Vote below and tell us why in the comment section.
I think it depends on our age and stage of life. I am in my seventies. My house is bigger than my yard, being on an inner city block of land that has been divided to build two houses. Yet I still have 16 trees in my garden, bordering fences to make a green haven. I fortunately still have sunshine, a patch of lawn to help cool down temperatures on hot days, and raised vegetable garden. I can manage the lawn cutting myself, and trim the trees at present. A birdbath provides water for the birds that shelter and nest in the trees and bring me much pleasure. I do miss flowers, but have managed borders and under tree plantings of white agapanthus and society garlic. I have potted lemon and lime trees in my courtyard. I also have two rectangular planters here with Arabian Jasmine which is trained on trellis in front of the fence, and plant annuals in these too for a splash of colour. The courtyard also has pots of clivea and frilly sword ferns.
Space for kids to play outside. And when inside like the space to look onto with a big tree and not have a house 3 meters away blocking longer sight lines and sunshine
I voted "Small house with a big backyard" but the house needs to be large enough with adequate storage and a proper laundry room not a laundry in a cupboard or at the back of the garage.
I'd probably want a bigger garden than some people do, but when a block is so small that bedrooms have to have high slit windows instead of full size windows for privacy from the neighbours, in my opinion that's too small. It's one thing to not be interested in spending time on garden maintenance if that's not your passion. It's another thing to have so little space around a free-standing home that the liveability of the interior is compromised.
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POLL: What is the most iconic feature of an Australian backyard?
Would not even consider living in a big house on a small block, I like space between me and the neighbours. Currently living in a small house on a big block as that's what we could afford in our chosen area.
Is there an in between solution? Think about just how much time you would realistically use the outdoor area- is it just for lawn and 'run and jump area' or for decking and entertaining- that inside-outside feel? More lawn = mowing and cost, therefore without making it look like a squashed up cattle-crush, perhaps a good marriage of outdoor deck and seating or a big gathering table and bbq, with a small fake-lush-turf space for a low maintenance kids kick the ball area could be the way to go yes>?
Definately I big block for me - I love gardening and value my privacy and seeing fences just meters away makes me feel claustrophobic. Nothing worse than entertaining in a tiny yard and neighbours so close they can hear every word! With blocks being subdivided into an almost unlivable tiny size now a bigger block will also be a better investment longterm - especially if there is subdivision potential in the future.
In most cities we do no have the luxury of having a large yard. For most of us this question is quite academic.
Depends on the climate
I lived in a smallish house with big backyard.then we built and we have a biggish house with smaller backyard.Happier now than then.
As long as I can sit under the shade of a tree...... I would prefer to be gardening than cleaning! Proportion is important too. Mass of rooms with fences at the end of your nose is ucky, Maybe with little people it not best to have a paddock in which to loose them!!
My home is biggish with small back yard, it is difficult to make things work.Hedges are your best friend, as high as possible. Love a bit of everything grass,fruit trees, veggie patch and dog.Does my head in trying to make it flow and fit.We r so lucky some people can’t have any dirt.
Compared to many of the homes I saw in various African countries, the houses we have in Australia are palatial - even the smaller ones. My house is (probably unfashionably) small with a large backyard and sometimes I wish I had a bigger house (even though I don’t really need it). Then I remember, how much I have comparatively and am grateful for what I do have.
Definitely small house on a large block. House must be well oriented and designed but always need a garden so can lose myself in that or bring the outside in.
A well designed small house (with adequate storage) with a reasonable sized backyard. Not huge, just enough that the there's a sense of privacy, not that the neighbours are pressed up against you.
Certainly not a large McMansion, on a tiny block, closely surrounded by other equally uninspiring McMansions. Yuck!
I end up spending more time outside in the garden than inside the house. I find it more relaxing.
Agree with ddarroch - hate all these McMansions popping up and ruining our suburbs! Tasteless and taking down all our healthy green spaces :(
Small with a big block is lovely.
