Why would survey boundary pegs be so important? Because they (and they alone) define your land. Not fences, stone walls or trees. Not roads, power poles or buildings. The all-mighty survey boundary pegs are your friend, but you need to know where they all are BEFORE you buy your dream homestead land, and then make sure you can find them afterwards.
Trust me – we learned this through bitter experience! The cost of not knowing the exact location of the survey boundary pegs cost us thousands of dollars and months of stress.
How to find survey boundary pegs.
The corner points of the boundaries of each and every property should be marked with a survey ‘monument’ – normally a survey boundary peg driven into the ground. Most survey boundary pegs are iron bars driven into the ground then a cap put onto the top of the bar. These survey boundary pegs can later be marked with some survey tape tied to a nearby tree.
After a few years the tape breaks down and the plastic pin cap can weather away. So finding the boundary pegs and remarking them in a more permanent fashion is good task to undertake.
When we bought our farm here in Maine, the first thing I did was hunt down each and every boundary peg. I found all of them – six in total – so I now know EXACTLY the boundary points of our place.
Can’t find them easily?
If you can’t find the survey boundary pegs easily, then you could try these steps:
1. Firstly, get a hold of the property survey map from your local authority. This will show when and where the survey ‘monuments’ were placed – and it may help you to find the pegs which could be now old and hidden in undergrowth or even buried.
2. If you find one or two, you maybe able to work out the location of others using a tape measure and a compass to locate EXACTLY the other corner points. This is NOT a survey however – just a way to try and locate a lost peg.
3. If you have no luck finding a peg once you have done these two points, consider getting a friend with a metal detector to move around where you think the pin should be incase it has become buried.
Don’t trust anything BUT the survey boundary pegs!
Fence lines, stone walls, driveways and the such may appear to be along the boundary of your property…but they may NOT be! Often boundary fences are placed where someone once THOUGHT the boundary to be and not along the true boundary line. At the end of the day (and if things ever get ‘nasty’ with your neighbors) only the boundary survey pegs will count.
Don’t move a boundary survey peg!
In most places it is against the law to remove or move a boundary survey peg – and you should treat them with the greatest respect! So much can rest on the location of that peg – maybe not for you, but for people well into the future.
If you can’t find your boundary survey pegs then get a surveyor!
If you can’t find all the boundary survey pegs then you may need to get a survey done. Depending on what needs to be done this can cost a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars – but it could save you a lot in the future.
Make sure that you have a registered surveyor do this work and reestablish the pegs and make sure that the survey is recorded in the town/county or state offices.
What should I do once I find the pegs?
You want to be able to find the survey boundary pegs again – and easily. You could just use survey marking tape (you can buy this in any hardware or farm store) and tie one end to the peg and the other end to a tree or branch so it is visible from a good distance. Another way to mark the peg is to drive a wooden or metal fence post next to the peg, making sure not to disturb the peg in the process, and paint the top of the post white so it stands out. I have even seen pegs marked with a piece of 1 inch pvc drain pipe so that it sticks up a yard and has the end painted red.
If you want to read some stories about disputed property boundaries, read this. If you don’t want this sort of thing to happen to you then….know your farm boundaries!