Designing A 40 Acre Homestead Layout

designing a 40 acre homestead


ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

The past decade on my tiny house homestead has taught me more important life skills than all of my years working in an office ever did. This 40 acre homestead layout came from my own experiences building a homestead and learning how to create a simple, sustainable, vital life.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Through my years working on my own land, I’ve gained a lot of invaluable experience that helped me to develop this 40 acre homestead layout. My homesteading experiences, skills, and communities have become foundational to my life and affect my day-in, day-out choices and perspectives.

Building A 40 Acre HomesteadIf you’re preparing to start a large homestead, you’re probably focused more on the tangible benefits that farming offers.

And you wouldn’t be wrong. We cultivate our land to receive harvests of fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, and herbs to nourish us.

What I’ve found, though, is that the process of designing, building, farming, and harvesting fresh foods on your own property provides life lessons and abilities you can’t learn anywhere else.

40 Acre Homestead Layout

Forty Acre Homestead Layout

Following a preset blueprint like this 40 acre homestead layout gives you a strong starting place with plenty of wiggle room to personalize the design to fit your own needs.

what is homesteadingInstead of hassling through where to put your barn or chicken coop, you can take this proven and pre-drawn plan and start learning how to choose good materials and build sturdy coops, barns, and pens that will stand the test of time. You’ll learn basic carpentry skills, animal husbandry talents, and how to eat seasonally and source locally. These skills will serve you well and will continue evolving throughout your entire homesteading journey.

On 40 acres, you’ll have room for several types of small, medium, and large livestock — bees, chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, and even cows. With this layout, you’ll have room for 50 beehives, 200 chickens, 180 ducks, 150 goats, 115 pigs, and nine cows.

You’ll also have space for a roomy garden divided into workable sections and a large orchard or berry grove for bountiful fruit harvests. You can plan for 100 4’x8’ raised bed gardens, 50 10’x10’ ground-level gardens, and around 250 fruit trees.

forty acre homestead

Designing Your Homestead Layout


Acre Homestead


Acre Homestead


Acre Homestead

How Much Will A 40 Acre Homestead Produce?

Under healthy growing conditions, a 40 acre homestead layout like the diagram above is capable of producing over 130,000 pounds of farm fresh food annually. Here is a closer look at this layout’s production possibilities.

Production Projections For 40 Acres

  1. Main HouseInside your farmhouse, you will learn skills for preserving your homegrown foods, using fresh ingredients in healthy recipes, growing indoor herbs to liven up your meals, baking bread, and seasonal eating. To prepare for all of these experiences, you’ll want a sunroom for your herbs and a garage for some extra food storage.
  2. Solar ArrayIf you’re powering around 6,500 square feet of living and powered outbuildings, you’ll need around 60 solar panels. If your square footage is a lot different, plan for 10 to 12 panels for every 1,000 square feet.
  3. Shed & Compost BinsFelling trees and chopping firewood for your woodstoves and campfires are new skills to many homesteaders, and if you are using wood for heat on your farm, you’ll need a woodshed to protect your fuel from inclement weather. Depending on how cold your winters get, one cord of wood (which takes up around 128 cubic feet) could heat between 300 and 500 square feet of living space. Having multiple compost bins and different compost types are also great homesteading skills to cultivate, as they’ll help your food waste become profitable, and your garden scraps make your homestead sustainable.
  4. Raised GardensBuilding some raised beds for smaller areas of easily reached, easily maintained growing space will help you cultivate your gardening skills. One hundred 4’x8’ beds could bring in a yearly harvest of anywhere between 3,200 and 6,400 pounds.
  5. Orchard & BeehivesLearning to grow, protect, and prune fruit trees will help your orchard thrive, giving you bountiful fruit harvests of between 37,000 and 75,000 pounds if you plant 150 trees. Your bees will love pollinating your fruit blossoms, and 50 beehives could then produce up to 4,000 pounds of honey, not to mention lots of beeswax.
  6. BarnThe process of building a barn will give you all the experience you need to build any other outbuildings on your property. Your homestead barn will give you a place to shelter your large farm equipment, gardening and construction tools, animal feed, and any other storage you might need.
  7. Pig PenIf you invest in 115 pigs for your homestead, you can expect a return of around 14,000 pounds of meat from all of them, as long as they all weigh approximately 250 pounds. This number will fluctuate depending on how many you choose to slaughter in a given year, and how many you keep for breeding purposes.
  8. Cow PenNine cows will take up close to 18 acres of your property, but learning to care for large livestock is an amazing experience. Each cow could either produce 2,000 gallons of milk in a year (after giving birth) or provide around 500 pounds of meat. For reference, if you breed five of your cows and butcher four, you’ll bring in around 10,000 gallons of dairy milk and 2,000 pounds of beef.
  9. Goat PenIf you build your goat herd up to 150, you’ll be able to bring in about 200 gallons of milk per lactating goat, which could add up to around 30,000 gallons.
  10. CropsFifty 10’x10’ ground-level gardens could provide between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds of produce and give you a tremendous amount of gardening experience that will help you make wiser planting decisions in the future.
  11. Chicken CoopThe learning curve for raising chickens will be fairly comfortable, as these birds are low maintenance. If you build your flock up to 200 good laying breeds, you could bring in over 4,500 cartons of eggs in a year.
  12. Duck PondDucks tend to lay more eggs than chickens, so 180 of them also have the potential to bring in around 4,500 cartons of eggs in a year.
barndominium floorplans and designs

