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Structures are special objects that serve a passive purpose such as using a wall to defend or blockade an area, or an active purpose, such as a Houndius Shootius being used to protect an area against mobs. They are either crafted in-game, or sometimes found around the world.

Structure Radius

When placed, every structure or plantable has a radius. Nothing new can be placed inside of this radius unless the structure is destroyed. It doesn't take into account what is already there; it only counts the radius of the object being placed. (This is why, for example, you can place a chest very close to an existing birdcage, but if you try to place a birdcage next to an existing chest, you need to place it significantly further away). The following are the radius values from the LUA files: 


Structure Radius Notes
Houndius Shootius 0.00 Can be placed anywhere on valid ground
Walls  0.10 Distance from other walls
Walls 1.00 Distance from things that aren't walls
Tooth Trap  0.75
Potted Fern 0.90
Chest 1.00
Bee Mine 0.75
Ice Box 1.50
Scaled Chest 1.50
All Other Plantables 2.00 Things that can be items
All Other Structures 3.20 Things that can't be items

Note on Plantables vs Structures: For the purposes of the table above, if you can build it and it goes into your inventory, it's a plantable. If you can pre-build it and place it later, it's a structure.

If looking to build stuff tightly together, you need to place the large items first. (For example, build the birdcage first, then the walls around it, not the other way around. Build the crockpot, then the chests and so forth.)