tape measure alternative for measuring lawn?

I want to measure the area of my lawn in order to calculate the materials needed to rennovate it.
The lawn is irregular shape, so I divide it up into many triangles and measures the lengths of the sides which allows me to compute the area (heron's formula).
However, measuring the triangles with a tape measure is kind of slow. I have to stick a nail in the lawn, hang the start of the tape measure on the nail, then run to the other end of the triangle. Sometimes I have to run back to straighten the tape measure. Then I have to reel the tape in, and repeat the same process for other sides.
Is there a faster way to measure distance that would be accurate to within one inch? Or maybe there's a better way to measure the area of a lawn? I don't mind spending ~\$50 to buy a new tool to do this.
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Hire a kid for 10 bucks to hold the end of the tape.
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peter writes:

An inch? Do you have other OC symptoms?

Aerial photo from your local zoning office.
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says...

Measure the lot size. Measure the house. Subtract house area from lot area. Subtract an extra 10% for existing landscaping stuff. You will have leftovers for mod-season touchups.
/vic It isn't LAZY- It's "efficient".
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i dont know exactly what you mean by 'renovate', but its hard for me to imagine that whatever it is you are doing requires precision of 1 inch. unless you plan on buying your dirt by the teaspoon just to get it exact... 'hello sir, i would like 143,943 teaspoons of dirt please' <g>
just measure the rectangle, or make a couple rectangles to get the area of the entire 'area', then get up on a ladder or the roof and look down and make a guess at what % of those rectangles is lawn and what is not. that should be plenty close. within 5% i would think.
randy

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I vote for the aerial photo. There are a number of these available. There is software that lets you trace over the aerial shot and gives you the square area in inches feet or meters.
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peter wrote:

why not just measure or guess what a common rectangle would be for the area.. and then just get the amount of stuff for this area.. its not rocket science, just gardening..if you have too much you save it for later, if not you just get some more....
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wrote:

[snip]
Please don't feed the trolls [DFTFT].
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have
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There are 100 foot cloth tape measures. There are also wheeled tapes that you would not need anyone to help you with. I can not imagine why you need such accuracy. Your going to buy the replacement materials either by the ton or cubic yard.
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peter wrote:

Two thoughts. l. Often it is easier to deduct than to add. As an example, to measure the area of a frame (square with a cutout square inside), calculate the outside (total area), then calculate the interior square and subtract. Probably some of your lawn is more amenable to subtraction than addition of all the little parts. 2. Make a general shape, measure the area, then add or subtract the part that doesn't quite fit, and estimate that part. I can't imagine a project where you have to be super acurate. Anything you are doing (mowing, seeding, fertilizing, etc.) probably won't be accurate to more than 10 percent anyway.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

Not to mention that he could go a little "over" on whatever he's buying to allow for the measuring inaccuracy, and probably come nowhere near spending \$50 to do so. But you just dont get it, do you? <g>
He just wants to spend money on another new tool!
And we wonder why wives make fun of us!?
--
Ha'i D-suhlami
filling in for I-zheet M'drurz
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materials
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Get one of those measuring devices that you roll on the ground, like a wheel on the end of a stick. That would be an accurate enough way to quickly cover a lot of ground. You really don't need to be accurate to an inch for this. Being within a foot or so is close enough- add 10% to whatever you calculate and you'll be close enough.
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If the OP's for real, which I doubt, and he has a decent survey plan, he could use a mechanical planimiter like I had to do before the days of computers. <G>
The darned things were amazingly accurate.
http://persweb.wabash.edu/facstaff/footer/planimeter/PLANIMETER.HTM
Thanks for the memories...
Jeff
--

Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"If you can smile when things are going wrong, you've thought of someone
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