The purpose of clear property lines is to identify the land belonging to a home or land owner. Property markings, such as stakes in the ground, may also be known as "lot" lines or "boundary" lines and they protect owners and investors who are interested in buying or selling land. They are also important to anyone who is planning to add a building, subdivide a plot of land or develop it whether for residential or commercial use.

Permit sign by boundary marking

Survey Boundaries

A survey is basically a drawing which defines property lines. Every land owner should have a registered survey with an official lot number for her property to show the exact dimensions of the land, existing structures, bodies of water, and adjacent roads. Surveys must be on file with the Land Registry Office in the locale of the land which is owned. When you are considering purchasing a plot of land, request to see the survey so that you can identify the exact boundaries of the property. If the survey is old, it may be outdated, so it might be necessary to pay a surveyor to develop a new survey for the property.

Underground Property Markings

Whether you are building a structure, planting trees or considering erecting a fence on your property, you will need to know the exact boundaries so that you do not encroach on your neighbor's property. Some land owners may have driven metal pegs into the ground about 4 to 5 feet down at the corners of the lot. Rent or buy a metal detector to scan the ground to locate these underground stakes.

Above Ground Pegs/Stakes

Property boundaries are often identified above ground with the use of stakes to mark the corner points. Years ago, wooden stakes were often used to mark property lines. More recently, long metal posts that are visible about 1 to 2 feet above ground have been used. Some may have an orange piece of cloth attached so that they are easily seen. A surveyor may mark property lines with orange spray paint or orange tape where trees are located along the property boundary. Unofficial, personal methods of identifying your property include stacking old tires that are filled with rock and spray painted, using rebar topped with a PVC pipe, planting Iris tubers next to stakes so they are clearly visible, installing tall pressure-treated wooden posts, and planting spruce pine trees or a hedge at least 4 feet high to outline the edge of the property.


If your neighbors have identified their property lines, you could request property line information from them directly or from their surveyor. These days, some Google Maps and Map Quest maps on the Internet will have aerial maps that clearly define boundary lines, however, for accuracy sake, it would be better to go to the local Land Registry Office for recent maps that indicate property lines. It is against the law to purposely move or remove an official survey marker, and you may incur a fine for doing so. Only a licensed land surveyor is qualified to produce a survey plan, and in the event of a legal matter, only the surveyor's marks will be taken into account.