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.


Basic
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.


Beyond Basic
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.


Park Models
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 surroundings 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..


Park Trailers
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 less, avoid 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.


Typical Improvements
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.  T-111 and 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 result.

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 "out" or 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 counties 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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rv property with drive ready for concrete




rv garage including large wood deck




rv site under construction - driveway




rv lot with fancy shed




rv site deck




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