This is a loaded question You ask 10 different keeps on this one you will get 11 different answers. IMHO what works for one may not work for the other. Its what you are comfortable with that counts. I space my hives out aways from each other to help prevent drifting. I use cinder blocks to set all my hives on. The main thing is not to get the hives up to tall where they will be hard on the back to work. On the other hand I know some guys that space there hives close together and put them on a 24 inch base.