Homesteading on 5 acres: Layout, Plan, Ideas, Living (2024)

With hard work and determination, homesteading on 5 acres works out beautifully for most new homesteaders. The ability to grow food and live a slower, more intentional life is drawing many people away from the cities and into rural spaces. From small scale protein to large scale production, we have all you need to know about homesteading on 5 acres.

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Is Homesteading on 5 Acres Possible?

Of course it’s possible to homestead on five acres of land. You really don’t need too much space in order to set up a place to call home and grow some food.

Homesteading is a state of mind, of producing more than one consumes. Of using what one has in order to become less reliant on anyone else to grow some food. To work towards closing the loop for your particular needs on those systems.

For example, keeping a vegetable garden is a pretty common practice amongst homesteaders, but how will you feed that garden? Well you can compost kitchen scraps and leaves from your property to add back to your garden beds. You’ve just closed a loop by looking at the relationship between your kitchen and your garden.

But you can take that further. What will you do with the spent plants at the end of their season? And the buggy, poorly producing plants? Set up a chicken coop near your garden and feed that to your chickens. Then pull chicken manure out to add to that compost pile.

You’ve just built upon that relationship by adding in chickens. Now you have eggs, meat, pest control, nutrients to add to the garden, and the produce that comes out.

That is the mindset of homesteading. Now, let’s apply that to all other parts of the homestead, working in conjunction with one another so that you have a closed system of production.

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Things to Consider When Homesteading on 5 Acres

Here are six key considerations when looking for or building your homestead:

1. What’s Your Homesteading Dream?

Start by listing out all of the specific goals that you want to accomplish on a homestead. From the little stuff to the seemingly impossible, write it all out. Consider your long term plan for a built-out homestead. What types of animals will you want? How many kinds of fruit trees will you grow? The sky is the limit when you’re homesteading on 5 acres.

2. Proximity of the Homestead

Where do you want to be? Consider weather conditions and microclimates. Think about school systems, commuting to a job, hospitals, local stores, neighbors, police response times. Make sure that you are building in an area that is conducive to your lifestyle dreams, but also the life you need to live to make it happen.

3. Rules and Regulations

Make sure that you do your due diligence to research where you are and what you’re getting. Purchasing title insurance when buying your property should let you know about deed restrictions and homeowners’ associations that may have rules that will impede your homestead goals.

Even 5 acre tracts of land can have some of these restrictions, and rural areas of the county aren’t immune to them either. “No swine” is a common one that we’ve seen in our local rural spaces. I can’t imagine not raising pork while homesteading on 5 acres.

Further, look at specific county or town zoning requirements. Each local government is going to have a different set of rules. Some may be completely relaxed while others are too strict.

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4. Community

Look through local social media pages for homestead community. How far away are your neighbors? If you want to keep a cow for the first time, is there someone with cattle experience nearby who might be willing to help you in an emergency?

Check out the local feed cooperative and farmers markets. We still small talk there and read through bulletin boards to communicate. You can’t do it all alone. Community is so important.

5. Topography

What is the layout of the land? Does it have a stand of tall pines? Is there water running through it or good drainage? Is it the side of a mountain? What’s the soil like? You can do anything anywhere, but a rocky mountain side or a swampy gully might prove to be more difficult to keeping a milk cow.

6. Sunlight

Make note of the time of day when you walk property for your potential homestead. Where will the sun rise and set? Will the grass get enough sunshine to grow? Are you going to need to remove some trees? Or is it all sunshine, no trees, and you may need to establish some shade for your future garden space?

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Buying Land for Your 5 acre Homestead

​Do not be afraid to use a real estate agent, licensed in your state, to find the right property for you. It will cost you nothing, as the seller’s agent pays your agent a portion of his commission. Find a good agent who knows the area in which you’re looking for land.

Be open to something that needs work. Sometimes you have to be willing to find a diamond in the rough to fit your budget or to get into the area you want to be in. That large-property dream may not work out exactly as you intended, but the smaller scale will get your started in your homestead dream life.

Many new homesteaders find that this way of life is too much work in the first year, and they want to scale down to less land. That’s okay too.

The path is different for everyone. Be realistic in what you want to accomplish, and go from there. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to homesteading on 5 acres.

