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. Sarah S says

    Basement primed for a major makeover? Here’s the plan, and now for the mood board breakdown…sorry, I couldn’t help it, those sentences are lodged in my subconscious now!

  2. says

    I’m so jealous of your large lot. It is just what I want with the privacy, trees, and flowering bushes, yet you are still in the city and not too secluded. Land around us is too expensive though. Someday we hope to build a house or find a house with a lot like yours.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      OK, ok here’s the chicken coop scoop!

      It’s still back there, just a chicken-wire square behind the garage held in place with some tall 4 x 4s at each corner. I’ve wanted chickens and fresh eggs for a while but John has his reservations about it. I did recently hear a scary story from our cute neighbor who used to keep chickens (about one “giving her the eye” and going crazy and biting her) and since then have been a little nervous about the idea as well.

      As much as fresh organic eggs appeal to us, they’re not that expensive at the store, so we also wonder if the cost of keeping chickens and caring for them is more trouble than just buying fresh organic cage free eggs at the store (plus I must admit that I’ve heard they’re kinda smelly). Anyone out there with experience with chickens? Do tell!


  3. says

    Wow, your lot is super enviable! Even though John has to spend countless hours mowing, I bet it’s all worth it. I only say this because I don’t mow the lawn, but I can imagine it would be worth it to have all of the space and privacy! :)

  4. says

    We have the *perfect* sledding hill in our large backyard, with a little patch of woods at the top of it. And in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees, the tallest tree in that patch of woods has a crooked branch projecting from the top, which makes it look like a tree from Whoville. We call it the Whoville tree. And the woods we call The Poo Woods, thanks to our dog who likes to do his dooties in private.

  5. Melissa says

    We also have a wooded lot and it is one of the major reasons we chose this house over others. The actual house, though I love it, is on the smaller side for us but the lot won me over over. Another house we were debating against was bigger but I didn’t love the outside. We also have an acre of land but our house sits a little further back and is about the same wide as it is long and our wooded lot is brush cleared with just the large trees.

  6. Jenn says

    My husband and I are moving out of state and took the opportunity to find the perfect lot, not the perfect house. We currently have a tiny yard and knew that the most important thing for us was to have a ton of trees and a much larger yard. We ended up buying a 6 acre heavily wooded lot and love it. It has no house on it, so eventually we can build the perfect house for us on it.

  7. says

    What an awesome lot! No wonder you fell in love! My husband wants an acreage something fierce…there just isn’t much for offerings around here, so we wait. With our quaint, fenced in back yard!

    I never noticed that your sun room has all patio doors. My dad built a sun room on my parents house and used all patio doors. I originally thought he was nuts, but it’s awesome! It gives the room a nice and clean look.

    Great job guys!

  8. Elaine Kasten says

    The best part of our house is a sunroom (a lot like yours with sliding glass doors all around) that is built next to a deck on the main floor. It looks like a glassed in treehouse since the house is built on a hill and there’s a full basement. We have woods behind us and a creek.

  9. says

    We actually were wooed by our yard/lot as well. Sadly we don’t have the veritable forest you guys have but we scored a big, grassy acre in the middle of the city of Memphis! The downside (and reason for the odd lot)is the large drainage ditch (culvert I guess) running alongside our property. We have designs on getting a privacy fence installed along that side but at 350 ft…the sticker shock is a little…well, shocking!

    Love your sun porch!!


  10. says

    Love the lot! I’d want the place too if I saw it. I’d love to have a large open yard, plus woods, plus the privacy you have. Very jealous! I have a detached garage, painted similar to your garage – black door and all. I also love how you’ve used the little spaces to your advantage – such as the garden. The two of you are so creative!

  11. says

    I just read your comment about the chickens… I grew up with various chickens. Some were more ornamental and they were great (until our dog ate them!), but other chickens (raised more for meat) are TERRIBLY MEAN! I would go in there (when I was about 10) with a giant stick to beat them off me. I wouldn’t really have to hit them, but it was for peace of mind if they got within the stick range of me. There are good things about chickens besides the eggs, but I can only think of one – they eat a lot of bugs! Which is great if you can have them wandering around, but with them being far away from your house, that wouldn’t really be a big selling point, to me at least. I say just support your local farmers and buy eggs from them! Now, if you got into raising some for meat and had some for eggs, then it might make it worth it.

  12. D Young says

    We also have a long yard. We call the landscaped part the “back yard” and the further out part the “back back.” Our back back has some trees but more cactus since we are in Arizona.
    I raised a few chickens in a homemade coop. I think how successful you will be depends on how realistic vs how idealistic you are. For example, what will you do when the chickens get beyond laying age?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      That’s so funny D Young. We call the deep woods behind the backyard the “back back” too! Very descriptive of us, eh?

      I totally appreciate your realistic vs. idealistic chicken question. I totally would want to keep my chickens forever and couldn’t ever see myself hurting my “pets” after they stop laying, so you’re totally smart to bring that up. I also love Megan’s point that it’s nice to support local farmers so for now that’s the plan!


  13. Elena says

    Do you ever use the hammock?? I would LOVE a hammock in the middle of the woods for some reading or a nap (however, since i myself live in the concrete jungle that is not going to happen)….

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Elena,

      We do use the hammock every so often on weekends (it’s a double so we both fit on it) and it’s nice to just sway while Burger plays in the backyard. Burger does not like getting in the hammock with us. We’ve tried. I used to go out there after lunch some days to just relax for about 15 minutes before getting back to work, but since switching from freelance copywriter to full time blogger I haven’t had any free time to relax out back. Bummer! The fact that the internet is a 24/7 thing digs into my hammock time!


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