How Big is the Average Backyard for a Single Family Home?

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How Big is the Average Backyard for a Single Family Home?

Examples of Homes with Big and Small Backyards

What is The Minimum Size of Backyard?

 

A backyard is a lot or piece of vacant land behind your house (also known as the rear yard). You also have the front yard which is a piece of vacant land in front of your house adjacent to the street or main entrance. The total size of your yard is the area of the residential lot minus the building area (area occupied by the house). How big your backyard is will depend on the architectural design of your home as well as the design of your landscape. Here is what you must know, according to Building Regulations and Codes, you can have your home built anywhere on the residential lot as long as the building profile doesn’t encroach the setback area. City councils in each and every state of the USA have setback requirements. The setback area is measured from the boundary line to the internal perimeter (setback line).

So you are planning to build a new house, and you wish to know how big is the average backyard? Well, depending on your residential district, the size of your backyard may be limited by local zoning ordinances or it may be a personal choice if no minimums are required with the exception of the setback distance. Look at your needs and requirements and convey them to the architect, they will most likely give you better options which comply with building codes. Remember that building a house is not just designing the plans and building. Your house plans have to be approved by the Building Department to see if they meet a set of codes such as daylight requirements, setback area, height, site drainage, safety, structural standards, fire, environmental health, pollution control, location, siting and zoning. You may find that the orientation of your proposed house may need to be changed to meet daylight requirements, drainage and some of the above-mentioned codes.  This will in turn affect the size of your backyard.

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The best way to know the average size of a backyard in a particular state, city, county or district is to check site plans of a particular house which is up for sale on real estate/property sites. Local building authorities also have this information as well as architectural design firms. As you will find out, many homes up for sale on real estate sites do not have the same backyard or front yards. The size and location of the backyard on the premises differs a lot. There are homes with a very large backyard and small front yard, those with a small backyard and large front yard, and those where the yard is evenly spread on the lot.

Do you love outdoor activities such as tennis, swimming, gardening, basketball and farming? Then your average backyard will be much bigger than somebody who likes staying indoors. Do you love privacy, away from streets and passersby? Then you should push your proposed house a little bit to the front, to make way for a big backyard which gives you a secluded place for leisure activities.

Examples of Homes with Big and Small Backyards

Below is a collection of single family homes with big and small backyards.

2 Bedroom Single Family Home with 3,337 Square Foot Backyard in Los Angeles, California

A one level single family home 635 square foot in size, sitting on a residential lot (40 x 120 feet) 4800 square feet, with a 3337 square feet backyard. As you can see on this plan, the owner positioned his house on the extreme front yard, about 21.69 feet from the main street curb. This configuration provides the homeowner with a lot of space in the backyard. The backyard is sloping up from the building line, rising from 600 to 618.50 on the extreme property line (boundary line) and filled with gravel.

Site Plan of Single Family Home in Los Angeles - San Rafael - Lot Size

2 Bedroom House with Big Backyard – Site Plan of Single Family Home in Los Angeles – San Rafael

This huge backyard (371 square yards) can be used for a lot of things such as building extensions, recreational facilities and many other outdoor projects. It’s always a good idea to move the facade of your house to the front yard facing the street, so that extensions, additions and other developments can progress towards the backyard boundary line. This will maintain the aesthetic appeal of your street facade and front yard, and at the same time, it will hide backyard structures and construction activities that may make your home look unsightly and inharmonious to the surrounding environment. Remember, Building Codes in certain states and cities of the USA forbid property developments and structures that do not fit in well with the environment because a proliferation of inharmonious developments may reduce the value of property in that location or city. Backyard development as opposed to front yard development reduces the risks of inharmonious structures that may make the house look unsightly from the streets. Anyway, the elevations of your house or yard that are visible from adjacent streets should be aesthetically pleasing, complimentary and be in harmony with the environment.

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3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

This two-storey single family home has a total gross floor area of 2,428 square feet, and the house is situated on a big private lot 6,144 square feet in size. However, when you look at the size of the backyard and front yard, it looks very small compared to the 2 bedroom house mentioned above. This is due to the fact that the house is very large, occupying about 40% of the lot, and the total yard size is divided almost equally between the backyard and the front yard, so that’s about 3,716 square feet of yard space divided equally, which means the backyard is approximately 1858 square feet in size. The front yard is nothing but a well manicured green lawn, shrubs, hedge, flowers, a tree and driveway paving. The backyard provides an open-air space for relaxing, winding down and entertainment, surrounded by a boundary brickwall.

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California – Source Knight Frank USA

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

3 Bedroom Single Family Home on 6,144 Square Foot Yard in Corona del Mar, California

2 Bedroom Single Family Duplex House with Small Backyard Garden in Upper East Side, New York

A two-level single family duplex house with a small backyard garden, size 16 x 24 feet (384 square feet) and upper level terrace. The duplex house is 1300 square feet in size and the outside backyard excluding the garden is 470 square feet, covered with a plank wooden floor.

