If you’re considering a move to a more rural area, or if you’re a city person and you simply want to get a feel for how big an acre is, it can help to visualize an acre in terms of city blocks.
This also works if you’re someone who can visualize an acre but isn’t sure how to compare that to a city block.
How big is a city block?
City blocks vary in size, particularly when it comes to older cities, as many of the streets and housing areas were laid out before surveying and planning became standardized.
Therefore, a city block can be anywhere from 260 to 330 feet wide and between 660 and 900 feet long. For example, a city block in Manhattan is 264 feet by 900 feet. This gives a total size of between 171,600 and 297,000 square feet.
Most city blocks, however, are between 217,000 and 237,000 square feet.
How big is an acre?
An acre is 43,560 square feet. You can visualize an acre by picturing a football field. A football field is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, for a total of 57,600 square feet. This is just slightly larger than an acre.
You can also picture a house with an average-sized yard. In the U.S., an average yard size, plus the house, is about 12,632 square feet, so you will need to picture between three and four houses and their yards, lined up next to each other, to imagine a single acre.
How many acres are there in a city block?
If we know how big an acre is and what a typical city block size is, we can easily figure out how many acres are in a block by dividing the size of the block by the size of an acre. For example, if it’s a small block, just under 4 acres will fit in it. If it’s an average block, it will hold between 5 and 5.4 acres. If it’s a large block, it will hold almost 7 acres.
Although city blocks can be a number of sizes, and they can hold between about 4 and 7 acres, most people base estimates off of the idea that a block holds about 4 acres.
This is because engineers often use a much smaller number, of about 100,000 square feet, to estimate the size of a city block.
It’s good to keep this in mind so that, if you hear someone describing a rural piece of land as about as big as a city block, you know it’s probably around 4 acres in size.
How many acres do I need?
How many acres you should purchase, either with a house included or to build a house on, depends on what size house you want and what you intend to do with the land.
If you’re looking for a typical suburban experience with a yard or garden that requires only minimal or a medium amount of upkeep, a single acre or less is often the best choice.
Even if you want to have a garden where you grow your own food, or perhaps an area for a chicken coop, an acre is plenty of space.
If you want to add in recreational areas, such as a soccer or baseball field, you’ll most likely want at least 2 to 3 acres.
If you want to have a large garden or add in outbuildings or an orchard, you’ll probably want to expand to between 5 and 10 acres.
An orchard alone can take up to 5 acres, depending, of course, on how many trees you have.