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How Big Is 3 Acres?

Wondering what the perfect size lot is for building a new home? Check out our article on how big is 3 acres of land. We go over visual comparisons and examples.

Large, open, grassy field, blue sky, big green trees

Land is becoming more scarce as we develop housing plans, shopping malls, and paved parking lots worldwide. For those that want to get away from it all, 3 acres is more than enough land to escape urban life, build a tiny home, and “get off the grid,” so to speak. Although 3 acres of land won’t be enough to make a farm, it is nearly three times larger than the average American home, giving you and your family plenty of room to spread out.

A single acre of land is 43,560 square feet in total area, and generally, an acre is calculated as a long and narrow unit of measurement. In the United States, a square acre is used as the standard unit of measure to determine overall land size for purchases and the United States census.

In total, 3 acres of land measures 130,680 square feet, or 4,046 square meters. Three acres of land is more than enough to build a single-family home with a large surrounding yard.

The acre is used to purchase land surveys and future building projects. About one acre of land is required for a single-family home containing 2,000 square footage for total area. To determine how big an acre is, the total square footage is the same as an NFL field.

It can be difficult to visualize how big 3 acres are, especially once houses and structures dot the landscape. Figuring out the size of a piece of land is easy if you use some mental cues to understand an acre compared to a known size. Once you know how much land is in 3 acres, you can start making good use of your new piece of property.

But How Big Is 3 Acres, Really?

Bright green football field

3 acres is the same as three NFL football fields.

Historically, an acre was measured by units we no longer use today. One acre was broken down into smaller chain and furlong measurements. One “chain” by one “furlong” was used to mark off a single strip of land. The shape was long and rectangular, and this same shape remains today. A chain shape was 66 feet, and a furlong was measured as 660 feet. One acre then consisted of 10 square “chains” to the dimensions of one acre. It was often believed that a single square chain was the amount of land that a single person using oxen could plow in one day in the Middle Ages.

How big is 3 acres? How big is 3 acres visually can be very difficult to determine with the naked eye. One of the best ways to visualize 3 acres is to picture a standard American football field. Roughly calculated, 3 acres of land is the same as three NFL fields. For urban comparison, one square city block is usually about 4 acres, so consider 3 acres just slightly smaller than standard city blocks. For comparison, an ice hockey rink is about 1/3 of one acre. It would take 9 NHL ice hockey rink plots joined together to equal 3 acres.

Further, on a smaller scale, you can put 15 tennis courts inside one acre. Owning 3 acres would contain the equivalent of 45 tennis courts. Considering a basketball court which is larger than standard tennis courts, about 9 could fit inside one acre, so 3 acres would contain the equivalent of 27. By considering the land visually, comparing it to a known size, it is easier to understand just how big 43,560 square feet is, and how many square feet are inside 3 acres.

The price of land can vary dramatically depending on the type of land, how usable the ground might be, and where the land is located. In extremely popular areas or rapidly developing sites, a single acre of land may be as much as $190,000 for one acre. However, in areas with plenty of land and less development, an acre may only cost $1,500 for one acre.

Of course, when purchasing land, many factors will go into the overall cost. If the ground is flat, cleared, and usable, it may demand a higher price. Land that is rugged or densely packed with forest may be cheaper because it will take more work and effort on your part to build. Further, access to potential utility lines for electric and gas and any possible resources found on the land may impact the overall price.

What Can I Do With 3 Acres?

Sunset, orange sky, farmers shaking hands in field

A popular option for landowners is to lease the land to others for farming or hunting.

Luckily, 3 acres is enough land for owners to find several beneficial uses. One popular option is to lease the land to a third party. Depending on what your land looks like, you may be able to lease the land to a farmer or a hunter. People without their own land will often farm leased land and continually grow crops year after year. If your land is wooded, independent hunters will often acquire land leases to access the deer roaming your property.

Another popular option is to utilize the land for your own house. It has become more popular to build a “rural” house away from urban centers to give people a place to rest and recharge. Owning 3 acres of land is the perfect amount of space to build a small, single-family home with plenty of surrounding yard.

