Creating a Property "Plan"

Property Planning is useful for any size property—not just commercial farms.  A plan for your property can help you achieve your lifestyle goals, while also maintaining environmental values.  A plan helps identify and rationalise the work required and costs to develop and maintain your property.  Remember, with proper planning you will often only need to do things once!

Property planning involves assessing all your resources, both natural and built, as well as planning the enterprises or activities you would like to undertake on your land.  It is a plan to use the land according to its capacity and to ensure you don’t deplete its natural resources.  In fact, good planning will protect and improve these resources.

A property plan also helps you to identify problem areas and risks to your enterprises, such as waterlogged soils, vegetation decline or the risk of flooding.

A number of agencies conduct property planning courses and many resources are available for assessing and managing a rural property.

Identifying Property Features and Land Units

The first step in property planning is to identify property features and land management units.  Property features include farm buildings, yards, watering points, roads and fences. Land management units are identified mainly by soil type, slope, aspect, vegetation and water resources.

Mapping Your Property

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Drawing all these features on a map is a useful way of showing where everything is and how they interact.  Topographic maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery can help identify features such as dams, drainage lines, vegetation types, and problem areas such as erosion.  Aerial photos and satellite imagery is available from the NSW Department of Lands, from your local Catchment Management Authority or from the internet.  All vary in cost, quality and usefulness, depending on how you want to use them or how large your property is.  You should try to get the most current image available.  You can map your property and complete your plan either digitally or as a hard copy with plastic overlays for different features.  However, you don’t need to use these sorts of resources, a sketch of your property drawn to scale would also allow you to map your property plan.

All other Sections of “A Guide to Rural Residential Living” provide an overview of the conservation and land management issues relevant to property planning
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Tocal Agricultural College
Local Council
NSW Land and Property Management Authority
Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority

Developing Goals and Objectives and Prioritising Future Actions

Having mapped your property features and land management units, you can begin to examine the strengths and limitations of your current property design and practices.  For example, you can start with broad questions such as ‘what do I want the property to look like?’ and ‘what activities is it best suited to (eg. growing your own fruit and vegetables)?’, and ‘am I interested in those activities (eg. gardening or bee keeping)?’ Other questions follow: Are you able to access enough water during dry periods?  Can you manage the waste generated on your property?  Should remnant vegetation be protected from stock? Is there suitable wildlife habitat?  Asking questions such as these helps you set goals and objectives for your property.  Action plans can then be developed for specific projects such as fencing a creekline, and will include details such as how and when it will be completed and who will do the work.

Property planning is a dynamic process.  You should be regularly checking your plan to evaluate progress and to work out if you need to make changes.  As you work with your land you will gain new insights, and there will be many different ways to tackle problems.

How Your Property Plan Can Work For You!

A good property plan will help you identify the best way to design and manage your property. It will also help protect the natural resources of the land. Remember, it will be a very personal aid to property management: your vision, your goals, your ideas. No outside agency can complete a plan for you. Here are some ideas you may consider:

  • position your compost bin near the chicken run or stables to localise odours
  • protect your home and buildings with a firebreak zone to minimise fire risk
  • plant shelterbelts of trees for privacy, wildlife habitat, shade and dust suppression
  • fence dams, creek lines and riparian areas to protect water quality and prevent erosion from stock access
  • locate roads and driveways to minimise disturbance to neighbours and allow all-weather access
  • plan and fence grazing areas according to the soil type and productive capability of the land
  • position your home, shed and other buildings to utilise aspect (including wind, sunshine and views)
  • locate waste water systems away from drainage lines and poorly drained areas


Copyright 2011 HCCREMS