If you’re thinking about moving into a new home, figuring out what size backyard you want can be a big decision. Knowing how large an average backyard is and how much space common backyard objects take up can help you make a more informed choice.
How big is the average backyard?
The average size of a backyard varies from place to place, and it also depends on whether your home is located in the city, in the suburbs, or in a rural area. Houses in rural areas will, of course, have much larger backyards.
However, in general, the average backyard in the United States is about 6,000 square feet.
Homes in California and Nevada usually have the smallest backyards in the U.S., with yard sizes around 1,650 square feet. Homes in Vermont have the largest backyards, with yards averaging about 74,000 square feet, which is only a little bit less than 2 acres.
What are the pros and cons of a large backyard?
Many people want a large backyard because it offers more room for whatever you want to do. If you have kids or enjoy throwing get-togethers, a big backyard can be a benefit. Large backyards are also a good choice if you have a dog. Opting for a larger backyard is also a good idea if you want to install a pool, patio, or deck, or if you want to have room for any backyard sports.
Backyards are also excellent spots for flower or vegetable gardens, greenhouses, water features, fireplaces or fire pits, grills, pergolas, or gazebos. The bigger the backyard, the more options you’ll have for creating whatever environment you like.
However, a large backyard comes with an equal amount of maintenance. If you have a lawn, it will most likely need to be mowed once a week. Any hedges or plants will need to be maintained and periodically trimmed, and you may need to trim or even remove trees from time to time.
A bigger backyard is more time-consuming to rake in the fall months if you’re in an area where the leaves fall. If you opt for extra backyard features, such as a pool or garden, these also require more upkeep.
If you’re planning to buy or build a house but you’re not sure how big the backyard should be, consider everything you want to do with it. Add the estimated size of everything together to get a rough idea of how much space you’ll need. Then, consider if this is a backyard size that you can maintain without struggle.
It’s often a good idea to consider a size range that you find manageable but that will encompass most of the things you want your backyard to do. From there, you can search for a home or lot with a backyard within that size range.
How big should my backyard be if I have a pet?
One of the most common reasons people prefer a big backyard is that their dog can run freely, as long as the yard is fenced off. Dogs often get the exercise they need from frequent walks or playing in the park, so a backyard isn’t always necessary.
However, having a safe, enclosed backyard can allow your dog to get rid of excess energy, explore, and keep itself entertained, all of which can lead to better behavior overall.
How big a yard needs to be for a dog depends on the breed and age of the dog and how much energy it has. A smaller or less energetic dog might only require a small backyard, while a dog with more energy might benefit from more room to run. In general, a backyard that’s around 2,500 square feet is often enough for most dogs.
Chickens are another outdoor pet to consider if you’re thinking about the size of your backyard. Many people opt for a bigger backyard so they can keep chickens for a steady supply of eggs. This is an economical idea, and most chicken coops don’t take up too much room.
However, if you want to allow your chickens out of the coop to wander the yard, you’ll want to provide at least 10 square feet of space per chicken. More space is often even better. Chickens that are allowed to roam can help in eliminating garden pests, and the chicken themselves are often happier and healthier.
How much space do I need for a pool?
Pools come in various sizes, and you can select a pool size and shape that works for your yard, so even a small yard can often fit a pool. However, if you want to use the pool for a specific purpose, such as exercising or entertaining, you might want to opt for a larger pool and, therefore, a larger backyard.
The average pool size in the United States is about 450 square feet. This doesn’t include the deck around the pool or any area for pool supplies. A pool of this size is great for solo swimming, family parties, or simply as a family pool. However, if you want a lap pool, you’ll probably want to aim for something closer to 650 square feet.
How much space does a deck take up?
Much like a pool, how large a deck or patio should be depends on what you want to use it for. Decks and patios are generally proportionate to the house, so considering the size of the back of your house can give you a good starting point.
Another good rule of thumb to consider is that, in general, you should plan to have a deck that offers 25 square feet of space per person. You’ll also need to add space for anything you want to put on the deck, such as a grill or hot tub.
Therefore, if you plan to throw a lot of backyard barbecues or parties, you might want to opt for a larger deck or patio, and you’ll need a larger backyard to accommodate that.