(This post was originally written in March 2011).
We're going to begin clearing trees this summer. That means we needed a pretty good idea of where we want buildings and gardens and stuff. We're not sure just how big this whole homestead is going to be - we'll wisely start small and grow when appropriate - but wanted to plan a layout that would include most of the possibilities so that we didn't end up with a country version of urban sprawl. The homestead needs to work as cohesive whole not a haphazard accumulation of buildings. You'll note that I said "homestead", not camp. Yeah - we decided to change from vacation property to home site. Fortunately we're within a one hour commute so this is actually possible. Anyway...
Not knowing the best way to lay out a homestead we did what all newbies do - we started researching. Some driving around, bookstore trolling, and internet searching turned up lots of information and examples. Countryliving Magazine even had a specific article on things to consider in setting up your homestead. The nuts and bolts of it? Consider how you want to live, what you want to accomplish, and then figure out what buildings and land-use will help with it. Kind of like buying the tractor!
We'd already talked about how and what, so we moved on to the mechanics. Made a list of all buildings we might need. Made a copy of our lot map. Started drawing a rough layout. Erased a lot of lines. Drew them in again. Finally got a draft that we'll work on refining once we can actually take some measurements (still way too much snow on the ground).
Here is our list:
House (including well and septic)
Summer kitchen / processing area
Woodworking / welding shop
Guest cottage (already have this)
Tractor shed (got this too)
Small animal barn
Some stuff is a given. Some won't ever happen. Some things may transform into others (we may make the tractor shed the donkey barn). But now we've got a plan and can start marking trees for removal. Gonna be a busy summer!