Yards Slim Down as House Size Grows

As the footprints of the average suburban home grows and lot sizes shrink, the traditional sprawling yard is getting squeezed out.

1 minute read

October 19, 2017, 9:00 AM PDT

By jwilliams @jwillia22


Back Yard

Iriana Shiyan / Shutterstock

Felipe Chacon of Trulia finds that the sprawling, grassy backyard that we once knew may be a thing of the past. Writing in Trulia's Blog, Chacon reports that since 1975, homes have grown to occupy more of their lot area—from 13.9% in 1975 to 25% in 2015. This isn't just a matter of homes growing in size, however, as it's coupled with a reduction in the typical lot size.

For homes built since the start of 2015, the estimated footprint is 2,113 square feet (down from an all-time high of 2,125 in 2014) while the lot they are built on has shrunk to 8,940 square feet, or 0.2 acres, bringing lot usage up to a near-record high of 25%.

Trulia's analysis finds that the most lot usage for single family homes is occurring in San Francisco and Philadelphia, while the least amount of lot usage is occurring in three New England towns (Worcester, Massachusetts, Hartford, Connecticut, and Bridgeport, Connecticut).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 in Trulia

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.