photo of heavily treed building site

Vacant Land For Sale

This has actually happened. A client contacts us. They want to build a new home. They’re about to close on a lot in a neighborhood development. At our introductory design meeting they  describe to us the kind of house they wish to build. A certain number of bedrooms, bathrooms. Energy effeciency. Passive solar design. Sustainable building. A two car garage. A relatively simple design without complex rooflines. And then we go to the site for the first time.

The site the clients had chosen was steep and in the trees. The building envelope was rather small, and because of height restrictions, the home would have to be built so that it stepped up and down the slope, complicating construction dramatically. Solar gain would be limited by shade and trees that by development covenant could not be removed. The steep lot also made it imperative that we locate the garage up-slope and to the front of the home so as to meet requirements that stipulated the maximum slope of the driveway at 7%. Expensive retaining walls would also be necessary. As much as we at Trilogy enjoy a challenge, we had to tell the clients that the lot they had chosen was not conducive to building the rather simple, super energy efficient home they were seeking. The clients did not take this news well for they loved that this lot was adjacent to community open space. They purchased the lot and hired another architect. About a year later the lot was back on the market, I suspect, because the clients had finally discovered for themselves how difficult a lot they had purchased.

Building in the mountain regions often means dealing with slope and trees. But even when the lot is relatively level, the site can still have an enormous impact on budget and design. Today, modern design and technology allows us to create passively energized, super insulated homes with dramatically decreased energy consumption.  But if the lot orientation is north or if the lot is shaded then energy costs will necessarily increase. Views are always a concern and in some developments, homes are built without taking into account that the vacant lot next door won’t always be vacant and views may be impeded when the neighbors build. Other subdivision and local government codes can also severely limit design opportunities. Some neighborhoods put limits on the amount of glass, or the use of solar panels, limiting the use of sustainable energy resources.

Which is why, if at all possible, the Trilogy Design Team likes to assist our clients in the selection of the site for their new home. If the lot is indeed going to constrain design, it’s a great idea to have the design and build team assess exactly what those limitations are going to be.

What would be the ideal site for the home of your dreams?

965 N Ten Mile Dr. , Unit A1 Frisco, CO 80443
Phone: 970-453-2230

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