Or, for those who want to break away from the grid and prepare a safe haven for the impending doomsday, a little 3-acre homestead may be just enough to disconnect from the grid completely. Depending on location, a small house and 3 acres of land can be sustainable with solar power, turbine power, or potential hydro-power. Get off the grid, detach from reality, and lower your carbon footprint with a small cabin on your 3 acres of land.

Is 3 Acres Enough For a Home?

Arial shot of multiple homes under construction, wooden frames

Developers will place up to 5 hours on a single acre of land. Owning 3 acres can accommodate up to 15 houses.

If you plan to build a single-family home, 3 acres is more than enough. Usually, about one acre is plenty for building and will still give you enough room for a nice yard. Keep in mind if you want additional space for recreation or herds of goats and flocks of chickens, your plans may be a little cramped. However, with 3 acres and a small single-family home, a farmette-style accommodation may be possible.

Usually, contractors and developers will assume the one square acre is enough to build about five single-family homes, with very little yard between the homes except what is necessary by local code. It is possible to build up to 15 homes on 3 acres of land with this math. Adding 15 homes to a piece of land is enough to create a small development or neighborhood and may entice a developer. If you have inherited your 3 acres of land and don’t have plans to build, selling the land to a developer to build on might be a great way to score some extra cash.

How Do I Build a Home on 3 Acres?

Building a home from the ground up is not for the faint of heart, and there are many steps required to establish your new homestead successfully. An average-sized single-family home can fit comfortably on a 3-acre lot. To start building a home, you’ll need to:

Find Land

The first step to building a home is to find suitable land. You may have been lucky enough to inherit your 3 acres, but a land purchase is required for most of us. Knowledgeable real estate agents can help you locate the right plot for your needs.

Conduct Survey

Before any planning or building can begin, you’ll want to conduct a land survey to understand where the land starts and ends. A survey company will come to your property, stake the corners of your land, and create drawings that can be turned over to your developer or builder.

Prepare Land

Once you and your builder decide where the house will go, you’ll need to prepare the land. This process usually involves clearing trees and rocks and smoothing the ground to create a new space to start the foundation.

Lay a Foundation

Every home needs a solid foundation from which to start building. A solid foundation will make your new home structurally safe.

Utility Connections

Depending on how you plan to operate your home, you may need to consider utility connections. Think about how gas, electric, water, and communication lines will get to your new home. Those looking for a zero-carbon footprint will have to find ideal locations for solar panels and renewable energy sources.

Create a House

Finally, working together with your builder, it is time to create and finish building your home.

What Is the Best Home To Build?

Owning 3 acres of land gives you plenty of options. While some people opt for a traditional single-family home, others will want a home that is easier to construct due to its modular style. Some popular homes to build on 3 acres include:

Prefab Homes

Prefab home being put together, big windows, truck with crane placing roof ontop of home

Prefab homes are customizable yet affordable.

Prefab homes are a popular choice because they are quick and easy to construct but still allow for plenty of customization and eco-friendly design. These homes average about $220 per square foot and come in several size and style options.

Shipping Container

Blue sky, white fluffy clouds,green trees, black and yeallow metal shipping container home, large overhanging flat metal roof

Using a shipping container for a house creates a modern and modular building concept.

A popular trend that allows builders to reuse and recycle materials is using shipping containers as the base of a home construction project. Shipping containers are insulated, modular, and sturdy, giving your home a great foundation. Plus, the sky’s the limit with shipping container home designs, allowing builders to stack and join multiple containers together.


Blue sky, faint white clouds, small wooden cabin on green hill in the woods

Cabins are cozy and easy to build with pre-designed cabin kits.

A cabin may be an excellent option for your 3 acres of land. Not only is a cabin cozy, but it is affordable and easy to build. Many cabin manufacturers offer kits that are easy to build. Simply choose your style and layout for your cabin, and the necessary components are shipped directly to your building site. Then, merely assemble and connect to the utilities, and you are ready to live in your new home.


With the ongoing scarcity of land in certain areas, owning 3 acres of land can present quite the opportunity to the new landowner. Many new owners will ask, “but what does 3 acres look like?” Visualizing 3 acres of land can be challenging, especially for people unaccustomed to large pieces of land. A good measurement tool is to think of three NFL football fields. The same area in 3 football fields is roughly the same square footage as 3 acres of land. It may be possible to sell, rent, or even build on your 3 acres, so consider your options carefully.