building a homestead

For many years, the trend has always been to move out of the country and live the urban life in the big city. But nowadays, more and more people are doing the opposite. Many city-dwellers are exploring the option to pursue a life of self-sufficiency by building a homestead.

So, what is homestead? A homestead is typically an isolated dwelling such as a farmhouse, surrounded by land used for growing crops and keeping animals, as well as other outbuildings. The general idea of homesteading is to follow a self-sufficient lifestyle by relying on your own methods for survival and by generating and using the resources in your land. It is somewhat similar to how people lived in the old days without hypermarkets, shopping malls, and pizza delivery.

If you are building a homestead, there are many factors that you need to consider. One of these includes ensuring that your place is actually conducive to sustainable living.

In order to achieve this, here are some important aspects that you should keep in mind to make sure that your homestead is adopting sustainable methods.

  1.   The land should be suitable for your needs

When building a homestead, it can be tempting to just choose a beautiful plot of land and build from the ground up. How many times have you heard people say that they just fell in love with the area and decided that it was the place for them? While this may seem very romantic and ideal, the reality is, there’s more to building a homestead than the aesthetic appeal.

When choosing the land, you have to check whether it is actually suitable for the kind of lifestyle you envision. For example, if you’re planning to raise cows and chickens, is the land large enough to accommodate this? If your goal is to have fruit and vegetable gardens, is the soil appropriate for the types of crops you want to grow? It would also be useful to check with government agencies whether there are any building restrictions associated with the land you are planning to build on.  

2.   Consult with sustainable architecture experts to build your house

While many facets of homestead living involve a lot of DIY, building your main house and outbuildings should not be something you should experiment with. Contrary to common belief, consulting experts when building your house will actually save you more money in the long run and of course, it will result in a more comfortable place to live.

Your homestead should make use of sustainably designed architecture that will help you save energy, costs, and resources. Experts will be able to advise you on how to best achieve this by recommending the appropriate building materials and design to use. 

For example, having a house with large windows that allow natural light in will mean more savings on electricity as you don’t have to turn on so many lights during the daytime. Even better, carefully placed windows can help to heat your home naturally.

Hiring professionals will also guarantee that your buildings are sturdy enough to survive the weather conditions in your area. They will also recommend the ideal layout on where to position your house, your farm, etc. in order to maximise your property.

3.   Make use of renewable energy source

One advantage of living in a homestead is that you will have more space to apply renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy. This means that you can rely less on traditional electricity sources. 

Most homesteads, even small ones, will benefit from using solar energy to power their property.  While the initial investment required for installing solar panels may seem costly, you will experience the financial benefits in the long-term. Plus, aside from eventually saving on energy costs, using renewable energy also means reducing the carbon footprint of your home which provides you with a healthier environment in general.

4.   Utilise energy-efficient products and methods

The beauty of modern homestead living is that you can utilise new technology in order to live comfortably and at the same time, still sustainably. If you are not ready to make the jump to be totally off-the-grid and disconnect from all modern conveniences, you can opt to use energy efficient tech products when building your homestead. These innovations may even help you make your home more sustainable. 

There are many ways to adopt energy efficient ways of building your homestead. One example is using LED lights for all your lighting needs, which use significantly lesser amounts of electricity than older incandescent and CFL bulbs. LED lights might be a little more expensive to buy but they also last a very long time.

Another method is investing in a home automation system that can control your lighting, heating/cooling, security camera systems, and the internet. The advantage of an automation system is that you can program the electronics in your home so you can save on energy and of course, costs. If you have a big expanse of land and outbuildings in your property, having a centralised system will also save you a lot of time and effort instead of manually switching your devices on/off.

If you have a farm, learning how to plant seasonal crops is a great way to ensure that you’re maximising the land and the weather. You can also install rain barrels to gather rainwater that you can use later on. Also, consider planting low-maintenance plants in your garden that do not require too much water or fertilizer to grow.

Living a comfortable homestead life

The homestead lifestyle is about going back to the basics. After all, what can be more basic than growing your own food and raising farm animals yourself? However, it is also important that you and your family are housed in a comfortable dwelling space that is safe, secure, and nurturing. This is how you can achieve a truly sustainable lifestyle.

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