RV LOT IDEAS FOR IMPROVEMENTS
RV lot ideas is our catch all phrase to refer to all RV related
improvements. We will focus on typical RV Lots as found in campgrounds or
typical RV subdivisions of all types. When an RV home, that is a house
with an RV garage or "port", is considered, the home itself is the dominant consideration and the special features required for the RV are
easily included. More on related costs is here.
Things to look for before considering improvements are, proper drainage, access for the RV, and utilities
sufficient for your needs. These things need to be “fixed” before improvements are added. You do not want to pour a
patio slab only to discover on your second visit that it has rained and your new patio is under
water or you realized that you need power on the other side and left out those
"spare" PVC pipes. Similarly, don’t invest
only to find that your motor home can’t make that last bend with out sinking in the sand at the edge of the road. Finally, if
you need 220V 50A electric make sure it is close by or you may be rewiring ($) half the park to get it. Ask about the water
and sewer systems. You may find that these systems are near the end of useful life and you can expect big assessments.
In a new RV resort the basics may be well covered, but always check drainage conditions.( A few loads of fill might be a
good beginning, and has been foolishly avoided to save a few bucks by many ! ) We assume that local authority would not allow park
construction over bad soil conditions.
Because RVing finds its’ origin in camping outdoors, an RV lot can be anything
from dirt roads, gravel
sites and no sewer, to a posh resort where only expensive motor homes enter and golf is the thing. For our purposes, we
will address improvements that are typical of that permitted and found in modern RV parks. More primitive camping
improvements might include septic tank installations and solar panels if you are out where there are no utilities. A visit to
the county health department will quickly acquaint you with the local rules for septic tanks and well drilling. A variety of
companies offer solar array power systems and windmills too.
What You Get
If you purchase an RV Lot from a park developer or a resale lot from someone who has made no
changes, you may be getting a property that is almost bare. You also could be getting a large concrete patio and
parking slab, a shed and some nice little flowers. Your utilities might be located so your RV can hookup or perhaps they
are left coiled at the edge of the property. Developments vary greatly in what is provided. There are advantages to be
found in both bare lot and turn key (immediate move-in) purchases. The
developer's attitude toward improvements will establish what you will be allowed
to do. The Lot, complete with all that concrete and shed probably has strict limits on
further improvements. That developer, desirous of maintaining a uniform look, takes great pains to make sure sheds
match, all the parking is on concrete, and takes steps to produce a clean, finished look. He makes it easy to “move right
in”. You can express yourself with landscaping. A park where the developer provides paved access, utilities and not
much more, is probably a place where you will be allowed more freedom with your improvements. That developer caters
to those that don’t want his fancy shed or have ideas of their own. Some gravel and
basic utilities, has our minimalist camper
moved right in to that park. Others with grander plans build stone walls, patios, gazebos, fish ponds, even cabins to realize their dreams. A
drive in each of our example parks can be very different ! See what others have done. Read about what you are permitted
to do. You can find an RV park that fits your ideas about improvements. Full
time? Home base? These parameters are critical to you.
No discussion of improvements can escape park models, although ( in theory) they are
legal RVs and not
part of the Lot. In fact they are “baby mobile homes” ( HUD or ANSI) and as such are not moved except to another fixed site. (Tax
appraisers believe they are fixed on site and “impact fees” are charged, just like a house.) Some RV parks do not
permit park models. Determined to stay parks for RVs that roll, some limit time on site, others require a removal from the
site at least annually, while others ban all RVs, not tow-able with normal vehicles, drive-able, or not fully self contained.
What ever the situation, park models must be a factor in choosing the park in which to purchase your RV Lot, and a very
significant factor in your plans for improvements.
The impact of park models has been dramatic, completely eliminating sites for
real RVs in many parks. This
transformation can take place when owners, no longer traveling with an RV, opt for a “home” in familiar
that they can simply drive or fly to visit. This is usually age related. Others have never owned an RV and simply want inexpensive housing. A
carefull reading of the rules will suggest the extent to which a park model invasion might occur, and in what form.
Quality and price vary greatly for these RVs !! Modern vinyl sided,
hip shingle or metal roof, well built units can be expected to
maintain their appearance indefinitely. Others... park trailers, etc.... not
so much. Be sure you understand what park models are allowed!
Where park models proliferate, just like mobile homes, porches, screen rooms, and permanent additions of all kinds
abound; think small home. It is common for a 35' or 40' park model, to have constructed along side
yet another roofed space of equal size.
