Yellow Flags In Yard: What Do They Mean?

Raise your hand if you saw small yellow, red, or white flags in someone’s yard and are now wondering what they mean.

If your hand is raised, then you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will explain everything you need to know about those little flags, including what they mean, why they are used, and what you should do when you see them. So without wasting another second, let’s get right to it!

What Do the Yellow Flags In Yard Signify?

The yellow, red, or white flags in yards are known as utility flags and they signify that there’s some kind of work being done in the yard. The color of the flag varies depending on what kind of work is being done and who’s doing it.

Why Are Utility Flags Used?

Utility flags are used to warn people that there’s some kind of work being done in the yard. This allows people to be aware of the potential danger and take necessary precautions.

The 8 Utility Flag Color Codes You Should Know About

Generally speaking, utility flags come in eight main colors.

  1. Yellow: Just like you would with yellow caution tape, you should stand back from yellow caution flags. This color identifies gaseous materials, oil, steam, and other contaminants that might cause soil pollution or explosions if they escape.
  2. Green: Green flags indicate drain lines and sewers. Cutting this line might cause poisonous gases to seep into the area and even might flood it.
  3. Red: The most frequently used flag is red. Electric utilities, such as cables and power lines, are represented by this color. These are the electrical connections that connect to a neighbor’s grid. These markings aid in the prevention of a neighborhood-wide power outage.
  4. White: Excavation is indicated by white flags. These are frequently used for urban excavation projects. The size of the white flagged zone will tell you how big of a job is going on.
  5. Orange: Landlines and other communication systems, such as signal, alarm lines, and TV cables, are represented by orange flags. So don’t snip through a neighbor’s yard when it has orange flags. Otherwise, you may end up damaging their communication systems and subsequently upsetting them.
  6. Pink: Pink flags are used as survey markings for a limited amount of time. They are attached to the work of surveyors as they measure. Mysteries may be marked with pink flags as well, which is why when a utility cannot be identified, a worker will put it on the map in pink.
  7. Blue: Blue indicates water, slurry, or irrigation. If you break this line of defense, you risk flooding your house or having no access to drink for a few days.
  8. Purple: Recycled water from wastewater is also known as purple, which is what this color signifies. This type of water isn’t ideal for drinking. It’s used for landscape irrigation.

Furthermore, each color has different marking on it that signify different things. For instance, let’s consider the yellow flag. There are many different meanings for the yellow flags in a yard, and each one will be specific to the utility company that is using them. However, there are some general meanings that are common among all companies.

Following are a few of the most common ones.

Yellow Flag With Black X Through It

If you see a yellow flag with a black X through it, this means that the area is off-limits to everyone except authorized personnel. This could be due to the presence of dangerous conditions or hazardous material.

Yellow Flag With a Green Arrow

A yellow flag with a green arrow pointing down usually indicates that excavation is being done in the area.

Yellow Flag With Numbers

If you see yellow flags with numbers on them, this means that a specific mark or marking has been made by an inspector to measure the depth of something below ground. These are used for projects like sewer line installation and other similar projects where it’s important to know how deep something is being installed.

Yellow Flag Standing Alone

A yellow flag flying alone generally indicates that crews will be working directly outside the property within one day (excluding weekends).

However, if there is another type of yellow flag next to it along with some numbers or markings, then work should already be complete as indicated. For instance, while staggered yellow flags indicate upcoming work, solid yellow flags indicate completed work.

What You Should Do When You See a Utility Flag

When you see a utility flag, it’s important to stay away from the area until the work is finished. You should also keep an eye on any children or pets that may be in the area, as they could easily get hurt if they wander into the working zone. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the person who put up the flag. More often than not, they’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

In case you don’t get the answers you need from the individual who put up the flag, you can call 811 for help. Their operator will inform you about everything you need to know about the work going on at any specific address.

A Quick Recap

If you see any small colored flag in a yard, it means there’s some sort of work going on there. Those flags are known utility flags and they come in eight main colors, each of which signifies a different sort of project as we discussed thoroughly in this post.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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