In expensive and highly populated places like New York, land is scarce in the CBD, surrounds and metropolitan areas, so the backyards are small. Maximum use of space is provided for accommodation and less space is available for outdoor recreation.

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA – Source Knight Frank USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

2 Bedroom Cooperative For Sale in 243 East 77th Street_1B-Upper East Side_New York_USA

What is The Minimum Size of Backyard?

As mentioned earlier, the size of your backyard will be limited by local zoning ordinances, but it will also be limited by the overall size of your residential lot, the size of your house as well as the setback area.  Provided that the primary factors (minimum yard zoning requirements) affecting the size of your yard were observed, your rear yard will be big or small depending on secondary factors such as the shape and configuration of your architectural design. The minimum rear yard size that you can have is the rear yard setback area provided that all other building codes are complied with. The minimum setback line / distance (also known as the building line) varies by state and city. Most city/district planning authorities usually specify the minimum size for the backyard, front yard and side yard. This is obviously the setback distance, so you may not build an extension that will encroach into or reduce the size of this yard, unless maybe if you get a special permit.

As an example, the following are minimum yard sizes for selected cities and districts in the USA based on the setback distance:

FairFax County Minimum Yard Size for Single Family Homes and Prefabricated Homes:

The minimum setbacks in FairFax County are shown below:

Backyard – 50 feet

Front yard – 60 feet

Side yard – 50 feet

San Diego County Minimum Yard Size for Permitted Residential Building Types (Single Family Homes):

The following are minimum yard sizes for single family homes (one home per lot, 1 to 4 storey detached or semi-detached house) in San Diego County:

Building Type A Single Storey Home:

Front yard – 100 feet

Side yard – 15 feet

Backyard – 50 feet

Building Type B to F Home with Two or More Storeys:

Front yard – 60 feet

Side yard – 10 to 15 feet

Backyard – 15 to 50 feet

Building Type G to N Home with Two or More Storeys:

Front yard – 50 feet

Side yard – 5 to 10 feet

Backyard – 25 to 40 feet

City of Seattle Minimum Yard Size for Single Family Homes:

The minimum yard size in Seattle is as follows:

Front yard – 20 feet

Side yard – 5 feet and 10 feet for side adjacent to the street

Backyard – 25 feet

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Minimum Yard Size for Single Family Homes:

In Shrewbury, the minimum yard sizes look like this:

Rural AA One Family Home

Lot Area  – 45,000 square feet

Lot Frontage – 150 feet

Front Yard – 50 square feet

Side Yard – 30 feet

Rear Yard – 50 feet

Rural A One Family Home

Lot Area  – 20,000 square feet

Lot Frontage – 125 feet

Front Yard – 50 feet

Side Yard – 30 feet

Rear Yard – 50 feet

Rural B One Family Home

Lot Area  – 20,000 square feet

Lot Frontage – 125 feet

Front Yard – 50 feet

Side Yard – 30 feet

Rear Yard – 50 feet

Residence A One Family Home

Lot Area  – 20,000 square feet

Lot Frontage – 125 feet

Front Yard – 50 feet

Side Yard – 30 feet

Rear Yard – 50 feet

Residence B1 One Family Home

Lot Area  – 12,500 square feet

Lot Frontage – 100 feet

Front Yard – 30 feet

Side Yard – 10 feet

Rear Yard – 40 feet

Residence B2 One Family Home

Lot Area  – 12,500 square feet

Lot Frontage – 100 feet

Front Yard – 30 feet

Side Yard – 10 feet

Rear Yard –  40 feet

One Family Unit in Multi-Family Residential Complex

Lot Area  – 12,500 square feet

Lot Frontage – 100

Front Yard – 30 feet

Side Yard – 10 feet

Rear Yard –  40 feet

One Family Apartment

Lot Area  – 12,500 square feet

Lot Frontage – 100 feet

Front Yard – 30 feet

Side Yard – 10 feet

Rear Yard –  40 feet

City of Portland, Oregon Minimum Yard Size for Single Dwelling Zones

In Oregon, single dwelling zones are designated for single family housing which includes houses, duplexes, manufactured homes, and houseboats. Depending on the primary use, some housing types may be allowed or disallowed. Multi-family units, SRO units, group living structures and container home parks are not allowed in a single dwelling zone, but some of these multi-family residences may be allowed in special circumstances such as planned developments.

Front Yard setback – 10 to 20 feet depending on the primary use.

Side Yard setback – 5 to 10 feet depending on the primary use, but attached units may have a minimum of zero to five feet.

Rear Yard setback – 5 to 10 feet depending on the primary use.

Jefferson County, Wisconsin Minimum Yard Size for Single Family Homes

R1 Sewered Residential Zone

Side Yard – 10 feet

Backyard – 25 feet

R2 Unsewered Residential Zone

Side Yard – 15 feet

Backyard – 40 feet


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