Lot planning

shiltsyJanuary 4, 2014

We are a few years out from our build, but thinking about securing the right piece of land now. I'd like 10 acres in the country and wifey prefers subdivision life. There is ONE subdivision in the country but close our suburb that is a pretty good compromise. There will be around 20 homes on 2.5 - 4 acre lots. There is one perfect lot that we didn't jump on quick enough and it sold. We're now seriously considering the lot that was our second choice. Next step is to start talking with architects and builders about the site to get their feedback on a plan.

I also wanted to run a high level plan past the community here to get your feedback. The lot is around 2.8 acres with 1 acre that's open and flat. We don't want to knock down any of the trees. The lot is around 300' wide, but is relatively shallow, and that's really my only concern with the lot.

We are planning a pool and outbuilding eventually, so that is an important consideration. The back of the house would face south or maybe be angled a bit west.

As far as a home, it will likely be two stories and around 3500 sq ft. By the time it's all said and done, we'll be pushing seven figures, so this isn't a starter home. We will ultimately design the home to match the lot, so I just used generous sizes in the attached plan.

We don't necessarily need a wide open space in back of the house. In fact, I think a patio and pool area nestled between the house and wood line feels just right.

Sorry for the long winded intro - I guess I'm just looking for feedback on the viability of a shallow lot like this. I have a hard time visualizing, so if anyone has pics/stories they could share I'd appreciate it!

Stay warm. High of -10 tomorrow and -16 Monday up here in MN.

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Do you have a map showing the relevant setbacks and any other easements?

If it were me I'd want to move the house further away from the main road, maybe positioning the garage on the other side as an additional buffer.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 4:58PM
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The easement from middle of the road is 65'. Right now the garage is pushed up fairly close (roughly) to that easement. Side easements are 15' from lot line and we'd have to knock down trees on left lot line to hit that easement.

Agree that we may think about sliding to the right, although the lot seems to be just a bit deeper to the west (your left). The road on the left serves about 6 houses and two cul de sacs so there won't be much traffic. Road in front of the house serves one cul de sac with four houses.

The cul de sac is on a hill, so view from the front of the house is beautiful. There will be one house in the way eventually, but otherwise have a 10 mile view from the front.

The link below is a load of pics that I took last spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lot pictures

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 5:41PM
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The back of the house would face south or maybe be angled a bit west.

Try to make it face due south if possible so you can take advantage of passive solar heating.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree with dekeoboe about positioning the long side of the house due south so that you can get passive solar gain, you can add solar panels to the roof if you want. Also, I'd think about whether or not you are going to be doing any daylight basement...if you are, consider putting a deck and pool off the backside of the garage so it doesn't interfere with any light you might want in the basement.

Also I'd keep the pool off to the side so that you have something else to look at from inside the house most of the year when the pool is really just a tarp. I'd also want to keep the pool away from the woods so that it stays sunny, helps keep the water warm, and helps keep the leaves and detritus out.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:38AM
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Good call on facing due south. We can definitely position that way. Most of the trees back there are deciduous, so the low winter sun will shoot right through them.

Sliding the pool over behind the garage would improve our winter view and allow us to use that outbuilding partially as a pool house. We're definitely going to want a daylight basement, so we'll have to think about deck/pool placement to ensure we get some light in the basement.

I know much of it comes down to personal preference, but if you were building your dream home, would this shallow lot scare you away?

All of these little nuances pretty quickly rule out a stock plan, that's for sure. We absolutely love plans based on Garrell Tranquility, but I think we can work with an architect to incorporate the elements of that plan we really love.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:42AM
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OR for $90k less we could have six acres in an open field backing to a small vineyard (see empty lot in middle of photo). If this lot was treed, we would jump at it, but not sure how appealing an open field is.... even with 6 acres as a palette.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Our neighbors have a pool, and even with just a few trees nearby it's a pain to keep leaves out. A pool next to all those trees - especially when the north wind comes in the fall - would be awful.

We bought a new house in a new development - no trees at all. We planted trees before we planted grass. We initially put in some fast-growing poplars, to give us shade while the permanent trees caught up. By the time we were 10 years in, we had a virtual forest in the yard - spruce, ash, maple, linden, apple, birch. Starting with a blank slate allows you to landscape the way you want, with the pool in mind.

I'm a MN girl too - I love my trees, and your treed lot would really appeal to me, especially with the southern exposure. But you would still want to plant trees between the house and road.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Re: the 90K open field lot- it all depends on location. Which street is nicer? I know nicer is perspective, but I'd compare which street is closer to schools I'm interested in or more convenient to the center of town or shopping, which street has nicer neighborhoods nearby, which street is less hilly (factoring in how quick the town is to remove snow), etc..

As Annkh said, you can always plant trees later, but you can't change the location of the street within your town.

Our current house has a pool (backyard faces south), with now deciduous trees within 50 feet of the pool (arborvitaes only) and it is a BREEZE to keep clean and is so warm and pleasant in the summer. I would never put a pool that close to the back trees, especially in MN, it will be shady and dirty, all the time.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:38PM
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I was thinking the same thing about the trees near the pool, as mentioned above. But the treed lot looks lovely.

re: the lot near the vineyard, that sounds lovely too. But I'd want to check into the running of the vineyard: do they spray chemicals? Use pesticides or fertilizers that may seep into the groundwater and eventually into your water system? What's it like during harvest time... lots of trucks? Is it noisy? None of these concerns may be valid, especially if it's an organic vineyard, but I'd want to check into it a bit. (e.g., if there's already a well or water source on the lot you're considering, have the water tested.)

As nepool mentioned, there are many other things I'd consider about the neighborhoods when comparing lots, especially if you have or plan to have kids. And on the difference in lot price and trees... $90k can buy some nice landscaping. :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:13PM
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