Considering starting a homestead, but have no idea how to design it? Whether you’re on 1 acre or 100 acres, these homestead layout planning tips will set your homestead up for success.
Homestead layout planning tips
When we started our homestead, Ben and I had absolutely no idea what we were doing. We spent countless hours researching best practices while also teaching ourselves along the way. Through our own personal experiences (and mistakes), we’ve implemented some homestead layout planning tips to simplify homesteading. Between setting up housing, fencing, and learning about appropriate care to ensure the health and safety of your animals, starting a homesteading can feel overwhelming and daunting. But it doesn’t need to be.
When starting a homestead, one of the most important aspects is efficiency. If you create a homestead that runs efficiently from day one, then you’ll increase your satisfaction and success. Homesteaders are busy – whether it’s caring for kids, working off-farm jobs, or simply wanting to have a normal social life – you’re busy. You probably don’t have the time to spent countless hours per day maintaining your homestead. Spending multiple hours per day completing chores will likely lead to burnout, which is the exact opposite of what you’re probably trying to achieve. Homesteading is a lifestyle choice, but it doesn’t need to consume your entire life either. When it comes to homestead efficiency, planning is key. My homestead layout planning tips below will help your homestead run smoothly from the beginning.
Consider your space
Homestead layout planning tips are obviously contingent on the specifications of your current space. Are you homesteading on a small property? Do you have more land than you could ever utilize? Or do you fall somewhere in between?
If you’re homesteading on a small property, then every single inch of space needs to be accounted for. If you have more land, then you have a bit more wiggle room with designing, but you still need to plan accordingly. When considering your space, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- How much land do we have?
- How much of that land is usable land?
- What are your specific homesteading goals?
- What animals do you plan to raise?
- How many animals can your space safely and happily accommodate?
- What are the costs associated with startup and monthly maintenance?
- Which type of housing will you use? What type of predators do you have?
- Does your housing and space allow expansion?
- What type of fencing will keep your animals safe?
- How will you implement pasture rotation?
- Will you be producing your own food? (Garden, dairy, eggs, meat, etc)
The above questions are nowhere near exhaustive, but they provide a framework to consider when determining how these homestead layout planning tips apply specifically to your goals.
Use what you have
Starting a homestead can be expensive! It’s easy to fall into the slippery slope of spending far too much money during startup. To reduce cost and labor, utilize what you already have. Whether that’s converting an old building into animal housing, restoring old raised beds for your garden, or repairing existing fencing. Get creative and use what you have NOW. You can always upgrade later when the time is right.
Plan appropriate housing
All animals require different types of shelter. Be sure to research the specific needs of each animal to ensure that the housing provides safety from predators while also providing your animals with a clean and comfortable space. If you live in an area with extreme hot or cold temperatures, then you will also need to consider those factors when planning housing.
When possible, plan your housing to be larger than what you currently need. For example- if you start with 5 chickens and your coop cannot accommodate more than 5 chickens, then you will need to completely replace your coop if you ever decide to expand your flock. That sounds not only expensive, but like a complete waste of housing.
And trust me. If your space allows you the opportunity to expand, then you’ll probably want to expand. Which is exactly how my original 10 chickens turned into 34 chickens within less than 2 years. Chicken math is real, friends.
Determine your pasture rotation system
When determining your specific homestead layout plans, be sure to consider pasture rotation. If you want happy and healthy animals, then pasture rotation should be a priority. For example, failing to rotate pastures frequently enough can lead to parasite issues in goats. Parasite resistance can ultimately be fatal, so planning your pastures appropriately is extremely important.
To make pasture rotation as easy as possible, we use electric poultry netting and moveable animal housing. Your pasture rotation set up may look different depending on your current space. When implemented appropriately, rotating pastures frequently can also reduce feed costs. Chickens happily forage for bugs and consume less feed, while goats eat long grasses and less hay. Happy animals = happy homesteaders. It’s a win-win.
Buy in bulk
If you have the space to store items in bulk, then do it! When we were homesteading on a small property, we were unable to buy in bulk due to our lack of additional storage space. Far too many times we would run out of hay or feed, which led to late night trips to the feed store. If you are able to buy larger quantities of hay, straw, minerals, feed, and other homesteading necessities, then do it. Not only is it more cost efficient, but you’ll save yourself the hassle of frantically running to the feed store before they close.
Because let’s be honest. Your time is much better spent enjoying your homestead, not stressing out about it. Right?