Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Designing your custom home in the country: Positioning

Series: Tips on designing a country home.

n this multi-part series I will help give you tips on how to go about having a custom home built in the country, where it should sit, what it should look like, how it should function and what type of home performs the best and fits in with the surrounding country side.

Positioning the home on the property

You have purchased a piece of property in the country and you want to build a home on it. One of the main things that you should do before you even start designing the home is figure out where on the property it is going to be built.

There are a number of things that you need to consider when you are working out the placement;

Are there existing structures on the property? A lot of country properties come with buildings already on them, buildings such as barns, drive sheds and even older homes that need to be torn down or removed before you start building a new one. You want to place your new home in a position that will help complement the existing structures (if they are worth keeping). When you have a barn on your property you usually don’t build a house near it, the barn is usually positioned behind the house some distance away.

Is there an existing driveway? If there is an existing driveway or even an existing entrance to the property then it is more cost effective to use it then try and build a new one. But if the existing one just doesn’t work for you then you can have it removed and a new proper gravel driveway installed. Make sure that you build your new driveway wider than normal, country properties always have wider driveways because they have the space for them. This makes getting in and out of a long driveway easier and helps keep people from driving and parking on your lawn.

Existing well? If your property has an existing well then it’s usually a good idea to position the house so that it can be easily piped into the house. If you don’t have a well on the property then you should decide where you want to place the well. It’s usually a good idea when drilling a new well to pick several locations for the placement of it, sometimes when they drill you a well they don’t get enough water and have to try in a different spot.

Use the natural topography of the land. If you have a hill on your property then you might want to position the house near the top of the hill, placing the house on the edge of the hill at the start of the down slope will allow you to have a walkout basement and will give you the farthest views. There are other factors you should think about, you should position the home so that it looks out on the nicest views as well. You don’t want to position the house so that it looks directly at your neighbours, or a large wind turbine or the farmers pig barn across the road. One of the main reasons that people build in the country is so that they don’t have to look at a lot of other buildings. Rolling fields, ponds, rivers and old growth trees are what most people want for their views.

Since you have the ability to position the house anyway that you want, then you should try and position it so that it receives the most amount of sunshine. The more you can turn the house south into the sun the warmer and brighter the house will become.

Things to remember when you are positioning the house;

Leave enough room to install a septic system with full drainage tile.

Leave enough room for a geothermal heat in-ground loop.

Leave enough room so that you can have a turn-around in your driveway. Turn arounds are important in the country because most people have long driveways and it can be difficult to back out of them if you are not able to turn-around.

Separate garages need to be placed close enough to the house so that you don’t have to travel too far to get to your vehicle and far enough away so that it doesn’t crowd the house and restrict the driveway.

Position the house so that you can take full advantage of the natural drainage of the land. You don’t want to build your home so that it is at the bottom of a hill or in a shallow part of the property. This can lead to problems with water and moisture in the home, especially during and after severe rain and snow storms.

This is the first step of many when you want to build a custom home in the country. In the next part I will talk about what type of homes that are designed and built in the country.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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