Do Fences Make Good Neighbours? – The Psychology of Boundaries

It is clear that physical boundaries and the personal ownership of land and property are vastly important in our society. Boundaries give us structure and certainty when it comes to protecting and caring for what is ours. It also lets us know the limits placed on us by the boundaries of others. Psychologically, boundaries make us feel safe and established. In many ways, property boundaries help create a sense of order and systems in our world, keeping things in line and preventing the unexpected.

Boundaries are important on a larger scale, and often to each of us as individuals as well. To this end, we make clear marks to affirm our boundaries. Fencing, hedges, and other structures denote where our property begins and ends and gives this information to others. The adage says “good fences make good neighbours.” Is this true? And where does land surveying fit into this tale?

Stopping a Dispute Before it Begins

When you move to a new home, or you buy a parcel of land, there are many steps you’ll take as you prepare your property. One of the vital steps should be having a professional land survey done. A boundary survey can be performed to determine the exact borders of your property and to denote any important lines or areas where you might encroach on a neighbour’s property. Perhaps even more significantly, such an initial survey can help you discover right away if a neighbour’s fence or other structure encroaches onto what is officially your property. If this is the case, you’ll be able to notify the offending party prior to your move or immediately following, so that the issue can be sorted as soon as possible. This means that when you assume ownership of your new plot of land, you’ll be starting off with clearly marked boundaries between you and your neighbour.

Avoiding Adverse Possession

Without clear boundaries, oftentimes properties end up blurring slightly, with certain portions merging into one another. In such a case, the result may be an invocation of adverse possession law. In this situation, a person without a legal claim, but with a longstanding use of a particular area, can file to maintain their “ownership” of that area. If firm and distinct surveys were completed more regularly for each property, this sort of eventual dispute could be avoided altogether. Another piece of evidence for the adage “good fences make good neighbours.”

Set Up the Boundaries You Have a Right To

Having confirmed legal boundaries on your private property can give you significant peace of mind, both financially and psychologically. Do you need a professional survey from an experienced NSW land surveyor? Leslie & Thompson is the team you’ve been looking for. Contact us today with any questions or for more details on our surveying and land mapping services.