Mapping Your Fence Boundary
In this section, we take you through the basic steps of mapping and designing your fence. This includes deciding the fence layout, determining what components you need, and what preparations you will need to make before you begin building.
Investigate Fencing Laws
It is important to consider adjacent landowners when planning a fence, especially for perimeter or boundary fences, since there is potential for conflicting views. Investigate local and state laws to determine your legal rights and responsibilities.
Fencing is a major investment. In some situations, you may be eligible for cost-share opportunities through government programs. Consult your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) on the availability of cost-share funds and tax credits for fencing and water delivery systems for livestock.
Sketch It - Map Your Layout
It helps to draw your fence layout in advance and choose the various components you’ll need to complete the installation.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Avoid fencing in rough, stony, broken, or steep areas if possible.
- You will want to move line posts closer together as the terrain becomes hillier.
- If putting in high tensile fencing , consider zig-zagging the fence line slightly rather than going straight over areas that need leveling, more posts, etc.
- If necessary, level uneven areas before setting posts. Where you level ground, re-plant grass to prevent erosion and weed growth.
Using the planning guide (click image for full document), sketch out the area you wish to enclose, noting distances. Then draw in the approximate locations of buildings or barns that will be adjacent to or enclosed by the fence.
Also include in your plan:
- Location of water supplies and feeding stations
- Trees or other obstacles
- Low or wet spots
- Entrance/exit points where gates are needed — note the length of gates and type needed
- Fence termination points (e.g., at a building)
- Location of fence charger and electrical source (if applicable)
- Cross fences within the pasture area (temporary or permanent)
Boundaries and Topography
Aerial photographs of your farm are probably the most valuable tool when mapping your fence and can help to establish field boundaries for pastures. In addition, topographical maps can provide valuable information on the contour and slope of the land you will be installing your fence on.
Aerial maps are commonly available from NRCS or the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in your area. Topographical maps can also be obtained from NRCS. Also consider using online tools like the Web Soil Survey and Google Earth to help better determine the lay of your land.