lay of the land

[lay of the land] also [how the land lies] {n. phr.} 1. The naturalfeatures of a piece of land, such as hills and valleys.

The styleof house the contractor builds depends partly on the lay of the land.

2. The way something is arranged; the important facts about something;how things are.

The banker wanted to check the lay of the landbefore buying the stock.

Before the new boy will join our club, hewants to see how the land lies.