Designing a Homestead Property for Maximum Efficiency

Learn strategic property design so that you are able to get the most out of your homesteading space. Including tips for one-, two- and four-acre homesteads.

  • Homesteading Orchard
    Be strategic about laying out your homestead. It will save time and effort later!
    Photo by Fotolia/Subbotina Anna
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    The design for a four-acre homestead, complete with a pasture, orchard, vegetable garden and hay field.
    Illustration by Ed Robinson
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    A sketch of the Robinson's homestead, which gives them space for raising animals and gardening. The family grows 75 percent of their food.
    Illustration by Ed Robinson

  • Homesteading Orchard
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  • 002-016-01

An old farmer struck it rich in oil and his family persuaded him to buy a $4,000 automobile. Never having had anything better than a second-hand Model T, the old boy insisted on only one thing for the new car — the most colossal and expensive set of bumpers he could find!

I wish we'd had some good bumpers when we decided to move to the country. We bumped our noses on land, on the layout of our house, on the location of our barn, fruit trees, and pasture — on nearly everything a family could blunder at. I hope you'll profit by our mistakes!

Setting up a productive country home is probably the biggest and most important job any of us attempt during our lifetime. Despite all of the people who have needed some basic data on setting up a homestead, no one had completely worked the methods out and put them on paper. Every new family has been left to stumble its own way toward the answers.

Not long after our first edition of the "Have-More" Plan went out, we began to get letters asking for help in laying out a place. Of course, we couldn't give specific advice without seeing each piece of property — and then, people have different ideas of what they want to do with their place.

Even though no one layout will fit everybody's ideas and site, there are certain basic points that ought not to be violated.

For example, where should you locate your house in relation to the highway? (If you do this right you can probably get the town snow plow to do your snow shoveling for coffee and doughnuts.) Where should your barn be placed with reference to the house? Toward what compass points should house and barn face?

3/25/2020 7:54:57 PM

Thanks for the great info and layout ideas. We just purchased 6.5 acres in Kansas City, and although it currently has trees and some drainage issues, we are looking to build our homestead from the ground up. Our first house, our urban homestead, was on a very small plot, but we grew 500lbs of produce, and chickens, and wanted to expand our homestead. We are interested in professional garden/landscape designs and could use help finding the right people. Please email me at with any contacts that you might have in the garden design/homestead planning community. Thanks!

3/13/2019 9:28:25 PM

Since a couple people have requested the picture recently, I thought I would update to day I still have the picture available.

3/10/2016 6:44:26 AM

You can find this article in the book the "have more plan" it can be found on Amazon. The other literature the article mentions has been out of print since the 70's or even the 40's



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