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What You Can Do on Your 5 Acre Homestead

What can’t you do when homesteading 5 acres? This is enough space to achieve most homesteaders’ goals. On five acres, you can:

  • keep an orchard of fruit trees
  • grow enough food in your gardens for an entire year
  • raise small livestock for meat such rabbits and chickens
  • keep laying birds like quail, chickens, and ducks
  • raise sheep for meat
  • keep goats for dairy
  • keep a couple of beehives
  • compost
  • have a hedge of berry bushes
  • build a pig pen
  • create rain catchment for water systems
  • rotate pasture space for a single dairy cow if given the right piece of property
  • grow an apothecary garden of herbs
  • and even more …

Of course these things won’t happen overnight, but you can build upon your homesteading journey over time until you’ve wisely used up all of your 5 acres.

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A Self-sufficient Homestead on 5 Acres

Can you be truly self-sufficient homesteading on 5 acres? Sure, if that’s your goal, you can do anything. Most of us think of self-sufficient as being off grid, not connected to the local power grid or other public utilities in any fashion.

You can certainly go the route of solar panels for energy and a hand-pumped well for water, but most states require at least the ability to connect to the local power grid in order to issue a Certificate of Occupancy.

This is a difficult lifestyle, and if I’m completely honest, is not one of my goals at all. Homesteading is hard enough with electricity and running water. I enjoy modern amenities like air conditioning (in Florida) and a dishwasher. Can I live without them? Absolutely, but I have zero desire to force myself to live that way if I don’t have to.

That said, I’m always striving to become more self-sufficient to close that loop. We aren’t there, but doing this takes time.

I’m still building soil for my gardens through composting, I’m still buying in feed for my meat birds. Ideally, I’d like to attempt to grow their fodder, but we need to work on that. I’m still buying hay for my cows because our land can’t support the number that we have.

Further, this is where community comes in. You can’t do it all. Be willing to do the things that you’re really good at, and barter with or support others in your community that are doing the rest. Trading 5 dozen eggs for a quart of honey, for instance, is a way to accomplish a self-sufficient system that isn’t actually doing it all.

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Designing Your 5 Acre Homestead

Your 5 acre homestead layout will vary widely on the shape and topography of your land. Again, don’t try to keep dairy goats in the swamp, and don’t try to keep the beef mini cow on the rocky mountain side. Homesteading on 5 acres can have many different designs.

Experts say that you should watch your property for one full year before making any solid plans on your homestead. While I think this is a noble plan, it’s not realistic. People are excited to get to their land and start working their small homestead. Don’t be afraid to start doing something right away. You can make changes later if needed.

If you can get an enlarged, overhead picture of your property, you can easily draw what things you’d like to do. This is a great way to draw to-scale, by square feet, for an accurate view of what your plans will look like.

Make yourself a master plan and start working those homestead goals.

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Getting Started and Setting Homesteading Goals

Alright, no matter how much land you have, setting goals for your 5-acre homestead is easy. Remember that dream list you made that has all the things that you could ever dream of doing on your own land? Start organizing that list by order of priority. Put your list into the order of most important to least important.

Pick the top five things that you’d like or need to accomplish first. Circle those items, and make new lists for each one. The new lists are the actionable steps that you need to take to make them happen. I have found this to be the best way to realistically accomplish projects on our homestead.

What’s the most important thing for you to use as a starting point homesteading on 5 acres? Maybe it’s not the most fun thing, like fencing. Or maybe it is. Perhaps its the thing that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck, like an easy chicken tractor with a handful of laying hens.

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Here’s a quick example:

My dream list starts with

  1. composting system
  2. chickens for eggs
  3. ​vegetable garden
  4. chickens for meat
  5. dairy goats

I started with a composting system because if I’m doing nothing else for my homestead, I’m creating waste. I at least have food scraps and green and brown materials throughout my property. That’s the easiest place on my list to start.

To make this happen, I need:

  • kitchen container for scraps (I don’t need fancy, I have a 1 gallon bucket with lid to keep under the kitchen sink.)
  • an outdoor container of sorts (I want the tumbler in our scenario.)
  • enough brown material to add to my kitchen scraps
  • build time into my routine to add to and turn the tumbler

From there, I can establish the goals into my spending budget and purchase the tumbler that I want. I can scoop dead leaves or peat from the woods to add to the tumbler as soon as it arrives. I have taken action to do the next thing on my smaller homestead.

