When it comes to siting a new home on the lot, there are many factors that need to be considered. Some are related to logistics and regulations, while others have to do with aesthetics and curb appeal. The first step is to get a building envelope sketch from a local civil engineer. This information will have the required setbacks from the property lines on all sides, and will create the envelope in which your new home can be built. Additionally, the engineer should let you know if there are any regulations or requirements based on the neighborhood, historic district, etc. All of this should be determined BEFORE you buy a property, so you are certain that your dream home will work on the site.

Topography of the lot will need to be considered so that slopes are considered for the overall house design and also to take advantage of the best locations for garage access, utilities, etc. Some homes will fit naturally on the site, while others will require terraces and retaining walls – which add costs. The lot’s topography will also be considered for drainage and stormwater management for the future home.

Letting the sun shine into your new home is a key design issue in trying to use natural lighting wherever possible. Being able to bring sunlight into most of the rooms for some portion of the day is both functionally and aesthetically pleasing. Most people prefer to have the backyard facing south – and the new home is designed so that the Family Room captures the southern exposure throughout the day. Southeast exposures are nice for Kitchens and Breakfast Rooms where you may want the morning sun. It is difficult to get the exposure you may want for every room while keeping the floor plan functional – so decide what’s most important to the way your family lives at home.

Trees are another critical consideration in siting your home, especially since there are many regulations regarding which ones you are able to remove and which ones may need to stay. If there are large trees where you want the new building footprint to be, or ones that are unhealthy and pose a risk, then you should find out quickly if local regulations will prohibit their removal. Often hiring an arborist will help you with these situations. And sometimes there is a spectacular tree that you’ll want to keep, so planning the construction around that may require some planning and finesse.

And the most subjective issue for siting your home is how you want it to fit in with the existing neighborhood. Do you want it as close to the street as possible so you can maximize the backyard, or would you prefer to have it set back from the road to allow more privacy? These are things to be carefully considered when siting your new home. Each building site is unique, so take into consideration what features brought you there originally and work to site your new home accordingly.