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What to consider when selecting a lot for your home.

I often assist clients with selecting a lot, or at least giving them feedback on a lot they are considering. Location, size and price are obviously first and foremost in the decision process. The shape of a lot can also impact the eventual design of the home–both good and bad. Topography is something you can’t afford to overlook, as it can really impact the cost of a project. Grading, shaping, retaining walls all add to the expense. I want to know where the clients are with their lifestyle, if they like to entertain outdoors, etc. I typically do not put an outdoor area where it will be hit by scorching western sun in the evening. Trees are another consideration. My philosophy is that we save them when we can, but often the stress of construction will kill it in the long run. I like to make sure trees are 10-12 feet from the house. The photos below are ones that two clients are currently thinking about. Both of these clients wanted a location in the older, established part of town. We reviewed where the utilities are located as this will dictate some of the design elements. One of the items clients forget is setbacks.  Most of the time we cannot build over easements.  Whenever a client purchases a lot they should clearly understand what the building envelope is, as well as covenants for the neighborhood.  Some developments have requirements on everything from the type of mailbox, fencing, and over all height of a dwelling.  While some clients come to me with a lot already purchased (and therefore we have to work with what they have), having an architect’s input before buying the lot can save many headaches in the long run.

One client is looking at this lot in an established neighborhood. Location was a big factor for them when considering where to build. This is a fantastic neighborhood.

A lot of trees on this lot for another client. Again in a very highly sought after established neighborhood.

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Jack Arnold, AIA