Marking property boundaries

What is the best way to let your neighbor know where my property ends and theirs starts? My neighbor is used to having a vacant lot where I built a house. They didn’t build any structure into my yard but flattened into my lot extending their yard. It is a tight space. I would like to show them they are encroaching into my property without further straining our relationship. We are slightly tense since they had to endure construction and also having a house where there used to be none takes getting used to. They come out at me if subs’ truck, parked on the road, goes slightly over to their side, as in about 1’. Or me to them, could you pick up after your dog in my yard? It is steaming and flies are loving it.


Otherwise, if their intrusion onto your property goes unchallenged, they may be granted an easement on your property for certain purposes.

In short, fence now or forever hold your piece/peace.

Good fences make good neighbors.


Has it been recently surveyed to know via surveyor flags or pins exactly where the line is? If so, then putting some plants or a walkway (mulched if you prefer) along the border would make it obvious without an official fence.

Make sure you’re correct though. H works with properties and many people aren’t even when they think they are. It can be awkward.


Agree a fence or a row of shrubbery, even mowing or landscaping up to the boundary can suffice to show ownership. Should have a survey if you built a house on the property and if the surveyors didn’t pin the corners you could request they do so.

Fence might be worth it if the dog continues his meandering over to your yard. :wink:


Since the neighbors have a dog who relieves himself on your property, the thread title takes on a new meaning.

Act quickly as you probably do not want the neighbors’ dog to be granted an easement over your property for such purposes.

Also, consider the possible liability consequences if the neighbors’ dog bites / attacks a person while on your property with your implicit permission to be there.

My point is: Don’t try to be nice neighbors by using an ineffective barrier to establish the property line. Better to do it once & do it right.

P.S. There are lots of attractive options regarding fencing.


Get a survey to know precisely where the property line is. If the corners of your property are not marked, ask the surveyor the cost of marking the corners (usually with iron pins). Then worry about fences.


A pitbull on a chain that goes up to the property line would make a nice boundary marker.

Don’t let them put anything on your property. Otherwise they could claim squatter’s rights or something like it and then you’re stuck. Once boundaries are defined, put up a fence or shrubs…and no I’m not overreacting.

We had awful, terrible neighbors once. When the trailer went up for sale we bought it and bulldozed it. Good luck.

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Fence. Any type. If you simply want a boundary marker, put up a simple two or three-foot picket fence only on the length of that property line. That way, you don’t imply you want to completely separate yourself from the neighbor. Or go the full monty with a 6-foot privacy fence if you are unconcerned about how the neighbor might take it.


Our neighbors just had this issue with the neighbors behind both of us. Not sure he talked to them first, but he had a survey done, posts with neon pink flags. One flag ended up under their outdoor semi-permanent tent. They did move tent. Then the neighbor planted 22 short pine trees along the encroached border.

I don’t think he could do a lot-line fence due to easement restrictions, but the pines seem to have solved the problem.


No fence allowed. The survey was done. Corners are marked with metal sticks. I put a few wooden sticks between the marked corners. They are taken down tho. I am guessing the neighbors did it. I could put a rope between the corner markers until I can get shrubs planted.


I suppose if you know fences are not allowed, you’ll know to check the zoning code/any applicable ordinances to see what type of vegetation is allowed and any required setbacks.

And at least in VA, property line disputes are a civil court matter. The police won’t help, nor the zoning or code enforcement office. People often come into our office asking for our surveyors to mark the boundaries. We can only do the right of way at the street. Good luck to you. We hear plenty of horror stories.


A claim to land through adverse possession takes 21 years of continuous, open and hostile possession…meaning your neighbors would have to have been using the land they’re claiming as theirs with your knowledge and you did nothing to stop them (or prior owners) during that time period.

The other common way people can acquire land they don’t actually own/lose land they do own is by establishing boundaries that are mutually agreed upon (either tacitly or overtly) through activities such as planting trees, mowing your lawn up to a certain point, a walkway being installed/maintained and the boundary is incorrect. That’s why surveys are critical. Just because there’s a fence or a row of trees that’s supposedly on the edge of your property you shouldn’t assume it is unless you had a survey and installed or planted them yourself.


Did you order and pay for the survey (so you know it’s accurate)? If so, then I would replace the wooden stakes along the property line and spray paint the tops to make them visible. Then I would run rope or yellow ‘crime scene’ type tape between the stakes. I would send a registered letter telling them to stop encroaching on your property.

If you didn’t pay for the survey, I’d redo it and pay for it. Send the results registered mail to the neighbor, put stakes as above and tell them via registered mail to stop encroaching on your property. Letter can also come from a lawyer.

If there is a no fence rule, there must be an HOA. I’m not familiar with HOAs to know if they can help.

We had to get survey company and lawyer involved when our neighbor kept trespassing. I was so happy when they moved


Yes, I paid for the survey. Done it twice. Should be accurate. I will put up a rope. Hopefully, that is discouraging enough.


The time period that’s required varies by state. It’s often between 7 and 20 years.


This varies by state. Mine is seven years.


Simultaneously occurring posts!

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Also, OP should look up the term “prescription easement,” which also grants rights to your property. Slightly different than adverse possession.


if no fence is allowed, can you plant a hedge?


Invest in hedgerow shrubbery.

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