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Parking Lot Layout Tools

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Handicap Parking image by Joelyn Pullano from

Before striping a parking lot, you need to do the layout. This means deciding where to place parking spaces, where to leave room for fire lanes, handicapped parking and other necessities. Customers dislike parking in confusing or cramped lots. Spaces must be appropriately sized and even. And before you lay down any paint, mark all this out to reduce the likelihood of mistakes you can't easily fix. Many tools are available to help you in this process.

Layout Software

Layout software, like ParkCAD, helps you decide the best placement of parking spaces in your lot. The software makes what could otherwise become a tedious task much faster. It accommodates for curves and unusable spaces, helps you calculate how many spots you can fit in your lot, taking vehicle size into consideration. Utilizing layout software will reduce headaches when you go onto the property and start laying out spaces.

Parking Lot Protractor

This tool measures angles. It's extremely important that you properly angle spaces, because otherwise they'll end up uneven. Parking lot protractors open for angles up to 180 degrees and have long legs for improved accuracy.


Use chalk to mark the beginning and end of each space and to mark other areas, like where you'll paint a handicap icon, arrow or other marking. You also need it to use a chalk line, which is very important to your layout. Parking lot chalk comes in several colors and in different strengths—some wash away faster than others—and you can find it at any hardware store.

Chalk Line

A chalk line is a tool used to draw a line between two points. In parking lot layout, use it to mark out straight lines so later, when you stripe the lot, you have a guide. The tool has a reservoir, where you place chalk, and a long cord. The reservoir coats the cord in chalk, so when you stretch out the cord and "snap" it, the tool leaves a uniform line on the asphalt. Many industries utilize chalk lines, but larger sized versions are available for parking lot layout.


Pre-marked layout tape helps you measure stall length at different angles. It has different colors for different angles so you'll have no difficulty figuring out the necessary depth and width of your stall. You'll also want a 300-foot tape measure for measurements the pre-marked layout tape can't help you with.


While this may sound obvious, you won't want to be caught without a calculator when you need one. Calculating angles and lengths and numbers of stalls in your head or on paper is certainly possible, but a calculator simplifies the task.


Catelyn Millette lives in northern Maine and has been freelance writing since 2010. She covers video games, crafts and animals, and studied animal science at Cornell University.