Why 40 Acres Is The Perfect Size For Your Homestead

Why A 40 Acre Farm is The Perfect Size

Forty acres is the perfect size for a homestead where you can learn all about animals, cultivate gardens, and the right way to design your barn, pens, and sheds. This layout plan will allow you to create thriving vegetable gardens and happy flocks and herds. While you’re at it, you’ll learn how to compost effectively, how to handle and utilize raw milk, how to grow strong trees and berry bushes, and some natural methods for controlling pests and weeds.

how to start homesteading

Is 40 Acres Enough For A Farm?

Learning how to live sustainably is one of the most important life skills anyone can learn, and 40 acres of land is plenty of space to create a bountiful farm where you can grow your own food until you are fully self-sufficient. Working toward living completely off the literal fruits of your labor is something that can make you feel more confident, independent, and fulfilled than you ever have.

If you love nature and getting your hands in the earth, homesteading skills like cooking over an open fire, enriching your garden soil, felling a tree, and splitting firewood can draw out your inner sense of calm and self-assurance.

What Are The Dimensions Of 40 Acres?

As you begin laying out your homestead, you’ll have roughly 1,742,400 square feet of farmland to divvy up, and your dimensions will be somewhere around 929 by 1,856 feet. With this amazing amount of space, you can lean into your innate homesteading talents and interests while having ample room to explore more unfamiliar farming abilities like cheesemaking or collecting and using rain water.

simple greywater systems

How Do You Lay Out A 40 Acre Homestead?

How To Layout A Forty Acre Farm

A homestead layout for 40 acres doesn’t have to be a chore to arrange. Following a preset design can give you a nice head start, and you should keep in mind that the very process of staking out spots for your chickens, goats, gardens, and trees will help you picture the possibilities ahead. Once you have land markers in place, you’ll be mentally prepared to get started on your first project, whether that’s building your chicken coop or tilling soil for a garden.

Here’s What I’ve Done

  • A tiny home powered by 10 solar panels
  • A sunroom where I grow indoor herbs to spice up my recipes
  • Raised garden beds to maintain through the learning process
  • Multiple compost bins where I create fertilizer in multiple ways
  • A fence to mark property lines and separate livestock from predators
  • Apple and pear trees because they’re some of the easiest to grow
  • A shelf in my garage for natural weed and insect repellants I make
  • A chicken coop made from wood I had left over from other projects
  • A long driveway and lots of trees for privacy and shade
growing fruit trees on a homestead

How Big Should A Homestead Garden Be?

A 40 acre homestead layout incorporating all of the elements I’ve displayed in the diagram above will have room for a garden up to 8,500 square feet of raised bed and ground-level growing space. These garden plots will give you ample room for your leafy greens, alliums, melons, roots, marrows, cruciferous, and any other vegetables or fruits you’d like to try growing.

homestead garden basics

How Many Fruit Trees Should You Plant On 40 Acres?