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I’m ready to move on to the next thing, laying hens. I will need:

  • chicken tractor (list supplies to build or cost to purchase)
  • hens (place to purchase and breed desired)
  • build time into your day to move and care for them

​Keep taking the next steps to move forward building your homestead, and keep adding to the list. Before you know it, you’ll have so many working parts on your five acre farm.

Fencing Your Homestead Property

​The best advice that I can offer in your homestead plan is to make fencing your first step, and do it right the first time. The homestead fence is your barrier against predators to future livestock, and it’ll keep them in. It’s also a visual boundary to you and others. No matter what amount of land you have, start with fencing.

​Homesteading on 5 Acres for Food Production

​Producing food is what homesteading is all about. You may not have room for a lot of large livestock, but you still have plenty of room to grow a lot of food on your piece of land.

Check out these ideas for growing small scale protein sources, like meat chickens. Add in a large garden, and you’re providing a lot of your own food in no time.

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Gardening on Your Homestead

The garden is a good way to start working your homestead. You want to be able to run out the back door and quickly grab a couple of tomatoes from a kitchen garden to prepare a meal.

Most importantly, make sure that you position your main garden space in an area that gets full sun throughout the growing season. Also, consider your nearest water source for your vegetable plants.

If your local soil is rocky, raised beds or hugel mounds are great options. If your soil is clay or sand, till in some compost.

Ground-level gardens can be used in imperfect soils too. Skip the hard work by laying down cardboard and piling up compost.

You can make large amounts of compost by getting truckloads of wood chips delivered. Turn the pile with a tractor every week or so, and you’ll have a large batch of fresh compost to build that garden in no time.

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​Homesteading 5 Acres to Generate Income

​Finally, the homesteading dream often involves generating income. The truth is, most folks still have to carry an off-farm job to fund the homestead because farm life is not cheap. However, the small space farm can help you pay your way to building up the dream.

If you want to raise your own pork, for example, don’t just raise one pig. Grow double what your family needs, and sell the other half to cover the cost of yours. A lot of people don’t want to do a lot of work, but they want the fresh food. That is your market. Sell them the extra. You can have a lot of extra when homesteading on 5 acres.

But what if you grew out three instead of two pigs? One for you, one to cover expenses in raising them, and the third is all profit. Be careful. This game can be a slippery slope, and you may find yourself designating an entire chunk of your land to pig farming. But maybe you find that you love it.

Maybe you want to keep a market garden, intensively planting, and growing abundant harvests to take to market. Learn what it takes to do it, write down the list of steps to take, and do it. Incorporate a space for larger scale growing in your five acre homestead design, and work on making fresh produce part of your income.

Be willing to diversify for income, but not too much. You need to understand that food grows seasonally, so having a few different streams of income is wise. But stretching yourself too thin so that you don’t do any of them well will not serve you either.

Just like building up your homestead, add in one thing at a time.

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Final Thoughts, Homesteading on 5 acres

So there it is, your five acre homestead. You don’t need fifty acres to call yourself a small farmer. You can grow so much more than you think on less space, and I bet that homesteading on 5 acres is more realistic than you thought. I hope you’re encouraged to get out of the city, and grow a little food of your own.

Happy Homesteading!

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Donna and her family have beenhomesteadingfor most of their 20+ years together in some shape or fashion. She currently lives on their 20 acre farm where they grow as much food as possible. What started as a just a few laying hens, has grown into large gardens, pastured poultry, pork, and lamb. They are continuously evolving their small farm to not suit their family’s needs, but also providing to their local community.Donna’s favorite part of the family farm is her self-built micro-dairy, where she gets to love on dairy cows while serving her local community. Milking, cheesemaking, and processing dairy have become the soul of their homestead and the center of their farm.


Homesteading on 5 acres: Layout, Plan, Ideas, Living (2024)


Homesteading on 5 acres: Layout, Plan, Ideas, Living? ›

With an adequate water supply, five acres is suitable to raise poultry for meat or eggs, as well as small ruminants (goats and sheep). It may be possible to produce hay or silage, even on non-irrigated land, if harvest can be contracted out.

