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Homestead Layout Plans on 1 Acre or Less

Last Updated: July 9, 2020

You want to start homesteading but don’t have a lot of land?  Lack of land is one of the biggest excuses that I hear from people who’d like to become more self-sufficient but just don’t get started.

I hear you, because I also used to believe that homesteading required tons of land!  That’s why I want to share these tiny homestead layouts with you.  The homestead layout plans are 1 acre or under and help their owners achieve a huge degree of self-sufficiency and even some income!

1/3 Acre Homestead Layout

1/3 acre homestead design

This homestead layout plan is from Lindsey at Chickadeehomestead.com.  Yes, it is really only 1/3 of an acre – but that is enough for the family to raise and grow 80% of their own food as well as most of their personal care items!

How have they done it? By focusing on food sources which don’t take up a lot of space.  For example, raising chickens and rabbits instead of cattle and sheep.

1/8 Acre Urban Homestead Layout

1/8 acre urban homestead plan

Melissa over at Evergrowingfarm.com has a truly impressive homestead layout – particularly because it is an urban farm.

What started out as a “postage stamp of dead earth” amongst busy streets soon became an oasis.  There are:

  • 165 sq. feet raised bed garden
  • 260 sq. feet ground-level growing space
  • Straw bale compost pile
  • A dog run
  • Chicken coop and two brooders
  • Rainwater barrels that can hold 175 gallons
  • 5 chickens (which later grew to 20 chickens)

How did they do it? It was all about smart practices like crop rotation and utilizing the space smartly.  You can learn more about the urban homestead here.

½ Acre Homestead Layout

half acre homestead design

This ½ acre homestead layout comes from a 1950’s brochure made by the California Agricultural Extension Service.

You’ll see that the home and living area haven’t been significantly reduced (you could put more garden space or chickens where those evergreens are!). Yet, there is still a lot of food to be reaped from the orchard and garden.  Like with the first tiny homestead, rabbits and chickens have been chosen for their efficiency.

Other Tiny Homestead Layout Plans

The owners of these websites didn’t get back to me with permission to share their images.  So, you’ll have to click to the website to see the tiny homestead layouts yourself.  It just shows that there are many ways to improve your self-sufficiency through homesteading even in a small space!

The Myth that You Need a Lot of Land to Be Self-Sufficient

Before I started on my own homesteading journey, I thought that I’d need a lot of land to achieve any degree of self-sufficiency. Then I started researching homesteading and visiting homesteads too.  I was amazed at what was being done — even on the rooftops of city homes and tiny backyards.

It is easy to understand why people think you need a lot of space to be self-sufficient.  Our country’s food production is dominated by giant CAFO farms and huge mono-crops.

We are also skewed by history.   In 1800s, the minimum homestead parcel which was given out by the government was 320 acres. (Source)

While it certainly helps to have a lot of land, it isn’t always necessary. Modern farming techniques have made it possible to raise a lot more food in less space, and good planning and homestead design can go a long way.

Here’s an example of what can be done on a small homestead:

  • Singing Frogs Farm: This homestead is larger at 3 harvested acres, but you’d still be surprised to learn that they generate over $100,000 per acre.  The key is using sustainable methods to keep their topsoil healthy.

Where to Homestead

See here for the best states for homesteading.

Some Great Resources for Tiny Homesteads

I’m not going to lie and say that it is easy to become self-sufficient on a tiny homestead.  There is definitely a high learning curve!  But, if you stick with it, you’ll find yourself rewarded with your own food and maybe even have a medicinal garden and homemade cleaning products.

I highly recommend reading some books to get you started on your homesteading journey.  Here are some of my favorites with Amazon links:

  • How to Grow More Vegetables: This book is all about biointensive gardening methods that produce huge yields on small garden plots.
  • The Backyard Homestead: This book deals with all of the logistics of planning your homestead, from where to put the chicken coops to how to set up the garden. I love that it focuses on small spaces.
  • Your Custom Homestead: If you prefer a step-by-step style of book, then this one is for you. It breaks homesteading down into a 21-day process that will get you closer to self-sufficiency through homesteading.  The process is applicable whether you are in a small urban lot or a massive remote farm.
  • Maximizing Your Mini Farm – Self Suffiency on ¼ Acre: There is a lot of really good information in this book, such as soil fertility techniques, trellising, heated water platforms, and planting guides. I also like that Brett talks about how to get the most out of specific veggies like carrots and peppers. You’ll also find info like making your own vinegar and cheese.
  • Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less): Here is a book for people just getting started with homesteading. It starts with advice about purchasing land and takes you through garden planning and skills backyard farmers need to know.

Are you homesteading? How much land do you have?

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  1. How do you deal with a septic tank while trying to have a tiny homestead? We have 3/4 of an acre but half of the backyard is the septic tank and drainage lines. I have read that you are not to plant anything but grass on it.

  2. Were the septic tank drain you do square or bucket garden to eliminate contamination and be able to have all space available.

  3. My parents grow berries on their septic lines. Not sure if this is a good idea but in 40 years i have never gotten sick.

  4. I don’t want a “tiny house,” but I know I don’t need anything huge, either. My last apartment was about 700 (500?) square feet, and it was fine. Can you suggest a good size for 1/2 acre plot? 1/3 acre? — Thanks. Kathy


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