Should the house be seen from the road at all?

by Katie
(Vermont )

Hi Nancy,


I live in VT and we are moving our old house from the roadside back into the field.
Even though the property looks relatively flat is has high and low spots. We have tried two locations but in all cases you will see half of the house as you approach. I think this would look terrible and I do not want to have a bunker look. In other words 14 feet of the house would disappear and you will just see from the eaves up. The landscape architect says we can hide it with trees. I really want to get this right because you only have one chance. I think I should locate it where you see most of it or nothing. For some reason I think driving up to a home and seeing only the roof is just awful. What do you think Nancy? Thank you so much! Katie

Dear Katie,

I agree! A house always looks better if the house is higher than the approach. Think of a house sitting on a slight hill and driving up to it versus a house in a hole you drive down to. Also, drainage is a huge consideration. Water has to be directed away from the house at every point around it. I locate houses on hill sides where a level area has to be carved out of the hill and the surrounding land basically terraced to get the driveway and lawn areas around the house. When locating a house, it's not as simple as just placing it and working with the existing terrain. The land needs to be manipulated to accommodate the house, driveway, drainage,etc. Ask your landscape architect about a grading plan for the construction site and how the above mentioned aspects of the house location are going to work. The land may even be able to be opened up to better view the house as the driveway cuts through the hill, for example. Hiding the house with trees sounds awkward because you will see the house at some point, so I don't understand what they mean by hiding it. If he can't handle doing a grading plan for you, contact a civil engineer to help you. It's an important part of the job that you'll appreciate later when you have the right location for the house that drains properly and functions to give you a wonderful home.

Thanks for your submission,

Nancy

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