Godden Sudik Blog

Residential Architecture: How to choose a Site for your next Home
Godden | Sudik Architects - November 9, 2020

November 9, 2020
Eric Dillon

So you’ve decided to build your dream home! This is an exciting and wonderful adventure and you will have several key decisions to make that will impact what kind of house you will have. One of the first decisions you will need to make is the site for your home. The most common factors people tend to consider are views, proximity to work or school, and local property values, but there are three key criteria that should be addressed to allow for your ideal home to take shape.

1. Location

To many people, the location of their house can often be more significant than the house itself. Your daily life, lifestyle, and the resale value of the home will all revolve around its location. If you are considering different communities to live in, also take time to review the local zoning laws and community covenants that may affect what you can do with your property.

2. Orientation

Orientation is generally not the first thing people consider when choosing a site, but solar access, controlling snowmelt, and avoiding icy driveways and walkways are all dependent on the orientation of your house and the site it sits on. Taking full advantage of solar access can also allow for the installation of solar panels, solar thermal evacuated tubes and even lower energy costs through passive design strategies.

mountain modern private residence driveway

3. Topography

This factor is often the most critical in terms of not only access to the house and locating it on the site, but also achieving the desired program and look of the project. Think about whether you want your house to fit into the landscape or to be more pronounced. Consider how the topography of your site will impact future garage access, driveway slope and drainage. Note that steeper grades offer more options with sculpting the terrain and allowing for walk-out basements and garden levels, but also tend to cost more to build on and create more structural challenges. Flat sites tend to be easier to build on but offer fewer options.

Architect in training at award-winning architectural design firm in Colorado

Eric Dillon

Job Captain
LEED Green Assoc.

Eric grew up in Colorado and completed his education in 2013. Whether it was Legos or other objects, he was always interested in how things were built. His interest in architecture stems from an appreciation for the natural world and how people can live in a symbiotic way with it.