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How should I go about choosing the best spot on my property to construct my Sukkah? I am considering both the ideal spot for the purposes of constructing and using the Sukkah.

I am looking for experienced-based advice on what factors make an ideal spot for constructing my Sukkah. Answers should explain why the factors they consider are beneficial.

In order to make this post as useful as possible to the greatest amount of people, I won't specify the features and terrain of my personal yard - those factors would be part of a complete answer.

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In my experience, the following are factors to consider:

1) Flat, solid surface - build the sukkah on as even of a surface as possible. Grass is the worst, for setting a table and chairs down and hoping they won't wobble. Dirt is slightly better.

2) Close to your house - build the sukkah close to your house, preferably near the closest entrance to your kitchen. This minimizes the length of trips to bring out and clear food, and for bringing out the sukkah materials from your garage/storage room when you build the sukkah.

3) Private - build your sukkah in the backyard, if possible. You will have more privacy, which is especially important for sleeping in the sukkah.

4) Against a wall of your house - if you build your sukkah against the wall of your house, you will have one less wall to build, and an easy, sturdy mount for the s'chach. If you can, put it in a convex corner of the house, with two walls! (Be careful about roof overhangs, which will invalidate some of your sukkah area.)

5) Not attached to a door - this is my personal opinion, but it is annoying to have the sukkah attached to the house, both for the people in the sukkah who now have house-traffic going through, and for the people who want to go out and have to circumvent the often crowded obstacles in the sukkah.

That being said, good places for the sukkah are:

1) A Deck

If you have a deck, that is the ideal spot for a sukkah. It is a flat surface, is close to your house, and often has railings tall enough to count for at least one wall. Decks are usually private, in your backyard. You may have to violate rule 5, but it's worth it.

2) A Patio

Patios are also generally smooth, flat surfaces, and are usually coming off a door to the house. You can also usually leave a small amount of space between the house-entrance and the sukkah.

3) Back end of your driveway

If your driveway goes around the side of your house, the back corner of your driveway can be a good spot. It is flat, often has quick access to space that can be used for sukkah-supplies (the garage), and can still be out of the way, if your driveway is large enough. Try not to ruin your kids' basketball court, though.

  • The kids should be able to miss basketball in the driveway for one week. – Scimonster Mar 9 '15 at 19:49
  • @Cnsersmoit depends how good they are at soccer. – Y     e     z Mar 9 '15 at 19:54
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    Additional benefit of (2) and (4), and of ignoring (5): If the communal Eruv goes down or doesn't exist in your area, and you want to move food, etc. between the house and the sukka on Shabbat, the closer the Sukka is to your door, the easier it is to make your own "barriers" for the purpose of permitting carrying. If your door opens right into the Sukka, you may not have to do anything to permit carrying. (Consult your rabbi, of course.) – Isaac Moses Mar 9 '15 at 19:55
  • Attached to the door can be quite convenient if there is no Eruv. – Double AA Mar 10 '15 at 4:59
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I've generally found concrete to be a little nicer than grass or loose stones, but with most models the difference is negligible. Build it where you want.

Avoid wind tunnels. Our sukkah was blown down one year because we built it in a wind tunnel.

Watch out for the sun. It is so annoying to have the sun in your eyes while eating breakfast/lunch. If possible, try and put the opening in the North or South. West is also better, because generally (i think) the sukkah isn't full in the afternoon when the sun comes in on the West, so the few people who are can just sit with their backs to it.
Note that my sukkah has 1.5 open walls, so it might not be as much of an issue for people who have a more closed model.

Also, if you can, putting it up against a window is nice. It lets you pass things through very easily.
Building it up against a wall also lets you skip some of your walls. Helpful if you're actually building it yourself; not so much if you just buy a kit.

Don't build it in a public parking spot. I really shouldn't have to say this, but i've seen people do this... If you want to put it in your own driveway, go ahead. But please, not in the street.

  • Very good summary. I'm glad that you mentioned the public area. In some places in Brooklyn, some shuls and stores extend the Succah into the middle of the sidewalk. Either they are violating the law (doesn't that invalidate the Succah, BTW?) or they are "bribing" someone to get a permit to do this (may be halachically permissible, but sounds unethical.) Either way, it surpases "lifnei iver lo titen michshol". It creates a michshol before everyone. – DanF Mar 9 '15 at 19:41
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    If you build against a wall, be sure to look up. A fence should be fine; the wall of a house or garage probably has overhangs that would invalidate the space immediately below them. – Monica Cellio Mar 9 '15 at 19:58
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The above summary is very good. I would add a few others:

  • One of the most obvious is to keep away from as many overhanging trees as possible. Remember that any area of the succah under any part of a tree or house overhang is disqualified for use as succah, and enough of such cover could invalidate the whole succah. So, be sure that you have a good idea of your succah dimensions.

  • The window idea is excellent. But, I might also consider, along with the other factors, proximity to your garage or storage space, depending on the materials that your succah uses. If you're using boards, "legos", plastics, etc. and / or bamboo poles for schach, these occupy a lot of storage space and they are heavy. You'll like to minimize the schlepping as much as possible. Canvas succot don't matter as much because the canvas folds into a bag. The poles, though still occupy some space.

  • As long as the other answer mentioned windows, I recommend even more, use as many existing walls as possible. When I lived in an apartment building, there was an enclosed courtyard. The janitor did the Succah construction, mostly. This was easy, as he had to put up just 1 wall and throw schach on top.

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    Practical note: It's good to think, when planning for a long-term sukka location, about where nearby trees will expand to in future years. – Isaac Moses Mar 9 '15 at 20:11
  • @IsaacMoses - Interesting ... although, sometimes, trees and weather tends to outsmart the best of our calculations :-) Birds and bees do interesting stuff, too. Somehow, they "create" trees. – DanF Mar 9 '15 at 20:30

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