A house that's neither big nor small
A block that fits it, where one can kick a ball
Established trees and blossoms and an open sky
Privacy from neighbouring fence lines.
I voted for neither. I would steer more to the smaller house on a larger block. I wonder if people's views are changing presently because of COVID-19 and those who were quite happy in larger houses on smaller blocks would see the value of more land surrounding them, or they are just as happy as always enjoying the large living space. And people in apartments may feel differently at present to how they normally would?
I lived in an apartment block in the city which was on a reasonable sized block with a green area across the road, and within walking distance were the Rivercat service, lake and parklands. I was very content with this. I had a very small balcony I could fit a cafe table on, and I walked everywhere each day. My living space was small. But I was out in the air, feeling as though the whole city was my back yard. There were houses and apartments all mixed into the streetscape.
But when I moved to a small house on a big block in the mountains, backing onto bush, what was very noticeable was the great open sky, and space between the houses, and feeling of being with nature. The stars can be seen brightly at night. The wildlife is amazing here. I love the smaller birds visiting such as the blue wrens and the little yellow robins.
It does depend upon what stage of life you are in, and also what you have grown up with, and has become a feeling of "home" for you.
Personally, I see the need for balance- half way. Medium sized house on a medium sized block in the suburbs. I could never feel right in a massive house on a small block though. And yet a small boutique apartment building in the city was fine for me.
I wouldn't like to be the only house on a large block. I like to be in the suburbs where there are other people around, and life is happening around me. But also to have privacy in my own yard without a neighbouring house or apartment towering over me.
Such a big question. For us we were living in an apartment. Water views, close to everything....then I fell pregnant. So off to the suburbs. But it was location first for us. We wanted to be in a desirable suburb which meant we had to sacrifice a perfect scenario. We have a 220 Sqm house on a 800sqm block but our backyard is more like a large courtyard size. We have a 1 and 2 year old and to be honest it’s perfect. We don’t have time to maintain the gardens. Instead we can spend our weeks ends in local parks and playgrounds. We dont need to own that space. Spend a lot more time indoors and opted for functional spacious design. Is there a right answer here 🤷🏽♀️
I've lived in units and attached housing my entire life. I ended up buying a small house 100sqm on a small yard, 450sqm which ends up being a big yard anyway because the house does not swallow it. Private outdoor space to me is as important as the interior space. Living in a house with no yard is no different to living in a unit. Because I've only ever lived in units a small house feels enormous to me anyway with a moderate sized yard and my very own shed. Its all I could reasonably want.
I had looked at other homes on 800sqm and even up to 3acre lots. But the house that felt right for me, ended up being on the smallest lot. Yet the overall package felt very homely and spacious.
I've also gardened on a large block and 800sqm can swallow thousands of dollars in plants without putting dent in the landscaping. I remembered that. I really wanted a block that I could landscape beautifully from boundary to boundary. An 800sqm block feels too large to do that within a reasonable time frame and the upkeep of gardening that much would be a time sink.
Living is about enjoyment, not just endless work.
A bigger section pushes the neighbours further away and gives you lots of lovely garden space to landscape or potter in. Perfect.
A well planned smaller house will work well and cater to all needs even though smaller. Running and cleaning a small house is much easier.
gardening is much more fun than cleaning
I voted small house, big yard, but it’s more a matter of proportions, relativity, stage of life and lifestyle / needs than a black & white question.
We (I and 2 young adult children) are currently in a 180-ish sqm 1 level home set in a 730-ish block where the backyard is a little larger than the front yard. I love this and the opportunity to (learn to!) garden and bounty of fresh flowers that change with the season. Planting fruit trees is next on the agenda.
However, when we (children were teens then) were living in the inner city in a 3-level terrace with roughly the same sqm of living space on a 135 sqm plot (doesn’t deserve the word block), we were just as happy. The small courtyards held pot plants and barely needed any work. The city parks were our backyards and public transport was fast and convenient.
