Landscaping projects can be significant investments in your property and can have many effects beyond improving your yard's aesthetics. Without proper planning, they can even create disputes and legal problems or make existing landscaping issues worse. Here are three common problems you can avoid by having your property surveyed prior to starting a major landscaping project.
Disputes with Neighbors about Property Lines and Access
When you start a landscaping project, it can open the door to all kinds of problems with your neighbors. One of the most common problems is a neighbor claiming that a fence you erected or a tree you planted is on their property and that you'll have to remove it. If you are relying on physical boundary markers like old fence posts or word-of-mouth information about where the property line is, they could be right.
Neighbors can also be disturbed by landscaping trucks, noisy machinery, and other heavy equipment going in and out of your property every day. While most neighbors are understanding, some may claim that vehicles are actually trespassing on their property and ruining their lawn to access yours.
Land surveying can show you where your property actually ends and which parts of the property have public easements or rights-of-way. You'll be able to plan locations for your landscaping elements and direct contractors to the best access to your property without disturbing the neighbors' land.
Problems with Local Regulations about Setbacks
Major landscaping projects often attract the attention of nosy neighbors and vigilant public officials who set out to challenge the legality of your project. While a survey doesn't address the legality of construction materials or methods, it can protect you against illegal placement of these elements. For instance, you could unintentionally place fences, trees, and soundproofing mounds too close to the road or to adjacent property, and then you might have to undo all your hard work at your own expense. A survey showing the exact locations of your property lines and those of public property can ensure that you plan your project within the legal limits.
Drainage issues can be very complex and sometimes require a topographic survey to resolve. Topographic surveys include information on the features of the property that affect the flow of water, including trees, slopes, mounds, structures, and ditches. They also measure the height and depth of these features and the contour of the land. The information in a topographic survey is critical to landscape design elements that will alter the grade of your property.
A survey that reveals how water flows and pools in your yard can help landscape designers come up with the most effective solution. Without a topographic survey, you could end up interfering with elements that enhance drainage or making poor drainage worse. You could also end up spending more money on ineffective drainage solutions like ditches, ponds, or drain tiles.
A professional survey gives you a document you can use if the placement of any of your landscaping elements are ever questioned. If your project involved any long-term changes like fencing, grading, garden-wall installation, or tree planting, make sure your landscaper works with a professional surveyor. If they don't, consider investing in a survey before your project begins. It can prevent many future problems and let you enjoy your new yard without worry.