How to make a living on 5 acres? ›

With an adequate water supply, five acres is suitable to raise poultry for meat or eggs, as well as small ruminants (goats and sheep). It may be possible to produce hay or silage, even on non-irrigated land, if harvest can be contracted out.

How many houses fit on 5 acres? ›

96 Houses. Throughout the US, single-family homes size vary depending on the state, city, and town, as certain living environments may restrict how much space one household can use. However, the median size of a family house is 2,261 square feet or 0.05 acres. So, on a 5-acre parcel, you could fit 96 homes.

Is 5 acres enough for a homestead? ›

This is enough space to achieve most homesteaders' goals. On five acres, you can: keep an orchard of fruit trees. grow enough food in your gardens for an entire year.

Is 5 acres considered a ranch? ›

How Many Acres Is A Ranch? In the United States, a ranch is generally considered to be at least 1,000 acres. However, smaller ranches can range from several hundred acres to around 440 acres, while larger family farms can be classified as ranches starting from approximately 1,400 acres.

How to make money on 5 acre farm? ›

Quail. Quail can make a great income on a five acre homestead. They take up very little space, have a great feed to egg conversion ratio, reproduce and grow quickly, and are not nearly as regulated as chickens. You can raise them for both meat and eggs.

How many acres does a farmer need to make a living? ›

To attain $30,000 net farm income – approximately 4½ acres at $19,000 gross income per acre ($6,650 net income); approximately 7 acres at $12,000 gross income per acre ($4,200 net income); and approximately 12 acres at $7,000 gross income per acre ($2,450 net income).

What is the O farming method? ›

O Farming is revolutionizing the digital finance sector, offering an innovative platform for brokers to earn income online through "oil farming." It addresses skepticism in online income strategies, providing a structured, transparent system for efficient and profitable brokerage.

What is the first step to homesteading? ›

Research and plan: Start by learning about the different aspects of homesteading, such as growing food, raising animals, and building or repairing structures. Consider what resources and skills you have available, and create a plan for how you will approach each aspect of homesteading.

How do I start off the grid in Homestead? ›

How To Live Off The Grid In 7 Steps
  1. Locate Land. ...
  2. Build Or Buy Your Home. ...
  3. Determine Your Water Source. ...
  4. Develop Your Food Supply. ...
  5. Establish A Power System. ...
  6. Create A Septic And Waste Disposal System. ...
  7. Enjoy Off-Grid Living.
Nov 8, 2022

How much land do you need to run a self-sufficient homestead? ›

Though you may not be able to raise a year's worth of food on 1/4 acre in the suburbs, you also don't need a 20 acre homestead. For the average family of four, you can expect to grow a year's worth of food on three to five acres.

How do you visualize 5 acres? ›

A standard football field, including the end zones, measures approximately 1.32 acres. To compare the size of five acres of land with a football field that measures 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, we can calculate the total area of the football field and then compare it with the size of five acres.

What is the perfect 5 acre square? ›

Five acres could be a square that's 466.7 feet on each side. Or it could be a circle with a diameter of 526.6 feet. Or a rectangle that's 1 foot wide and 41.25 miles long. Or a lot of other shapes and sizes.

How many acre is a normal house? ›

If you want to visualize an acre as a square, that's about 208 feet by 208 feet. The median lot size for a new single-family home is 0.19 acres, so five homes can fit comfortably on one acre.

Can 5 acres be profitable? ›

Five acres may not sound like a lot of land, but many farmers have been successful at making a living on 1 acre and 2 acres, and even less land than that. It takes careful planning, creativity, and hard work, but it can be done.

How much land do you need to run a self sufficient homestead? ›

Though you may not be able to raise a year's worth of food on 1/4 acre in the suburbs, you also don't need a 20 acre homestead. For the average family of four, you can expect to grow a year's worth of food on three to five acres.

How many acres do you need to start a homestead? ›

For a single family, 2 to 5 acres is often more than enough to provide everything they need. Anything bigger than that and you may find it's just more trouble to maintain than it's worth. Some important homestead factors to keep in mind during the planning stage include: Water access.

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