After identifying a target neighborhood, we needed to select a suitable lot. We considered a number of factors during this process. Some were related to preference, while others involved more practical matters.
In terms of preference, we wanted a lot with that would give us a (relatively) flat back yard for the kids. At the same time, we want the new house to have a daylight (i.e., walkout) basement. The area in which we’re looking to build is relatively hilly, so there are several main lot types available.
A lot that slopes gradually from front to back would be ideal, as it would give us a full daylight basement across the back while still allowing for a nice back yard. However, the only such available lots in our target neighborhood were near the main entrance where there’s more traffic heading in/out.
There’s another set of lots that are located further in, and which back onto a creek and a ton of woods. These lots would easily accommodate a walkout basement, but their back yards drop off far too quickly. Moreover, the house would (in most cases) be situated a bit below street level.
Finally, there’s a stretch with lots that slope up from the street and back onto a nice, several acre section of forested common space. Importantly, several of these lots also drop off from one side to the other, which means that you can build a house with a daylight basement opening on one end.
While the basement is a little tougher to accommodate on these lots, we love the privacy afforded by the house being located above street level. No, we don’t want a crazy steep driveway and front yard*, but there’s a fair amount of variation amongst lots in this regard, so we definitely had some options.
*Note: Throughout the build process, I’ve come to realize that a great many things are a matter of definition. This includes the definition of “steep” (or at least “crazy steep”).
Another nice aspect of the lots in this section is that many of them tend to flatten out toward the back, which makes possible the creation of a relatively flat back yard. All in all, this section of the neighborhood provided the best options, so that’s where we focused our efforts.
Unfortunately, the process isn’t quite as simple as picking out the prettiest lot. Since this neighborhood isn’t connected to the sewer system, our house would have a private septic system. We thus had to consider variation in soil quality, especially as it relates to the final position of the house.
To make a long story short…
We started with one lot that wound up being too problematic from a soil quality perspective. We thus ended up moving a little further down the street to one that (we think) will give us everything we need.
Click through to read our septic tank and drain field saga.