Almost all RV parks do not permit more than one RV on a Lot, so if you opt for a park model you will not be allowed to
bring a second RV on your Lot. You may be able to store one within the park. Some
parks allow a small RV that doubles for
daily transportation to be parked with your park model or other larger RV. Park
model sizes fall under two general size headings, HUD 500 sq feet and ANSI 400
sq feet. Most States only allow ANSI units. Florida, allows the 500 sq ft units
as do some Western States..
Ever resourceful, the RV industry has produced a "rule beater" 8 foot wide RV for those
locations that do not permit park models or for those folks that wish to spend
local property tax, and have no travel plans. These units can be likened to
large travel trailers with patio doors, etc, not designed for over the road
use. Many are not self contained, all have slides and use typical RV sheet
roof materials. These are shorter term fixed location solutions with life
and maintenance issues typical of a marooned travel trailer.
It is difficult to generalize, but many, if not most, RV campgrounds limit improvements to a
shed, patio, parking surface for both RV and cars, and perhaps a plastic storage unit or two. In addition you may
landscape extensively, but carefully, keeping (lawn) maintenance in mind. The shed is often
80 to 140 square feet
which gives space for storage, bicycles, freezer, second refrigerator, computer station, file cabinet, fax machine, hobby
bench, sewing machine, garden tools, or small work bench. Some sheds have been completely finished inside including
a ceiling, wallpaper and air conditioning; a little room. Others have washer, dryer or second bath with shower. (I saw one
with sleeping accommodations for guests!) For the RV traveler that purchases a Lot for seasonal use, the importance of
the shed can not be overstated. This is a place to work on hobbies, pursue interests during your long visit and act as a
support facility for your RV. The shed contributes to order in the campground too. Nothing looks worse than “stuff”
scattered around and about. The shed lets you organize and store those items used when you visit. It also provides private secure
storage for all “your” stuff when you have the opportunity for short term rental.
A number of companies offer a variety of shed designs and will deliver and install. Some locations require
a permit. Consult your park rules for design restrictions. If you plan appliances that require plumbing get your
underground work done well in advance of the shed delivery. Perhaps you will construct the shed yourself.
vinyl siding are easy to work with and shed framing is very basic. Lumber outlets and builder stores offer free plans that
can be adapted to your requirements. The addition of small windows, an entry
porch and little shutters can produce a very attractive
Clever raised decks that align with the RV floor, multilevel decks, and fish ponds incorporated in beautiful little gardens
made a part of the RV patio, are some possible improvements. Park restrictions and your imagination are your only limits
in developing your outdoor patio or deck space. Many home design ideas can be incorporated. When you visit RV parks,
notice the beautiful spaces created for relaxation with friends.
Parking surfaces for cars and your RV can be problematic. Concrete slabs commonly drain poorly because they have
been formed with little or no concern for water. Worse, concrete workers can not seem to understand that RVs are easily
leveled front to back but not so easily leveled side to side. Contractors habitually ignore this and good drainage in
general. One ideal arrangement would have the car park area rising away from the street and the RV parking slab at its’
end, sloping to the rear. Standing water is often found on large patio slabs too. If you have an opportunity to participate in
these improvements, insist the contractor demonstrate adequate slope in the right directions. Don’t overlook the weight of
your RV either. If it is a serious heavyweight, you’ll need 6" of reinforced concrete rather than the typical 4".
A remarkable and beautiful location for you and your RV can be created in most parks. Mounding the soil, proper plant
selection and attention to detail can really set off the basics and make your special spot a place you look forward to
visiting year after year. It also improves the value when time to sell.
Not Typical Improvements
Perhaps you want a “home base” that is a bit more than your RV plus a shed. Maybe
your hobbies together with your desire for visitors says you need a small cabin or house, but without the burden of a city
neighborhood home. Such places do exist where your RV is welcome and you are allowed to construct
support buildings. (See HISTORY) You might find this in an RV development or perhaps a place where a small structure
would be allowed together with hook ups for your RV. Characteristically, such a place will feature Lots much larger than
the older typical 35 foot RV park lot.
Hilly terrain makes a regular lot grid impossible and can yield some spectacular locations with
large lots. Larger lots can be found where real estate is less expensive and the competition for development less
intense. Such spots will not be found in very popular destination locations but do exist in attractive areas. Some mobile home
communities accept RV garage or port construction and might make an attractive home base alternative. Some rural
permit lots on which you can park and use your RV. Such developments allow
single family home construction and generally
have minimal size requirements.
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