A complete Guide to Site Plans

Complete Guide to Site Plans

What is a Site plan?

A site plan, also known as a plot plan, is a visual representation of the features found within a parcel of land. Common features shown on a site plan include North Arrow, Scale, Property Lines, Main Structures, Landscape, and other features. This article will discuss the various features found on site plans.

North Arrow

A North Arrow is a feature that is shown on every site plan. The North Arrow usually points upward but it can also be rotated to point toward East, West, South, or any other direction if needed.


Scale is another feature that are shown on all site plans. Scales typically shown include 1”=10′, 1”=20′, etc. Engineering scales are defined as 1”=10′, 20′, 30′, 40′, 50′, and 60′. On scales larger than 1”=100′, it may be necessary to use a bigger plot sheet in order to bring down the scale size.

Plot Sizes

Common plot size sheets include 8.5”x11”, 11”x17”, and 24”x36”. Some cities may also require a custom plot size sheet.

Property lines

Regardless of the shape of the lot, each parcel of land has property lines. While many parcels have four property lines (think rectangular or square shape), parcels can be of any shape.

Main structures

The main structures within a lot consist of the house, garage, shed, and other large structures.


Landscapes include trees, shrubs, grass, and other vegetation surfaces. A city might require a site plan with landscape included if a tree will be planted or cut down.

Contour Lines

Contour lines are a series of lines that are at the same elevation. Parcels of land located on a flat surface will generally have one contour line. Other parcels of land located on a hilly lot will have several contour lines. Contour lines can vary in elevation points by 2 feet or more.

Impervious Calculations

Impervious calculations measure how much of the surface is paved over. The more driveway, sidewalk or other concrete/pavement surfaces the higher the impervious result. Some municipalities put a limit on the impervious percentage.

Wells/Septic Tanks

Some properties have wells or septic tanks on their lot. It is important to show the location of the well or septic tank as part of a detailed site plan.


Easements show the right of way and utilities located on a property. Easement info is usually found on the property survey or by contacting your local utility company.

Distance Between Structures

It is vital to show the distances between the structures on a parcel of land and the property line. It is also important to show the distances between the various structures.


Before a structure can be built on a lot, most cities require a certain amount of setback from the property line. For example, a house can not be built too close to  the property line. Setbacks can usually be found on city zoning regulations. They are typically available on city owned websites. Setbacks will be different based on the property. For example, a residential house may require a different setback compared to a commercial property.


A homeowner may want to add new structures to their property. Common additions include fence, porch, deck, swimming pool and other structures. The info required to include a structure on a lot are the dimensions of the structure and its location within the parcel.