The difference in the 2 scenarios is that I am now retired and have more time on my hands to enjoy the outdoors, and the children now drive themselves everywhere.
It depends a bit on the climate but because I live in the tropics its all about being as open and accessible to the outdoors as possible. We have a small elevated house with lots of louvres in every room and a large veranda that overhangs a tropic garden. Undercover parking plus room for a pool, a dog and kids. A little bit of paradise.
I vote a 2 storey split level home that gives you both a a large home with a small land foot print and a large yard.
I have a relatively small but very well designed house of 160M2 on a block of 1000M2. We get lots of northern light in all the right places. Garden views and connection from every room and plenty of borrowed views. Outdoors we have space for produce gardens, fruit trees, outdoor patio and BBQ area, a fire pit, play space and a native garden. We also have a large, private courtyard off the master bedroom and a small one off the en-suite bathroom. And utility spaces to the south (washing line, hot water, outdoor compressors for air con, garden sheds etc). Internally we have 3 bedrooms, a study and open plan kitchen/dining/kitchen plus small activity area for the kids. None of the rooms, other than the activity area are poky. Because it is well designed there is no wasted space, and it flows really well, accomodating two adults and 2 teens while providing a good balance between connection and privacy. Ample ceiling heights, 2.4m high windows and sight lines that connect with the outdoors means it feels spacious despite its relatively compact size. It’s such a joy to live in this house. It feels like the goldilocks house. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
Hi Sara, YOUR home sounds fantastic! OHH could we please build more like this. Not too big so that we have to be at work paying for it always and not home enjoying it. Not too small to be pokey. Best of all passive solar so it is inexpensive to maintain, run not draining back pocket or earth's resources. Also wonderfully comfortable for everybody. More please......Margot
Kitchen and Home, it’s so cosy. We haven’t had the heating on since 9:30 last night. It got down to 4 degrees overnight, it’s currently 10 degrees outside but probably low 20s inside because we’ve got sun streaming in and we’re double glazed and we’ll insulated. Our energy use has dropped dramatically since we moved here, and this place is 25% bigger than our old place. Solar passive or passive Haus is the way to go.
Sara, Yours is a wonderful story and one that I do wish so many more people would know about, listen to and copy. THESE are the type of houses I am passionate about helping people build and enjoy for years. Especially first home buyers who do not need a massive Mc Mansion nor the mortgag for it. How can I get really busy designing for these folks in greatest need? Where can you spread you story of experience to educate families? I wish you well and keep on enjoying!! PS yes if it is too big it is a mortgag!!!! Cheers Margot
Hir Sara, Over night I realised I have a profile for your home's story: I have written a few blogs which are on my www.kitchenandhomeconcepts.com.au. We could note the highlights, add a few pictures if you are happy to supply them and pop your home up as one of my blogs? Could that work? If it is a pest for you, don't worry but I do love to have real life examples of how great Passive Solar Design homes are. If you would like to ring me 0419 348 546 we can have a chat? i would love this to work....Cheers Margot
I have had both, But I voted for larger house because there easier to clean due to not having as much clutter and more storage. I live on an acre with a large house with trees and gardens and spend more time indoors than out, The large spaces makes for easy maintenance a quick run around on the mower and it's all done I do have a large deck which I use regularly, it is enough space for dining, and lounge are, Iook put over the D'Anguliar state forest
The worst scenario for me, which you see all the time with original houses where they have subdivided the back yard, is a good size house with a tiny backyard that is located in an unattractive spot like outside the toilet and bathroom windows. I hate this subdivision disease infecting our suburbs.
I am surprised by the result of this poll, seeing that every new houses I see pretty occupy as much of the land as possible, without a sliver of space for a tree :(
I currently live in a smallish house on a large block. Being a shift worker and having many trees. I am planning for my next block to be small, 350sqm. I think that it will be nice to have a smaller garden and spend my weekends doing what I want rather than chasing the lawn, gutters, ETC.