When it comes to the design of a building, the site plan is one of the most vital elements to ensure successful completion. Devoting your time, effort, and financial resources to the stage before the design phase helps you create detailed guidelines to minimize problems during construction.  This is why a site analysis is an essential first step. 

After a site analysis has taken place, your concept begins to take shape in the form of a site plan. It should clearly illustrate your current site and what you hope to create. It may include elements like dimensions, vegetation, weather, topography, and infrastructure. At My Site Plan, we help you bring your home addition and remodeling ideas to life with site plans, subdivision designs, and floor plans. Let’s take a look at some of the things that absolutely must be included in a site plan. 

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What Features Should Your Site Plan Include?

While a site plan has several features that it must contain, here are the most integral ones:

1. Existing and Proposed Conditions

You need to present a representation of your home as is, along with your proposed plans. This helps to give the plan reviewers and city officials a proper picture of the design you have in mind. This will help them understand how the design will affect your site and vice versa.

After providing your site plan and (hopefully) getting it approved, you will also be informed if any other kind of city official, such as an inspector, needs to be in attendance during any part of the construction process.


2. Property Lines

Suburban homes from an aerial view

Property lines can be considered the perimeter of your site and the limits of your potential design. You have to know where your property lines are before beginning.

Encroaching on the property of the building or space next to you is a big no-no, and your plan should demonstrate that you do not intend to do this. 

In case this does end up happening, you may face neighborly tension and even legal battles. You will have to spend double the time on more surveys, multiple drawings, and sorting out lawsuits if the situation gets ugly.

Related: How do I draw a Site Plan?


3. Distance Between Property Lines and Buildings 

In order to truly understand and get a grasp of your site, it’s pivotal to look beyond the boundaries of the lines presented by your property. 

The buildings and infrastructure around your property, for example, play a huge role in the final outcome of your design.

It’s the zone around your property that helps you determine what legal and safety restrictions affect your plans. This means taking everything from zoning and fire hazards to building height and building usage into question. 

Therefore, the details of these dimensions must absolutely be a part of your site plan.


4. Surrounding Streets

A dead end street next to a home on a hill

The traffic situation through and around your site is yet another relevant component. Only when you know whether the streets surrounding your site are avenues, primary arteries, or total dead ends will you be able to incorporate relevant modifications into your design.

This information also aids in contextualizing your own property. It often happens that the ones in charge of reviewing your site plan are aware of that particular area and the ones surrounding it. 

Therefore, when you add street names to your design, it helps them comprehend your design in relation to your neighborhood. With this information, they will reach a conclusion of whether your design is feasible and in accordance with your geographic zone.

Related: How to Convert a Garage into a Master Bedroom?


5. Parking

If your site is in a commercial space or belongs to an area with heavy foot traffic, figuring out the parking situation can be quite tricky. Parking is usually on a premium level in such areas, and quite a lot of research time needs to be dedicated to determine the amount of parking that will be appropriate.


This is why it’s absolutely essential for a parking diagram to be a component of your site. Some characteristics you must show include 

  • Signage
  • Dimensions
  • Flow of traffic
  • Handicap accessibility 
    And so on.

6. Driveways

Be it the dimensions of a curb cut or the width of a driveway, there are several code requirements that control the design aspect of the access points to your site. 

Knowing the rules of these code requirements is essential because they need to be included in your site plan, too. These regulations ensure that proper driveways can be constructed.


7. Landscaped Areas

landscaped walkway

Landscaping doesn’t just refer to making a place look aesthetically pleasing. It has to do more with preserving a delicate ecosystem. Most landscape designers will look for native plants from the region to include in their site plans.

Getting rid of all the vegetation around might seem like an easy solution to make room for infrastructure. However, it is not an everlasting way to develop a healthy community landscape, especially given the present environmental conditions our world is facing. 

Therefore, in addition to the ongoing improvement plans, the proposed plan for landscaping should also be included in your site plan.

Related: Site Plan Architecture: How to Scale a Site Plan?


9. Fire Hydrants

Whereas access to a site definitely needs to be smooth, it’s also required to be easy so as to provide quick escape routes in case of emergency situations. 

Based on the category of construction, you will have to look up the codes that determine how far away your building will have to be from the fire hydrants nearby. 

Those who are going for just a renovation won’t have to worry about it, but new site plans absolutely must address this issue. 


10. Ground Sign Locations

Ground sign locations are also important to include in your site plan.

This information is required to make sure the design of your site plan is crystal clear. You have to make note of nearby highway signs, stop signs, and the like. 

Final Note

This is all a lot to think about, and you can make it easier by teaming up with My Site Plan. By working with us, you can get a plan for any residential, commercial, or industrial project with our smart GIS technology and satellite imagery. This will help you prepare for permitting, zoning, and parking analysis.

Looking to get a demolition permit, or begin construction on a new project? Check out architecture site plans by MySitePlan so you can get approved and start working today!

FAQ Answer
What steps are involved in the site analysis mentioned as the first step? Site analysis typically involves assessing the physical attributes of the land such as soil type, elevation, and existing structures. It also includes analyzing legal aspects like zoning laws and land use restrictions, as well as environmental factors like sunlight, wind patterns, and drainage.
How does local zoning affect the design of a site plan? Local zoning laws dictate what can be built on a site, including the types of buildings allowed (residential, commercial, etc.), setbacks, height restrictions, and density of development. Compliance with these laws is crucial for the approval of any construction or renovation project.
What tools are commonly used to create a detailed site plan? Tools commonly used for creating site plans include CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for mapping and analysis, and specialized planning tools that offer 3D visualization and simulation capabilities.
Can you explain the importance of maintaining native vegetation in site plans? Maintaining native vegetation in site plans is important for preserving local biodiversity, ensuring soil stability, and managing water resources. Native plants are better adapted to local conditions and require less water and maintenance, reducing the environmental impact of new developments.
What is the process for amending a site plan once it has been approved? Amending an approved site plan usually involves submitting a revised plan to the same governmental bodies that approved the original. The revised plan must detail the changes and their implications on the original design and compliance with local regulations. Public hearings and consultations with neighbors may also be required depending on the extent of the changes.