What is a site plan: Definition, Elements and Examples

What is a definition of a site plan?

If you are planning to buy a property you can adapt, renovate your home, or just add some new features to your existing house, you will need a construction site plan. Home renovation projects without proper planning can become a financial and legal nightmare. We are here to help you. But first, let’s see what exactly is a site plan.

3 Key Takeaways

  1. A site plan is a scale drawing that maps your property/plot, everything on it and the surrounding area.
  2. The importance of a good plot plan is to give building officials the ability to verify compliance with zoning and development codes.
  3. There are two types of site plans, 2D site plans and 3D site plans.

What is a Site plan?

A simple definition is that a site plan is a map of your plot, used by architects, urban planners, and engineers, showing them existing and proposed conditions of an area. A site plan is a diagram used by contractors and builders when working on home improvement projects. A site plan drawing functions as an overview of your property, everything on your lot, its surroundings, and proposed changes.

Site plan vs plot plan

Although many use site plan and plot plan as synonyms, there are some differences between them. Plot plan and site plan are very similar, so it is not a mistake to use them thinking they are the same. The main difference is that the plot plan is the plan of your property/plot and everything on it, while the site plan is the same but it also includes the surroundings. The site plan will include surrounding streets, rivers, terrain, maybe even some parts of your neighbors lots, if it is important or relevant for the changes that will be made.

What is a plot plan and what does it show?

A plot plan can be defined as a simple site plan that is used for constructing a single structure on a lot of land. Plot plan shows:

  1. Your property
  2. All the structures
  3. Property boundaries
  4. Key outdoor features

Home builders usually use these plans for obtaining HOA approvals and for basic renovation projects. Plot plans are also used by real estate companies when introducing clients to a specific lot.

Detailed site plans are required for obtaining building permits for residential and commercial properties.

What is the purpose of a Site plan? (The importance of a good Site plan)

The importance of a siteplan
Why is site plan important? – freepik photo 1

The main purpose of a site plan is to show how the intended land use relates to the features of a plot or a parcel and its surrounding area. The importance of a good site plan is not just showing the proposed structures, it’s also giving building officials the ability to check zoning and building codes. Depending on your county, development and zoning codes may vary. However, the zoning administration will review a construction site plan and determine if all the standards are met.

When do I need a Site Plan?

Site plans are required by the local governments. The reason is to ensure that state and local building codes are followed when it comes to making changes to one’s property.

Use our site plans for some of these processes:

Site plan also serves as land development plan for industrial, commercial and residential projects. Land development plans are used if you want to build on an empty lot, or if you want to build an addition on an existing structure.

What is included in a Site plan?

A good site plan will include dimensions, vegetation, topography, and infrastructure. Since the site plan is a scale drawing that is used as a building map, everything from buildings, roads, parking, to the landscaping and garden elements, will be shown on it.

Elements of a good Site plan

Necessary siteplan elements
Elements that a good site plan must have

There are certain guides that each site plan must follow to be approved.

Here is the list of 11 elements that the site plan includes:

  1. Your Info: Name and address – This is the most basic information that your site plan should contain.
  2. Legal Description – This includes things such as your range, your township, ZIP code, tax les, and your section.
  3. Property Lines – They are marked around the perimeter of your site and are considered the limits of your potential design. Without knowing your property line, you could be building on land that is not yours, or worse, building on top of an existing structure.
  4. Setbacks – These are the distances between buildings and property lines.
  5. Existing and proposed conditions – Features like fence lines, utility, and power lines need to be included on your site map.
  6. Construction limits – This should show the parts of the property where the construction is taking place and where construction materials and equipment will be stored.
  7. Surrounding streets and street signs – A site plan should show how your property functions within the streets and avenues that surround it, i.e. traffic flow through and around your property.
  8. Driveways, walkways, and parking area – Usually, a good site plan contains these elements too.
  9. Fire hydrants – This implies the city codes that govern the distance your building will need to be from fire hydrants, depending on the type of construction.
  10. Easements – These are the features of your property that are shared with someone else for a specific purpose, such as pathways.
  11. Landscaped areas – It’s not only important because of aesthetics, but also preserving a delicate ecosystem.

Depending on the location of your property, different building authorities will require different features and more or less information. That is why our designers at Get a Site Plan create custom site plans that are adjusted to the specific standards and requirements, and tailored to every type of site analysis.

If you want to know more about site plan elements, click here.

Site plan vs Floor plan: What is the difference?

What are the differences between site plan and floor plan?
Differences between site plan and floor plan

Even though most people think those two are the same, or at least similar, that is not true, there are many differences.

Yes, both site plans and floor plans are orthographic drawings or scaled diagrams that are used in site planning in architecture, but they are quite different from each other.

A floor plan shows the layout of the house or building from above, and it usually includes the walls and room layout, plus fixed installations like windows, doors, staircases, patios, balconies, furniture, as well as appliances, and some measurements.

Site plans, on the other hand, define the position and orientation of the house or building on a plot of land, along with recorded boundaries of a site. They may include roads, sidewalks, entry points, paths, landscaping, trees, and watercourses.

A floor plan is more detailed and it shows the interior of a building, compared to a site plan that will show you the exterior.

Types of site plan (2D and 3D site plans)

2D vs 3D site plans
2D and 3D site plans – freepik photo 2

There are two types of site plans, 2D and 3D, let’s see the differences between them.

2D site plan

What does a 2D site plan look like?
2D site plan

2D site plans are a birds-eye view of the entire property. Here you can easily see structural elements, driveways, walkways, landscape elements, pools, as well as surrounding streets and neighborhood. These types of site plans provide a flat diagram and a layout of your property. Choose the perfect 2D site plan for you, from our site plan services.

3D site plan

What does a 3D site plan look like?
3D house exterior plan

3D site plans are used to show textures, colors and details. Here there is no need to visualize anything, you can see how your project will look once it’s finished. This is a great solution for those who have trouble reading a 2D site plan. Our designers are going to show you how your house and landscaping will look. Check out our 3D renderings.

Site plan examples

When it comes to examples of site plans, there are different uses for them, 2 main categories are:

  1. Residential site plan
  2. Commercial site plan

In these categories, the most commonly used site plans are:

  1. Classic site plan
  2. Plot plan
  3. Subdivision site plan

Let’s see examples for each of them.

1. Example of a site plan

Example site plan
Example of site plans

In this example of site plans, you can see the layout of the property and its features, such as slopes, landscaping elements, streets, etc. This type of site plan is used for obtaining permits for residential and commercial projects.

2. Plot plan example

Plot plan sample
Example of a plot plan

As you can see this example of plot plan is a bit different than the previous sample of site plan. On the plot plan, you won’t be able to see details, like landscape features and you won’t have a clear overview of surroundings. The main purpose of plot plans is to show the layout of existing structures and proposed buildings, as shown in the sample above.

3. Subdivision site plan example

Subdivision site plan sample
Sample of subdivision site plan

Subdivision site plans are drawings that show how parcels are divided into developable plots of land. This subdivision site plan sample is used as a development plan for future site planning endeavors.

If you need a site plan, get one today

If you need a plot plan for your project, but you are worried about the cost of site plan, don’t be. Our team of experts create site plans quickly, accurately and affordably.


  • freepik photo 1, author: rawpixel.com (link)
  • freepik photo 2, author: kjpargeter (link)
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