Gardening between the lines

Gardening between the lines

With the arrival of warm sunny weather, the garden beckons and the desire for backyard transformation becomes a siren song, sending throngs of people to garden centres and building supply stores to turn vision into reality. But you won’t find the most fundamental tool for creating the ideal backyard paradise among the plants and patio stones and outdoor décor on sale at your local Rona or Home Depot. And without it, you risk wrecking your relationship with your neighbours and enduring the stress and expense of having to undo all your hard work.

Planning is essential for a successful backyard improvement project, and the fundamental tool you need to get started is a survey plan of your property.

You don’t want to be the neighbour that digs new flowerbeds, plants a new hedge, puts in stone pathways or builds a shed only to learn that some or all of your lovely new landscaping is actually on someone else’s property.

One of our clients planted a hedge to enclose his yard, only to discover – 30 years later – that the hedge along one side was actually on his neighbour’s property. He found out the hard way, on a Sunday morning, AFTER the hedge was cut down by the new neighbours next door.

So before you start to plan and dig and trim, first confirm your property boundary locations by obtaining an existing survey plan or commissioning an up-to-date survey. In addition to displaying the legal boundaries of the property – the most critically important feature – a survey plan also shows:

  • the size and shape of the property
  • the location of rights of ways and easements
  • distances from the boundary to houses, sheds, fences, utilities and any features of importance to the landowner
  • the location of physical monuments that mark the limits of the land (e.g., iron survey bars)

Having a survey plan of your property that’s prepared by a licensed land surveyor can help you avoid a great deal of confusion and heated arguments about your legal boundary, so you can create the backyard you want and invite your neighbours over to enjoy it with you.

Do you have a property boundary question? Send your questions to us at or through a comment on our blog.