When we measure land, we use acres as a measurement, and while this gives you a good idea of how large a piece of land is, it’s not always easy to visualize in our minds what this looks like.
Even though we can find out that one acre is 43,560 square feet, it doesn’t have to be a complete square and can take any form, so now you may be even more confused, but don’t worry, we share this frustration.
Below, we have provided a guide to give you a good visualization of what an acre looks like compared to other examples, so you can begin to get a good idea of how big this area is.
First, Why Do We Measure Land In Acres?
Part of this comes from the view that it’s easier to measure a land of a property using this unit rather than square miles, as if we use a quarter of an acre, it’s easier to visualize than the square mile equivalent would be 0.000391 square miles.
Even though the US uses this system alongside countries such as the UK, an acre isn’t the same worldwide, as Scottish and Irish acres are bigger than those in the US, as a Scottish view of an acre is equivalent to 1.27 standard acres.
However, compared to the middle ages, we can define it better rather than the ambiguous one of being an amount of land plowable in one day by one man and an ox, and the modern explanation as being one furlong long by four rods wide is more specific.
What Does One Acre Look Like?
Instead of pointing to an area in a vast open space, we can better visualize one acre by looking at a homestead layout to determine what can fit in the area. This is what 1 acre seems like from a top-down perspective:
As we have said, this section of land can be measured in any two-dimensional shape. If you’re still struggling to visualize it, you can imagine 18 average-sized houses measuring 2,400 square feet fitting nicely in 1 acre of land.
Or, to get an idea of how long this is, you could make a line of 1,584 potatoes from one end to the other, and if you were to walk across this acre, if you are walking around 3-4 miles per hour, it can take you as little as 35 seconds to cover the area.
Perhaps you don’t like acres and prefer feet, and if so, an acre of square-shaped land would measure 208 feet long by 208 feet wide, so you might think this isn’t a huge amount of space when looking at it in this way.
However, a piece of land this size is ample for a single-family home. It gives you a decent amount of yard space without spilling over to an adjoining bit of land, but if you’re looking to raise livestock or are more ambitious, you may want something that is 2 acres and up.
As good as these comparisons can be, we might be thinking small term, and let’s say you are a regular to football or baseball games, and if so, you might have a good idea of how an acre would fit into these fields.
Here is what an acre looks like compared to a football field:
Note that the green area is an acre, making up 75% of the football field if you take away the end zones and the last 10 yards.
If you’re still struggling to visualize it, here is what an acre looks like on a baseball field:
You can see here that it takes up a good amount of the second base and pitching mound, and one acre equates to 0.43 baseball fields, so not quite half.
Why Is Measuring Acres Important?
Purchasing an acre of land might be the furthest thing from your mind, but it does help in cases where a buyer should know how acres work and how they determine price so they can bargain with sellers for a fair price.
If you were to use an acre for something like a parking lot, for example, you can find out that 1 acre can hold somewhere around 242 parking spaces, but this doesn’t account for turning lanes and having an adequate spacing between each parking spot.
It also helps if the government ever needs to sell off any surplus land that is viewed as uneconomic to manage. This information is useful when they make the sale notice to identify the potential of that piece of land.
What Can I Do With An Acre Of Land?
When you see an acre of land, it might be tempting to think small in terms of what is possible for the amount of space you have, and for some ambitions, you might have to get creative in how you design your purpose for the land.
Below are a few uses you can get from your land, as you may be surprised by how much you can get from the land, from settling down to self-sufficiency.
The most common use for a plot of land, but you might be surprised to know that you could easily build a house for a family of four that measures around 2,400 square feet which leaves you 41,160 square feet.
Of course, your planning is made easier if you have a perfect square or rectangular piece of land to work with, and it’s not uncommon to find pieces of land that may be tucked away between other owned land that might be hard to define.
Let’s say you have built your required amenities and still have too much for you to manage, which can be the case if your land isn’t quite suitable for farming purposes, and considering what you could grow in this area, it might be worth looking into.
For example, depending on the conditions of your land, you could grow anywhere between 300- 800 trees per acre, and considering you can plant four plants per square foot, you have plenty of options and the chance to make it a community garden if you so wish.
The Bottom Line
With all of this taken into consideration, an acre of land is still a pretty big area if you were to ask most people to visualize, so if you’re looking at purchasing land, it may be best to visit the area and take a walk of the land for those times where you need measurements to be precise.
However, the pricing of an acre differs from each state, so you could be paying anywhere between a few thousand to hundreds of thousands, so it is a good idea to do your research and have a good idea of what you intend to do with your newly acquired land.