Last Updated on March 28, 2024

What is Lot Shape? | Real Estate Definition

By Alan F Macdonald

What Does Lot Shape Mean?

In real estate, lot shape describes a lot’s boundaries – that is, how is the parcel of land laid out. You can find the described lot shape on most MLS listings.

Real Estate Agent Explains Lot Shapes

In truth there are many possible lot shapes, but only 7 lot shape categories when it comes to MLS listings. They are:

Lot Shape Abbreviation
Rectangular Lot REC
Square Lot SQU
Triangular Lot TRI
Pie Shaped Lot PIE
Reverse Pie Shaped Lot RPI
Irregular Lot IRR
Other OTH


The most common lot shape in Edmonton is rectangular, although with many newer neighbourhoods being comprised of multiple cul-de-sacs strung together, pie lots are quite common as well. Irregular lot shapes make up for anything that doesn’t fit the conventional shapes, and other is likely for when the listing agent has no idea what shape the lot is!

Measuring lots that are anything other than rectangular, square or triangular is quite difficult, but luckily the City of Edmonton Maps page has information on each and every lot and the sizes of them as well.

Here are some examples of how certain lot shapes might look:

Examples of a pie, reverse pie, rectangular and irregular lots
Examples of a pie, reverse pie, rectangular and irregular lots.

So you can see from the tracings of the lots that a pie lot is usually seen facing a cul-de-sac, while a reverse-pie lot faces a crescent. Rectangular lots usually sit along longer straight roads and irregular lots just sit wherever they fit. Other lot shapes are not as common as these four types.

Why does It Matter?

Your lot shape can dictate how useful your land is. If you have a pie lot, you will have very little frontage. That means a big back yard, but also no room for parking out front. Conversely, if you have a reverse-pie lot, you will have ample frontage for parking, but may have a large front yard, which is less desirable than a large back yard. Rectangular lots are most efficient for space when it comes to urban development, but they force the use of a grid system, which precludes quiet, winding streets. Each lot shape has its own benefits and drawbacks, making them something to consider when buying a house.

4 thoughts on “What is Lot Shape? | Real Estate Definition

  1. Hey, I need some urgent suggestion. I have a revered pie lot.. which has 82 frontage, 148 on left side and 124 on the right with 30 on the back.. is this a good plot to consider??? my house built area is only going to be around 3000sqft.. am I still going to have a good backyard?? please suggest…

    1. Hi Priya,

      There are so many factors to consider when purchasing a property. It’s tough to know what it’ll look like without drawings. Be sure to look at how much yard you’ll have compared to other yards of the same size, maybe? Like go check out some of the other reverse pie yards and see if you think that’ll be big enough for you! Best to compare a real life yard size – maybe get your realtor to show you some other properties like that? It all depends on how far forward you can build that house and how much yard you really need, and even what exposure your yard will have! Good luck!

  2. I have a question rather than a comment. I have a lake lot, 108′ on the street side, 208′ down the sides to the water, and 100′ on the lake end, BUT, there is a boat ramp, so the actual usable footage on the water is approx. 60-65′. The question is would it be weird to build a house and cock it sideways on the property? Maybe a side entry, or NOT. My husband certainly thinks so, but I found a plan for a house shaped sort of like a banana, with a row of awesome windows on the bowed side that would face the water, and would like to set it not completely sideways but not straight either…Somewhere in the middle, with the boat ramp at the rear of the house. I think it could make some interesting and visually striking landscping opportunities. Am I off base, and is this a strange thing? He has asked me to find photos of houses sitting cockeyed on properties, to prove its not done, and I AM having a lot of trouble. Do people DO THIS?

    1. Hi Nat,

      Thanks for visiting my site. Indeed people do design houses to maximize the view on their property. Most houses are rectangular or L-shaped, but there are all kinds of designs out there. My advice would be to consult an architect or designer if you are planning to build. Besides that, searching around on the internet will eventually lead you to some different house layouts and arrangements – it just might take some searching around and figuring out the correct terms to find places. Another great place to look is architecture and design magazines. Some lots benefit from a different layout. It all depends on your needs, wants, taste and budget.

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