Over the past twenty years, I have helped thousands of customers determine the optimum location to install an in ground flagpole. With a little thought and planning, you can select the best location for your pole. You should consider the following:
For most homeowners, the above ground height of the flagpole should be approximately the height of the roof peak. Typically, most homeowners do not want the pole to tower over the house.
Other mitigating factors include the slope of the lot and the distance from the flagpole to the house. As the lot slopes away from the house, it may be necessary to increase the height of the pole to adjust for the slope. Also, as the distance of the flagpole from the house increases, the height of the flagpole may also increase. Looking at the proposed position of the flagpole from both the homeowner’s view and from the view of the public as one comes up the road or driveway is recommended. The most common sizes of homeowner poles are 20 and 25 feet tall.
The appropriate size of a flagpole for a business varies significantly. While the same height factors discussed above frequently apply, many businesses incorporate the flagpole as a “landmark”, increasing awareness to the business thereby drawing their prospects and customers to them. Flagpoles for businesses are frequently subject to municipal height ordinances, and should be checked prior to moving forward with an installation.
For the home owner, a flagpole should be integrated into the overall landscape plan. Basic landscape design utilizes trees and shrubs to draw the eye to the door, spacing the taller trees furthest from the house. The same technique can be used in flagpole placement, where the pole is moved to either side of the front door. A frequent exception to this design is for homes with a circular drive and a center island where the pole is centered in the island.
Once again, for businesses, there is greater variance in the location of the pole. Frequently, the flagpole(s) is placed near company signage to draw additional attention to the company’s name and location. Another popular location is near the visitor entrance, particularly when the building has multiple entrances.
In all cases, attention should be paid to the proximity of existing trees and other plantings. It is important that one allows for future growth of trees and bushes, as you do not want the flag to become tangled in the branches which will cause damage to the flag. I find it helpful to visualize a cylinder around the pole equal to the flag’s horizontal length around the flagpole.
Flagpole locations are also affected by the location of utilities. Flagpoles should not be installed directly under, or close to overhead power, phone or cable lines. Allowances should be made for the size of the flag and typically, the flag when fully extended should be ten feet from any overhead line.
Flagpole foundations cannot be placed on top of underground lines, and most utilities require that the edge of the foundation be 18-24” from any underground line. Calling for utility locations is an absolute must prior to installing a foundation. Digger’s Hotline and JULIE in Wisconsin and Illinois respectively are the combined utility clearance associations. Public gas, electric, phone, cable and water lines are located by calling these associations. Be sure to contact your local equivalent.
Additionally, the property owner is responsible for and needs to be aware of any non-public underground lines. Underground sprinkler, septic and power lines for yard lighting are the most common non-public lines.
Each property is unique and the height and sight line considerations discussed while general in nature, apply to almost every location. Properly located, an in-ground flagpole adds beauty and dignity to your home or business landscape. Enjoy!
Tom Pluster is a retired co-owner of Flag Center, Wauwatosa, WI www.flagcenter.net. He has been active in the flag and flagpole industry for over twenty years.