Planning for Your Land and Home’s Future
Planning is an area people often overlook and usually don’t set aside time to accomplish. It is, in my opinion, one of the most important time and resource saving processes you can do. There are 5 steps to plan for your dream land and home :
1) Establishing Goals
2) Identifying Your Assets and Liabilities
3) Applying Your Resources
4) Completing Your Plan
5) Executing Your Plan.
Now, let’s get started –
Step 1 – Establishing Your Land and Home Goals
The first item on our list should be a question – “What is the purpose of this piece of property?”
A good way to begin establishing your land planning is to start with a ‘brainstorming” session. Sit down and begin by writing a dream list of what your land would look like if there were no limitations on time or resources (such as money, equipment, etc…).
Once your brainstorming session is complete, begin to group your ideas in terms of desired outcomes (increase the whitetail holding capacity of my land, increase the white oak production of acorns on my land, catch more 5 lbs bass from my ponds, etc…) and specific tasks or projects you may have came up with (place 5 acres into food plots, have a ½ acre pond, create a quiet spot on the point for a bench under that white oak tree, etc…).
Step 2 – Identifying Your Assets and Liabilities
The best way to determine your assets and liabilities is to get outside and walk your piece of property.
Look at what strengths your property holds:
Does it have a creek running through it or another water source?
What type of trees and flowers or brush make up your understory?
How does the land lay in relation to the summer sun?
How do you access the piece of property?
Are the roads established or merely deer trails?
Are there already areas I can use to create “X” from my goals which make it easier?
What are the predominant seasonal wind patterns?
What will be my challenges on this piece of land?
If you wish to have a nice place to lay in a hammock in the shade and read on a warm spring day while overlooking a field of wildflowers, do you have an area that meets the criteria? If not, then you must do a lot of work to get to that goal, but now you know what you are up against.
Once you have walked the property and taken note of terrain, flora and fauna, special features and access, you can continue to build your planning map.
Here is a hand drafted map created for our property with planned areas for whitetail bedding and timber stand improvement, as well as future road for access, food plots and clear cuts for wildlife and our future home site.
Step 3 – Applying Your Resources to Home and Land Planning
Now that you have determined your goals and you understand your property’s characteristics, you can begin to apply your resources and establish your timelines for achieving your objectives. Time and money are major resources you will need to consider as you lay out your plan. For example, if you have some free time and the requisite skill set, you may be able to clear cut the trees and brush off an acre or two in a week. If you are still working a full-time job, it may take you 6 months. Availability of equipment and help are also determining factors when it comes to your progress.
Step 4 – Completing Your Plan for Your Dream Land and Home
You now have the information necessary to create your road map. There are numerous options for documenting your road map. The one we have chosen for our land is a simple map with a desired end state and we are taken a time phased approach to project completion. We simply determine what area or tasks we want to take on first and set a priority of work for those tasks. Using the photo of our property map and one of our goals – improving our property’s whitetail holding capacity, below is the area of our property we started on.
The area in the photo shows our plan to thicken the area and create wildlife cover for bedding and feeding as well as adding a small food plot or two. The tasks required for this goal is select cut trees for timber sale, re-do the 4-wheeler access trails, hinge cut trees for whitetail bedding areas and open- up the canopy allowing the sun to reach the forest floor. Additionally, due to the proximity to our current home and buildings we plan to remove dangerous trees (trees leaning toward the home or garage). See the example of the priority of work for this area.
Step 5 – Executing Your Land and Home Plan
Now that you have spent some time establishing your land and home plan it is time to get to work. Don’t feel you are failing or straying from the plan. It is used to guide you to your desired end state and I recommend you re-evaluate your plan on an annual or periodic basis. Life and other priorities will change your timeline and plans so don’t be concerned if you must adjust them. You may accomplish some goals quickly and there may be some you never achieve; however, if you don’t take time to create a plan and use it then the old analogy of “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” applies.
We would love to see your plan when you get it going! Send us a picture, post it here as a comment, or on our Facebook page!