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Laying Out Square Corners

For crisp, neat beds and borders, perfectly square corners are a must -- and a sign of good workmanship. This simple technique assures you of flawlessly square corners every time.




Step 1

Lay out batterboards to form edges

Lay out batterboards to form edges


Lay out one edge of the bed with batterboards. The batterboard edges should extend about 12 – 18-inches past the planned corner. Drive in a stake where you want the corner. Lay out the second edge with batterboards and stretch a mason's line between them across the corner stake.


Step 2

Make a 3-4-5 triangle

Make a 3-4-5 triangle


With a tape measure, check that the corner is square by making a 3-4-5 foot triangle. Adjust the mason's line as needed until the distance between two points equals 3-feet, the other edge equals 4-feet and the edge opposite from the corner stake is exactly 5-feet.


Step 3 

Mark ends with plumb bob and stakes

Mark the ends with a plumb bob and stakes


Mark the endpoints with tape and transfer them to the ground with a plumb bob. Drive in stakes to mark the endpoints and stretch a mason's line along the ground between them. Sprinkle powdered chalk over the line to mark the rough outline of the bed.