Homesteading in the Burbs – Creating A Homestead Plan

Have you ever heard of Joel Salatin?  He’s the author of books like Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal – War Stories from the Local Food Front, Folks That Ain’t Normal:  A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better WorldThe Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer, and so many more books!  His books on farming are so informative and entertaining at the same time.  If I learned anything from reading his books, it’s that everything on a homestead can work together, but I need a plan to bring it about.  The best way for everything to work together is to set up a plan for your homestead – no matter how little land you have.

1.) Grab your list of dreams and your map.

Last week, we dreamed BIG and found a map of our property..  Print out that map.  Try to get it as close to full size on a sheet of paper as possible.  Mine looked like the picture below, and I used this website.  I couldn’t get it ‘page size’, so I used my copier to blow it up until it was just about page size.


2.)  Sketch

Sketch out your house and other permanent structures if they weren’t already on the map of your property.  While my map has our house, garage, and driveway, it doesn’t have our clothesline.  Since our clothesline poles are cemented in the ground, I needed to add those.

3.) Trees

Fill in areas with trees.  Something I learned after I made my map up is that representing trees with two circles works really well!  The smaller circle represents the trunk.  The larger circle represents the canopy of the trees.

4.)  Here comes the sun.

Every property is going to have its own unique sun/shade cycle.   Don’t just assume because you don’t have a lot of trees in any given area that you’ve got full sun in that area.  One of the things that I’ve learned with my property is that while my trees shade about 1/3 of my backyard, other people’s trees affect about 1/4 of my backyard.

Go outside on your property at 9 am, noon, and 3 pm (ideally you should do this March 21st, June, 21st, and September Sun rays in the garden21st), but for now, see what you can see.  The area that is sunny during all three of those times is the best area for you to use for your veggie garden – if that’s on your wish list.  I’ve even read about doing a sun map.  You’d need to print off your map again.   You go outside at 9 am and observe where the sun is.  You’ll sketch that on your map.  I’d suggest using a yellow colored pencil.

The same day, go outside at noon and do the same thing.  Draw the area covered by sun on the map with a different colored pencil like blue.  Then at 3pm lather, rinse, repeat.  But this time use a different colored pencil again – like red.

Take a look at your map.  Where is the area that had sun each time you went outside?  Mark this area on your master map.  Anything that needs full sun should be put in that area.

playing the violin5.) Play Musical Instruments – I Mean Elements

Look at your list to determine where you want to put elements – permanent fixtures – i.e. cemented bases for raised beds, clotheslines, compost bin, chicken coop/run, water feature, fruit/nut trees.   If you’re a more visual person, use construction paper and cut out pieces to the scale of your map and move them around on the property until you find where they will fit in regard to space best and will be in the right fit for their purpose.

In other words, make sure that your raised beds (if that’s what you’re doing) are in full sun (6-8 hours), but if your clothesline is tucked where it will only get 3-6 hours of sun a day, it’s okay.

6.) Other Considerations

Think of what your ideal day will look like.  What activities will naturally tend to go together?  Will you go outside with a load of laundry to hang out, then gather chicken’s (or quail’s or another bird’s) eggs and come inside?  Then you don’t want them on the opposite side of a large yard from one another.  Do you plan on collecting rainwater?  First, make sure your local government allows you to.  Then do you plan on using that to water your garden?  If you do, make sure that your rainwater system is close enough to your garden while being close enough to your roof(s) to catch the runoff.

7.)  HAVE FUN!

Your plan for living out your homesteading dreams, even if that’s in suburbia should be so exhilarating!  Don’t stress.  Don’t worry.  Do your best to plan.  Mistakes will be made.  Problems will arise, but part of this journey is learning!

This is the preliminary map of my dreams.  We’ve already noted some things that won’t work where I wanted them, but this plan will grow and change with us!  We are excited to see how it really turns out as we work through all the aspects of it.



What About You?

What items do you want to have on your homestead?  Do you have a creative place that you want to put them?  Do you think you can fit them all in?   I’d love to hear!  Leave a comment below or hit “reply” if you got this in an e-mail.

Remember, knowledge isn’t knowing something, it’s living it!

There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links.  Some of the links may not be.  My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. These are the items that I have bought for my own family.  You can feel free to use my affiliate links, of which I will get a small amount in compensation, or you can choose to search out your products on your own.

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