The ability to grow an orchard of fruit trees is one of the best benefits of a roomy homestead layout for 40 acres, and I would aim for around 250 of them. You’ll be able to pick your favorite fruits to grow, and once your trees are producing, you can learn how to make delicious baked goods, fruit juices, and even canned or dehydrated fruits.

How Many Berry Bushes Should You Plant On 40 Acres?

If you’d like to grow berry bushes instead of fruit trees, you could plant upwards of 300 bushes. Alternatively, you could choose to grow some vining berries along your homestead fence or have a small grove in addition to your orchard. With berries, you could learn how to make delicious jams, jellies, wines, and even vinegars with your own homegrown fruit.

Fencing Your 40 Acres

Building a homestead fence is a great way to familiarize yourself with the best and sturdiest materials out there, which will inform all of your building decisions in the future. A fence for a homestead layout of 40 acres is going to take a lot of material, so you’ll get to exercise your skills in finding the best products for the lowest money.

building a homestead fence

What Animals Can You Have On A 40 Acre Hobby Farm?

Animals On a Forty Acre Homestead

Raising different types of animals is one of the greatest ways to cultivate new farming skills that can help you deal with life and humans as well as animals. With 40 acres, you’ll have room to raise plenty of chickens and ducks, a decent herd of goats and pigs, as many beehives as you can maintain, and a small number of cows.

raising chickens on a homestead

Start With Chickens

Raising chickens is a great place to start if you’re new to homesteading, as they’re easy to care for, inexpensive, and will start producing eggs right away, so you won’t have to wait long to see the benefits. Over time, you’ll get smarter about how you source, raise, and feed your flock, learning how to incubate eggs to hatch your own chicks, how to feed your chickens without buying feed, and how to use your chickens as pest control and garden helpers.

Getting Started With Chickens

raising ducks on a homestead

Try Raising Ducks For A Whole New Homesteading Experience

Ducks will give you the opportunity to acquire skills like digging a pond, caring for said pond, and knowing how to keep waterfowl happy and healthy. Their swimming pond will bring in all kinds of birds, turtles, and frogs that will liven up your land and give you a peaceful place to sit and just watch nature do what it does.

raising honeybees on a homestead

Beekeeping Benefits Your Whole Farm

From your fruit trees to your flowers and even some of your vegetables, bees will pollinate your homestead, and make delicious honey and useful beeswax to boot. Beekeeping is something of a skilled artform that not many people possess, and you’ll reap amazing benefits. You’ll learn how to bake and cook with honey, and you could even try your hand at making beeswax products to use, sell and gift.

raising goats on a homestead

Goats Make Homesteading More Fun

Raising goats has a learning curve, but a fun one, as they’re bounding with energy and playfulness. You’ll be able to use goat milk to learn the process of making soaps, lotions, and lip balms, as well as edible products like cheese, yogurt, and butter. These frisky little animals will also teach you a lot about breeding and birthing practices that will put you right in the middle of the incredible circle of life.

raising pigs on a homestead

Raising Pigs For Meat

In addition to learning how to butcher animals in a humane way that prioritizes food safety, raising pigs could also help you learn how to make things like bone broth and meat jerky. Farm-raised pork chops, bacon, and sausage will also fetch a good price if you’re looking to make your homestead profitable.

raising cows on a homestead

Why Cows Are Worth The Space

Cows are another benefit of a larger homestead, like this 40 acre design, because they take up too much room for smaller acreage layouts. Raising large livestock is a completely different experience than chickens or goats, but it’s well worth it when you start churning your own butter with your dairy milk or making your own yogurt.

winter on the homestead

Is 40 Acres Really Enough Space To Grow Your Own Food?

Is 40 Acres Enough To Grow Your Own Food

A homestead layout for 40 acres will give you enough space to grow your own food to the point of self-sufficiency if you want to go that far. With the different types of animals and plants you’ll have space for, your diet will be wonderfully varied and nutritious, and you’ll even be able to make a profit.

homestead garden basics

How Much Food Can You Grow On A 40 Acre Farm?

A 40 acre farm could produce over 130,000 pounds of food in a good growing year. That’s enough food for 65 people. It’s impossible to predict exactly what your acreage could produce in different years given growing conditions and weather factors, but here’s a brief rundown of what you could expect.

