SCENE: A housing development.
–Thanks for coming over. Are you the foreman for Constructing Stylish Sanctuaries, LLC?
–Our name’s a mouthful. Just call us “CSS” for short.
It’s square, 100 feet on each side, with two plots bordering it. The three plots are enclosed by streets on all four sides.
–And how can we style this plot for you?
–Well, I’m not yet ready to start building my house or any of the other things I know will go inside the plot, so I just want help with the two things I do know.
–So the plot’s got a five-foot border.
–Okay, so you want us to give the plot 20 feet of padding?
–Sure, if that’s what you call it.
–We’ll start right away.
–You don’t have any questions?
–Nah, we’re CSS. We were started by a consortium of experts. It’ll be fine.
–Just checking in on the work. How’s it going?
–Oh, work’s going great. A word to the wise, though: your neighbors are psychopaths. We’re out there just doing our jobs, and they start screaming and threatening to call the cops.
–Really? I had no idea.
–Yeah, seems some people just don’t like having their yards dug up.
–Wait, you built my hedge on her property?
–Sure. Same thing on the other side. And we also tried to dig up both streets that border your plot, but the asphalt keeps gumming up our machines.
–You tore up the road?
–Yeah, real headache. Luckily we’d already dug up all 100 feet of your plot.
–It’s still there—it’s the first 20 feet of your neighbors’ yards, and of the streets bordering the house.
–That’s not where I wanted it! Why on earth would you try to build in spaces that belong to someone else?
–Hey, you should be grateful: getting that padding was like pulling teeth. Your one neighbor kept trying to park her car inside the space before we bulldozed it, and your other one kept ranting about his kids’ swing set, before we bulldozed that too. And of course, none of this could get done without a whole lot of screaming and weeping hysterically and throwing kitchen knives. Bunch of animals. We don’t get paid enough for this.
–This is a disaster! You’ve completely ruined the layout of this entire neighborhood.
–Don’t blame us. You didn’t tell us your plot was really 150 foot square.
–It’s not! It’s a 100-foot plot! I even took the time to specify those dimensions—I obviously meant for them to stay constant. Everything I told you to do was supposed to fit inside the plot!
–Huh—you’ve clearly never spoken to our consortium of experts.
Thanks for reading! For a technical discussion of the CSS box model, and for how to restore sanity to your layouts, see our follow-up post.
Image Credits: Ksayer1