The Lay Of The Land

It’s not uncommon for us to get a few email and comment questions about the way our house is situated on our lot. Many people can’t figure out where the patio leads or where our garage is located in relation to our house so we figured we should whip up a little exterior diagram for ya. We actually have almost an acre of land and an extremely deep woods behind our house for privacy, which we love (it’s actually one of the main reasons we bought our seen-better-days rancher). And we were also lucky enough to have inherited some great privacy hedges and fences that keep our yard feeling nice and secluded from our neighbors on either side. But on with the tour! Here’s our looooong and skinny lot (to scale):


You might not believe that this rendering could possibly be to scale (is your house really that small? is your lot really that long?) but we traced over a scaled blueprint of our property (found in our giant file of papers from the closing). Isn’t it funny how TINY our house is compared to the acreage that it’s on?! You’ll notice a few things right away. Poor John has a lot of grass to mow (love ya honey!), we have an extremely long driveway with room for a whole bunch of cars at the end, and we have more than enough trees and shrubs to feel like we live in the middle of the woods. You can also see how the sunroom stairs lead down to the patio, which leads out to the driveway, which is where we added our little herb & veggie garden (in one of the only full sun spots we had thanks to all the aforementioned foliage).

And because we get quite a few questions about where all of those sliding glass doors in our sunroom lead, we’ll clear that up once and for all…


Only one set of doors leads out to the back patio while the rest lead absolutely nowhere. Really, if you stepped out of them you’d fall about 5 feet into the edible garden or the bushes on the side of the house (see diagram above). But we love that they’re there for the view and the cross breeze that they provide when we slide ’em open. The one that leads to a few brick steps that take you to the back patio is just out of frame to the right in this picture (see the corner of the doormat?):


And here’s a view of the patio from those stairs that lead down to that area:


But let’s rewind and start from the street. Here’s the house pretty much from the edge of the long driveway where it meets the street:


And if you walk up the driveway towards the house, here’s the side view:


Then as you enter the big part of the driveway in the back you’ll see where we had the tables set up for our backyard wedding:


Of course we’ve since painted the garage black, so on an ordinary day without 75 people back there it looks like this:


Here’s the view if you turn slightly to the right:


And here’s the scenery when you turn even more to the right and walk towards the gate (which leads to the patio). You’ll notice our little edible garden just outside the gate in front of the brick stairway that’s tucked away behind that lamp post. It leads down to the private entry basement (which is primed for a major makeover, stay tuned…)


Once you enter the back gate you’ll find yourself on the cobblestone path that leads to the patio. Here’s a shot looking back at the garage from inside the fence:


And here’s a shot looking up at the back of the house and the patio from that cobblestone path by the gate:


Of course we can’t forget the view of that crazy deep woods behind our backyard. We love that we have a nice sized grassy area for Burger/future babies along with the privacy and seclusion that the deeply wooded area offers.


Lot, we love you.

Can’t you see why it was the lot and not the house that stole our hearts and wooed us into making an offer? All that privacy and green was just so seductive after many years in the concrete jungle that is Manhattan.

So there you have it. A tour of our home’s exterior. What about you guys. Do you have any unusual features? A long skinny property? A detatched garage? A separate entry basement? A chicken coup? (We actually inherited one behind the garage!) Do tell.


  1. Jill Stigs says

    Very cool………now we get a better idea of the lay of your land! Thanks for doing this.

    So when John comes home from work or you guys come home from shopping you walk thru the sunroom past the laundry then?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Jill,

      Yup, we’ve probably entered the house through our front door a total of five times in three years (not counting all the in and outs to relax on the newly spruced porch). Regular guests even know to come to the back and enter through the sunroom since that’s where the driveway turnaround is (although people just staying for a bit sometimes park in the front/skinny part of the driveway and walk to the front door). But that’s why our mudroom in the den and our bathing suit hooks in the sunroom make so much sense for us, since it’s our main entry point. Hope it helps!


  2. says

    I can see why you bought this house. Gorgeous land!

    The only thing we inherited was the previous owners mess and unkept house. But just like yourselves, we have made our home ours, one day at a time, one room at a time.

    Check out our before and after pics. {fainting}

  3. Abby says

    I’m so jealous of your privacy. We are practically on top of our neighbors. From our kitchen window, you look directly into our neighbors kitchen. We wave to each other sometimes. We always feel like we need to have the shades drawn.

