Fortunately for new farmers headed to Stardew Valley, the real estate market out there is pretty darn good. In fact, first-time movers to the quaint yet scenic Pelican Town are given several options to choose from when deciding which type of farm their late grandfather left them in his will.
Upon beginning a fresh save file, you are immediately confronted with the option to choose which of seven farm layouts you’ll move into. Each layout is fundamentally different, none particularly “better” than the other, but each will very much affect where you place your crops, raise your chickens and cows, and even where (or if) you’ll build a couple of houses for your friends.
Some layouts are better for farming, whereas others are better for fishing, foraging, or mining. Everybody’s tastes are different, and it’s tough to know which layout suits your fancy the most until you’ve checked it out for yourself. No matter which one you end up choosing — either by our recommendation or otherwise — you should immediately take a stroll around the property and feel it out for yourself.
Once the game has started, you can’t change layouts within the same save file. If you don’t like the one that you chose, simply back out to the menu and start a fresh save. At the very least you won’t need to re-watch the intro cutscene if you don’t want to. If only escaping the jaws of corporate capitalism could be so simple in real life.
That said, this Stardew Valley guide is packed full of insights about which farm layouts are the best for which types of players. You probably want a second opinion anyway. We can’t blame you; there’s a lot of ground to cover here. Here’s everything you need to know about the game’s best farm layouts.
The classic Standard Farm features the most flexible layout of them all with the most farming space and the single largest rectangular area at 63 x 31 tiles, according to the Stardew Valley wiki. If you want the most balanced experience, this is the way to go. There’s plenty of room to plan out your crops, fruit trees, and structures. There’s even a little pond to go fishing in, though you’ll only find trash until you unlock the Crab Pot which enables you to catch shellfish..
Standard Layout gives you the safest farm that also comes with the most working room, ahead of the Beach Farm and the Wilderness Farm in that order. It’s probably the best farm to start with, since you get a little bit of everything here. But beware if you run out of large boulders and hardwood trees, since you’ll need to go to the Cindersap Forest or to the Mines to find more.
If you love freshwater fishing, there’s plenty to see and do in the Riverland Farm layout. This one spreads your land across a series of islands connected by makeshift bridges. It’s pretty thoroughly divided, and you get less farmable land in general, making it tougher to plan out a big farming compound that connects together in one spot. However, you can easily designate different islands to specific things, for example, growing peach trees or harvesting large quantities of coffee beans.
The real benefit here is that you can spend pretty much all day catching freshwater fish. Specifically, you’ll always have a 70% chance to encounter a Pelican Town river fish and 30% chance to catch a Cindersap Forest pond fish.
However, since there aren’t nearly as many trees, boulders, weeds, or even general land to work with, it might not be the best beginner farm since it’s tougher to get things off the ground at least until you’ve spoken to Willy on the beach in the southernmost part of town.
There are a lot of items that will spawn around Stardew Valley’s Pelican Town and its nearby wildernesses. Mixed seeds, berries, ferns, and hardwood can be tough to come by without taking frequent trips into the forest.
That’s why the Forest Farm is a particularly helpful choice. It features eight renewable hardwood stumps, bushes that drop rare items, and mushrooms that grow naturally.. Later on, especially when cooking and crafting, this is all super useful. The weeds in any part of the Forest Farm also have a much higher drop rate for mixed seeds.
Fishing in the local ponds has a 45% chance of spawning Cindersap Forest pond fish and a 5% chance of spawning woodskip, a rare fish that’s necessary to complete the Community Center collection and can normally only be caught in the Secret Woods.
The Hilltop Farm is a great option if you’re interested in filling your collection in the Museum or crafting a lot of high-tier items like fertilizers, sprinklers, bombs, and other important tools. Most of the time, this is a more difficult endeavor since it requires you to travel to the Mines or the Desert, and those things take some adventuring to get used to.
We can’t blame you for putting off such trips. There are monsters over there that can be dangerous if you’re unprepared. Choosing the Hilltop Farm lets you forgo all of that, at least for a little while, as it features its own quarry on the bottom left corner of the map, full of stones and other materials.
There’s a river running down the center of the farm, however, leaving you with much less land available to farm, but giving you a 45% chance to catch Cindersap Forest fish.
Overall, the Hilltop Farm layout is nice for those who want to do a decent mix of fishing, farming, and mining without trekking across town to go looking for ores, geodes, and stones; at least for a little while. Mineral formations only respawn in the quarry every fourth day and in quantities of 13 small boulders at maximum. Large boulders, stumps, and logs can sometimes appear at the quarry’s mouth, blocking the way but providing precious iridium and hardwood if you can clear them.
The Wilderness Farm layout is less sizable than the Beach and Standard Farm layouts, but it spawns monsters at night that, when slain, can drop useful loot that is only otherwise found in the Mines.
You have to be well-equipped for said monster slaying though, which makes for a pretty annoying early-game surprise since you won’t be able to fight them effectively until you unlock the Mines and the Adventurer’s Guild. That starting sickle and logging axe isn’t going to cut it.
The good news is that you get way more space than some of the other specialized farm plots which pays off in the late game after you’ve already mastered the art of slaying monsters. More structures and crops on your farm is always a good thing.
It’s important to note that none of the monsters that can spawn on your farm at night will be able to do any sort of damage to your crops or buildings. They will, however, be able to damage you until you pass out from losing too much health, so be careful! Stock up on plenty of healing items just in case, and be sure to return to your house and go to bed before it gets too dark.
Four Corners Farm
You should absolutely choose the Four Corners farm if you’re interested in playing co-op with up to three other Stardew Valley players. This particular layout is split between four different quadrants, with a few common features between them including a common assortment of random trees, boulders, weeds, and grass.
However, there are also unique features on each corner of the map as well. There’s a mini-quarry (smaller than the one from the Hilltop Farm) on the bottom right corner, a pond on the bottom left corner, and an open space on the upper left corner that behaves like the Forest Farm, with renewable hardwood stumps and mixed seed-giving weeds. The cave and greenhouse are placed in the center of the map so that they’re easy to access from anywhere else.
If fishing is your style, then you’ll find that fishing at the pond on the bottom left gives a 50% chance of encountering a Cindersap Forest fish.
Overall, the Four Corners farm provides the best possible setup if you’re planning to play with a full squad. In order to get those houses set up, you can either begin a co-op game anew from the main menu and invite your friends in to start immediately, or you can install houses (which take 5 x 3 tiles) for friends later on by speaking to Robin at her workshop. Each type costs 100 gold, but you’ll also need to bring ten Stone for a Stone Cabin, ten Fiber and five Wood for a Plank Cabin, and ten Wood for a Log Cabin.
The Beach Farm layout is truly unique, but less hospitable for Stardew Valley players who are just starting out. The main downside is that you can’t use sprinklers at all on its sandy soil, making it much harder to automate your farm and grow a lot of different kinds of crops over a wide space.
This limitation forces you to get creative, but the sandy shores also have their own bounty in the form of supply crates that occasionally wash up. If fishing is your main interest, you’ll be pleased to find that the Beach Farm template gives you the unique ability to catch ocean fish from your own backyard (you’ll have a 52.73% chance of encountering them, according to the Stardew Valley wiki guide) as opposed to needing to travel all the way down to The Beach area south of Pelican Town each time.
This layout also includes a central forested area where you can find your usual foraging goods like trees, weeds, and so forth. There’s even a secret cave if you go looking for it. The Beach Farm template probably isn’t the strongest first choice, but it is certainly a more interesting approach to Stardew Valley that we’d recommend for any returning players who want to start a fresh save.