How to Measure Your Yard for a Fence

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There are several steps you must take in a fence installation project before you can actually start installing your fence. During the planning stages of your project, you should confirm your property lines and then proceed to measure accordingly. Marking and measuring your yard is crucial prior to installation, but it’s also a good idea to measure before you even buy materials. That way, you won’t end up with the unwelcome surprise of getting started and realizing you don’t have enough posts or panels.

Before you begin your fence installation project, you need to mark and measure your yard.

If you work with a fence installation contractor, they will handle the measuring for you and can even help with confirming property lines. For a DIY project, this is a necessary step to undertake yourself (or with the help of friends and family). If you don’t feel confident about it, you can always consult a professional. However, like installing a fence, measuring your yard is not difficult as long as you know what you’re doing. Using a DIY fence kit with pre-assembled panels makes the entire measurement and installation process especially simple.

Confirm your property lines

Before you can properly measure the perimeter of your yard and determine the length of your fence, you need to confirm your property lines. This is a crucial part of fence etiquette, and if you skip this step, you could end up with very unhappy neighbors. You need to be sure that the area you’re planning to surround with a fence is, in fact, your property. If you have your home’s plat, you can see how your land is mapped out—otherwise, you may need to consult your county’s records office or a land surveyor.

Locate utilities and other obstructions

When planning for a new fence, get your utilities marked.

So, you’ve confirmed the perimeter of your property—but does that mean you have your exact measurements? If there are trees or other permanent obstructions along the perimeter that you can’t or don’t wish to remove, then you can easily tell that the answer is no. However, slopes and contours in the terrain can also affect the measurement of your fence, and you may need to consider alternative techniques for building a fence on a slope. Less obvious obstructions to consider are underground utilities such as cable, gas, and electric lines that run under your yard, which you should have marked before proceeding. 

Marking and measuring your yard

Now that you’ve confirmed your property lines and located obstructions, you can finally begin marking and measuring your yard.

  1. Measure your yard’s perimeter in feet and divide by the measurement of your fence panels. This will enable you to determine how many panels you’ll need. Most pre-cut fence panels are either 6 or 8 feet in length.
  2. Mark your corner posts by staking each corner of your yard. A corner is any spot where fence panels will meet at a  90° angle.
  3. Beginning at the corner posts, mark your line posts. Line posts should be placed at intervals equivalent to the length of your panels—probably either every 6 or 8 feet. End panels may need to be cut if there is a section of your yard not divisible by the length of your panels.
  4. Mark your end posts. An end post is necessary anywhere the fence ends, whether at your house, a tree, or a gate.  

There you have it—once your yard has been marked and measured, you’re ready to begin installation! The better you plan your fence, the more straightforward the installation process will be. Otherwise, you may find yourself running out to buy more materials during installation. However, if you’re well-prepared and have exactly what you need, you can devote an afternoon or weekend to getting your project done without worry.

Download our DIY Fencing guide

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