Estimated Harvest From A 40 Acre Homestead With This Layout

  • 12,500 pounds of vegetables
  • 4,500 cartons of chicken eggs
  • 4,500 cartons of duck eggs
  • 30,000 gallons of goat milk
  • 10,000 gallons of cow milk
  • 55,000 pounds of fruit
  • 4,000 pounds of honey
  • 16,000 pounds of meat
chicken eggs harvested on homestead

Is 40 Acres Of Land Enough To Be Self-Sufficient?

A 40 acre homestead is plenty of land to be self-sufficient by growing all of your food and selling enough to cover your costs and then some. You’ll do all this while learning skills that will stick with you for the rest of your life — skills like how to operate farm equipment, how to make water safe for drinking, and how to build a community of homesteaders and buyers.

Can 40 Acres Of Land Sustain One Person?

Forty acres of land is more than enough to sustain one person, and if the idea of full-time farming appeals to you, you might consider a shift to that lifestyle once your homestead is up, running, and proving to be profitable. Don’t underestimate the power of a job change to improve your quality of life.

fall gardening season

Is 40 Acres Of Land Enough To Feed A Family Of Four?

A family of four could eat year-round off of the food they grow themselves on a design like this 40 acre homestead layout. You could farm your land to capacity, or, if you only want enough for your family, you could choose to farm only 5 to 10 acres and still have plenty of food.

Can You Be Off Grid On A 40 Acre Homestead?

Can You Live Off Grid On A 40 Acre Homestead

Many homesteaders on large plots of land, like this 40 acre homestead design, choose to go off grid, disconnecting from city water and gas and using solar power instead of electricity. While this lifestyle can save money and lower your monthly bills in the long run, it can take more money upfront when you’re just starting out.

reasons to live off grid

Is 40 Acres Of Land Enough For An Off-Grid Homestead?

If you’re interested in living a fully self-sustained life, 40 acres of land is plenty of space for an off-grid homestead where you can learn the ins and outs of composting toilets, outdoor bathhouses and showers, solar power, solar generators, and wood or propane heating. You might start catching rainwater or using your own water purification systems and water heaters. Figuring out the logistics of all of these things can be a lot at once, but you can transition as slowly as you’d like.

how to build an off grid bathroom

How Many Solar Panels Needed To Power Your Homestead?

I chose to build a tiny home, because I like living minimally, and a small space is easier to sustain. I only needed 10 solar panels to power my homestead, but if your home is larger, just plan on 10 to 12 panels for every 1,000 square feet. Some people choose to go as far as learning how to make their own solar panels.

Is A 40 Acre Homestead Worth The Investment?

Is A 40 Acre Homestead Worth The Investment

Only you can answer this question for yourself, but if you love the outdoors and are excited about a lifestyle of gardening, raising livestock, and going through the ups and downs of a farming life, I’d say a 40 acre homestead is well worth the investment. You’ll feel the pride and accomplishment of building your own life surrounded by nature and the beauty of growing, changing, and adapting things.

homesteading on a budget

How Much Does It Cost To Start A 40 Acre Homestead?

A homestead layout for 40 acres is going to take a lot of materials and maintenance over the years, and everything costs money. That said, I really can’t even give you a ballpark number for how much your homestead will cost in your particular location. Instead, I’m providing a list of common homestead expenses to keep in mind.

Costs Involved In Building A 40 Acre Homestead

  • Land
  • Building materials
  • Possible hired help
  • Tools and equipment
  • Continued maintenance
  • Seeds, plants, bushes, and trees
  • Livestock
  • Animal feed and care
  • Lawn care maintenance and gear
large homestead farm with barn and shed

Can A 40 Acre Homestead Be Profitable?

A 40 acre spread has amazing potential to bring in a profit, which will give you the opportunity to improve your marketing skills and build your creativity in making homemade products to sell from your farm’s harvests.

Honestly, a 40 acre homestead layout is about as full of promise, possibilities, and benefits as any homestead could be. All you need to do is recognize the almost limitless options for your land and get started turning your vision into reality.

homesteading farmers market

Your Turn!

  • How has homesteading enriched your life?
  • In what ways would you say raising plants and animals has helped you grow personally?

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