How should I design my new home site?
There’s no rules, no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’ or set criteria. When it comes to planning your new home site, the choices are ultimately yours. However, we’re talking a long-term investment, so it’s super important that your new home ticks all the boxes, suits your needs perfectly and complies with council regulations. In short, you want it to be done right first time around!
Planning the whole site for your new home is an exciting journey, and one that requires a lot of attention to detail. It’s not simply a matter of plonking the home anywhere that looks OK and “she’ll be right, mate!” There is a science behind good site design to ensure that you achieve maximum functionality and practicality, as well as excellent street appeal.
There are 3 steps to achieving great site design:
Step 1. Usage
It’s important to spend time considering the lifestyle you and your family intend to pursue in your new home:
- how the site is going to be developed – home, shed, vehicle storage, garden areas etc.
- who is going to use the site – older people, children, extended family & friends, pets
- intensity of usage, is it low/medium/high? – owners only, regular visitors, infrequent visitors
Think about who else will need to access and use your site:
- Delivery vehicles/council and community services personnel – is there convenient access to the property?
- Guests/family/friends – how will visitors access your site and where will they park vehicles?
- Children – will children be using the site? If so, where will their recreation areas be?
- Animals – is there provision needed for dogs, cats etc.
- Disabled access – is the home/site accessible to disabled people?
- CFA – is your home in a bush-fire danger zone? Will the CFA need access to your property?
Step 2. How will your site manage/respond to usage?
Now that you’ve determined who will use your site and the frequency of use, you need to think about how your site will respond to this usage:
Consider the topography (physical features) of your land – is it flat, steep, rolling hills etc? What may need to be done to maximize the practicality of your site?
The impact of the weather on your new home is very important: prevailing wind direction, orientation of the home to achieve maximum sunlight, rain and water run-off etc. Is your site very exposed or are there land features and/or trees which provide shelter? What happens to the storm water – does your site drain well or are there water management issues you need to address?
Site views, both positive and negative, can impact heavily on the way you choose to develop your site. Does your property have beautiful views of nature that you wish to make the most of? Or do you wish to block out views of neighbouring properties? Do you have to get up high on the block to achieve the views you want? – if so, this may create issues with your local council.
Step 3. Aesthetics
We’ve all heard the adage ‘form follows function’. And generally we find that once step 1 and 2 are worked through, much of the ‘form’ falls into place – the fine detail of the site layout etc. will become clear once you have determined what you need to get out of your property. So, while the appearance of the home and property may initially loom very large, it’s important to work through your site usage and the management of that usage, before concentrating on the street appeal.
Choose a Theme
Put simply, what do you want your property to look like? You need to decide on a general theme for the appearance of your site – this will be reflected in landscaping, home aesthetics and general layout.
- Formal: neat, well-ordered gardens, edged driveways, consistent uniformity of trees/bushes/plants, manicured lawns
- Cottage: informal driveways, twisting paths, rambling and abundant planting schemes, combination of new and old to create that old-fashioned nostalgia
- Minimalist: low maintenance gardens, neat and tidy spaces, gravelled driveway and paths
- Aussie Outback: minimal landscaping, unsealed entrances
Will the driveway be curved or straight? Will they be sealed or edged? Do you want a courtyard approach to the home?
Where will the water tank/s be positioned? Do they need landscaping around them?
At Hensley Park Homes we understand the science behind good site design, and we can help you achieve the best possible form and function for your new property. Great site design means a home that’s beautiful, practical and functional. A home you’ll love!