Hi my name is Andreia

May 27, 2014
I sold my condo and I am looking to buy a small house on a small lot but big enough for a small garden and a few animals.

If you would have to do it all again, and knew than what you know now, how would you do it?
Any advice is more than welcomed.I will keep you up to date with the process with pictures and videos.
Just keep in mind I am fairly handy with all kinds of tools but I have some limitations
as I am going on this journey on my own.
It have a suspicion that is going to be tough but very rewarding and I am up to it.
Thank you all in advance .



Staff member
May 27, 2012
Bellmere, QLD
Hi Andreia, and welcome to SSC :)

Others will have their own views and answers to your questions - I'm sure you'll welcome all input - but I can only give my POV through my own experience.

If you would have to do it all again, and knew than what you know now, how would you do it?
Personally, I/we got it right... We started growing fruit trees and vegetables on a small suburban block in Victoria (Australia) about 15 years ago and found out just how easy it was to produce food in the backyard. This experience gave us the motivation to work towards a larger property so we could grow more and also keep poultry and now we progressed to a 3 acre place with the view to possibly upsize one day to a larger hobby farm (but in reality this may never happen). I guess my point is, it's best to start out smaller and get bigger as your skills, experience, and enthusiasm for producing food and animals grows. Keeping in mind, family, social, health, and a range of other circumstances have to "fit" with your self-sufficient lifestyle so that it is an enjoyable path and not a rocky road.

You can't make self-sufficiency too hard for yourself and in most cases it doesn't need to be a "hard" lifestyle where you do without - in fact, I think self-sufficiency should mean you do with more... We don't live in the days of early settlers now and although I do understand and appreciate the want for some people to move back to a simple life, I personally like a lot about modern living; for example, I wouldn't give up my front loader washing machine for hand washing my clothes!

My biggest advice to someone wanting to move from the city to a small or large acreage is to ensure they don't overextend and move to a property they can't physically maintain. There are plenty of people who turn a small inner city backyard into a thriving self-sufficient food garden which can supply most of the fruit and vegetables they require and save a ton of money plus give major health benefits. Also, most small backyards are suitable for a few chickens.

For those of us who want more then a small vegetable garden, several fruit trees, and just a few chickens; or who would like to keep some larger domestic livestock, then getting into acreage is the only way. You can keep a few larger animals and lots of poultry on a small acreage (between 1 and 5 acres). Establishing a small acreage from scratch is physically demanding but I found it to be very rewarding and I liked the exercise. These days our three acre property does have its days of hard work but it's mostly maintenance and not nearly as demanding as the first few years.

Once our land was cleared (mostly by hand) and vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and poultry pens were established, I rarely spend a full day in the garden or tending to my animals. I guess I could spend more time but I also have a family to organise and run which doesn't always involve self-sufficiency although self-sufficiency has helped and improved our lifestyle tremendously! Everyone's circumstances are different.

Going back to the beginning of my post, you may find moving to a small suburban or outer suburban block more than enough to achieve what you want for your self-sufficient goals. Thinks about these points:
  • Small home - If you are on your own, then a small house will always use less energy than a large.
  • Energy/water - Install a solar system if possible. Find a place which has plenty of sunlight (not shaded). Buy energy and water saving appliances. Try to recycle grey water and get the most value from water especially if you pay for it. Install a large water tank if possible to use for food plants irrigation.
  • Growing space - Ensure the land around the house has maximum growing potential. Is a good size and gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Think about removing ornamental plants and replacing them with food.
  • Location/animals - Before buying ensure the area you are moving to does not have bans on keeping certain animals you wish to keep. The yard should allow for an area where animals (like chickens) can be kept away from the house.
  • Community - If possible move into a pro self-sufficient community where properties around can be seen growing their own produce etc as there are many advantages such as acceptance, food swapping between neighbours, and advice/help if needed.
That's about all I can think of for now - happy to answer any questions you may have here or anywhere else on our forum as I'm sure our other members are also. Good luck with your research and in finding your self-sufficient property and please keep us informed of your journey! :)
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