  4. Carol says

    Love the lot! We have around 2 acres on our property, most of it still wooded. We can barely see a corner of one neighbors house on the right and there is no one to the left or across the street from us. The closest neighbor behind us has 5 acres so all we see is their horse pen. Of course in the winter we can see a little more but for the most part, it is wooded bliss. We built our home in 1986 when we fell in love with the area. The best thing is we are less than 5 minutes from an interstate and we can get to work in 10 minutes taking the side streets. But yet we feel secluded in our own little piece of heaven. I wish we had more sunny spots to have a vegetable garden but love the tree cover too much to give them up. And it really helps out on the cooling bills in the hot summer (we are in Alabama). Even in the worst heat, our power bills are fairly reasonable (around $150) when some of our friends have several hundred dollars worth of power bill. So that is a nice added benefit of the tree cover.

    Can’t wait to see the basement!

  5. says

    I don’t have anything interesting to say about my yard since we live in a 3rd floor apartment, but I do have a question about the table set up in the driveway for your wedding. How many tables did you have to rent? We’re having our wedding in a backyard that has a strict amount of space too, and I’m starting to worry about how I’ll fit enough tables for about 60 people.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kim,

      I believe we rented ten tables that each seated eight people to ensure that we had enough seating for our 72 guests. We ended up pushing two tables together to make what appeared to be four longer tables and left two of the shorter tables in the back with the photobooth (making an aisle that people could walk up in the middle and on both sides of the table helped everyone mill around more easily). We would just suggest getting table measurements and using a tape measure on your area beforehand (maybe even using blue painter’s tape or cardboard shapes to make a layout to ease your mind). Hope it helps!


  6. says

    Hey, this was great! So nice to put everything together so that is makes sense. We also have a super skinny lot, although we have about a tenth of the land that you do, so you know it is skinny! Our driveway is so narrow that we are constantly doing “musical cars” when anyone comes over. Is your entire lot fenced in?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Jenny,

      We actually have a fence that wraps around the entire perimeter of our lot (except for when the 9′ hedges take over on the right side). See those little blocks around the edge of the diagram? That’s my feeble attempt at a fence. Luckily, the previous owners also had a pooch so the backyard also has its own fence to keep little Burger easily wrangled (so he’s not getting into trouble on the side of the house or escaping down the driveway). Hope it helps!


  7. Focipresley says

    I adore your sunroom. If I had one with a daybed like yours, I’d sleep out there on hot summer nights to enjoy whatever available cross-breeze there was. *sigh* so romantic.

    Gorgeous property – good on you for scoring it!


  8. Emily says

    We inherited a house with only TWO closets, no storage in the attic and NO basement. Needless to say, my husband and I are becoming experts at creating our own open storage (since there isn’t place to hide much of anything) Although, a little tutorial on ideas for storage in a small kitchen, bathroom/laundry room, or open living room would be fab. Thoughts?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Emily,

      Check out this post all about how we store tons of stuff (hidden in ottomans, stashed in boxes and bins). We also have a bunch of other tips and tricks on our How-To page under Organization Options. Hope it helps!


  9. says

    This is why I could never live in the burbs. A big dark wood in the backyard would totally give me nightmares. Im such a city mouse. (Although I would love to have access to free branches all the time so maybe I could get over it? Not to mention all that free space to spray paint things!haha)

    My property isn’t unique at all for someone who lives here but it would be very weird for anyone not used to such close quarters….narrow lot with tiny backyard.

  10. says

    Oh how I long for the day we can try to find a lot like that. I really like our house but often say that I wish we could pick it up and move it to a more private setting. (we live in a mass developed developement:( ) My husband wants like FOUR acres. I keep telling him that I’d rather a half acre in a private setting than more land and still have people on top of us.

  11. says

    my unusual feature is my pointy elfin ears…oh were you asking about our exterior? then it would have to be the wonky hill that is the thorn in our house’s side.

    also…thank you for making your map to scale. Your standard of excellence was a refreshing reminder of my marginal mediocrity :)

    You rock Sher. like a lot. like your lot :)

  12. says

    Oh this makes me want a house so bad. Sigh. Sadly it will be a few more years at least until I can call a place home. I hope to have a yard like yours though! So pretty!

  13. says

    Gorgeous! Simply Go-wa-geous!

    Seriously fantastic property you have there. And great landscaping thanks to past owners and a lot of your hard work too. A property with so much green land is definitely a dream property for me. No wonder it’s your forever home!

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