Senior Resources » Too Close For Comfort? Here’s What I Think About Our Retirement Community’s Lot Sizes

Too Close For Comfort? Here’s What I Think About Our Retirement Community’s Lot Sizes

Are houses too close
Space between two houses in a 55+ retirement community, c/o Robert Fowler

One common concern raised by those exploring active adult communities is the assumption that all of the houses are too close together. While it may appear that way at first glance, it’s important to understand that these communities have embraced the trend of smaller lots. This has allowed for a more efficient use of space while still offering a comfortable living environment. It’s worth noting that many older homes were built on larger lots, but the shift towards smaller lots has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Having lived in a Del Webb community for a while now, here is my take on this.


Too Close For Comfort?

Terraced lots
Terraced lots. Taken from the back corner of my lot. c/o Robert Fowler

The developer has done a wonderful job positioning the homes for maximum privacy using different lot elevations, varying house setbacks, curving streets, berms, green belts, and woods.

I have only heard this “too close” concern voiced by people who do not live in an active adult community, not by those of us who do live in one. Here is why.


On a personal level, I know my house being close to the neighbor’s house on the side yards is not a problem. In fact, I like my yard better than the one-half-acre suburban lot I moved from. Getting a good lot for me was just luck because I didn’t even conscientiously consider that.

back yard
The right side of my backyard, c/o Robert Fowler

I have a better view than my last house. I can see the sunrise every morning right from my back door. From my patio, I see an even larger more beautiful view of the sky and at night I have a perfect front-row seat to the starry sky.

sunrise from my patioSunrise from my patio, c/o Robert Fowler

I have never ever heard the neighbors while inside our house. The hardie plank siding plus extra insulation helps, but hey, we don’t sit around playing ZZ Top and ACDC at full volume either. Remember most noise is made by kids, so that is not a problem.


Because lots are terraced, at least here at Village at Deaton Creek, I have a very private backyard!

A smaller yard is easier to take care of. Even though the HOA cuts lawns and provides other services, I do water and flower planting; which is much easier with a small yard.

Our smaller backyard is more usable. We rarely ventured off our deck overlooking our larger yard at the last house. Here we are not lacking in yard to use. In fact, we can make the surrounding area of our large patio more tailored to our likes. Smaller can be better. We added a railing along the edges of our patio (with HOA approval of course!), put out some planters, put out Mary Ann’s mother’s irises along the sunroom foundation, and some calico river stones. I am thinking of my next project right now!patioOur patio, c/o Robert Fowler

Because the community has plenty of green space and is located in a forest, there is all kinds of wildlife. There are deer, foxes, coyotes, turtles, and plenty of birds. There are also 8 miles of walking trails and a pretty large creek. So the allocation is really smaller lots to more undeveloped green space – not a bad trade-off if you ask me!Does this look too close!Taken from my patio, c/o Robert Fowler

Pay Attention to Your Lot When Touring

View from my front door
View from my front door, c/o Robert Fowler

Lots and homes vary quite a bit. I am sure some have more privacy than others. If this is a concern to you, then pay attention to the lot and position of the home, not just the inside of the home. Consider the backyard, the front yard, the front door and window views.


Don’t let your first observations that “houses are too close” throw you off in your home search. Just be observant and mindful that your lot is important too. Keep an open mind!

Front looking left
Front looking left, c/o Robert Fowler

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Originally published August 14, 2023

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