orto establish perfect parallels or right angles to property lines, use a transit level.
Before positioning or excavating trenches, find the locations of underground obstacles such as dry wells, septic tanks, and cesspools,and electric, water, and sewer lines.
Working from two known markers.
• With a maul, drive a wooden stake next to a knownmarker. (Property markers may be lost in undergrowth or afew inches underground.)• Attach a length of mason's line equal to the distance between the known marker and the lost marker, as indicatedon your property map.• Mark an arc on the ground near the lost marker withpowdered chalk
• Repeat the procedure at another known marker.• Dig for the lost marker at the intersection of the arcs
Working from a single marker.
• Mark an arc on the ground with chalk over the approximatelocation of the hidden marker
• Brush a magnetic stud finder along the arc
When thestud finder's needle deflects, dig for the marker. If the stud finderdoes not work, try using a metal detector. The final recourse isto call in a professional surveyor to reestablish the property lines.