Maybe you’ve always had the idea of building a new home and now you actually have the money to purchase the property. What should you look for when deciding what lot to buy?
In Florida the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and at noon it is just to the south in the summer. In the winter the sun is just slightly to the north at noon. What does this mean when you are ready to purchase a property?
A new house design in Florida is going to make the most of the eastern and southern exposures. The northern exposure is good for indirect light but the western exposure is not very good for much of anything. The western sun which occurs late in the day, after 3:00 PM or so, is hot and casts long, uncomfortable shadows. It is unpleasant to sit near a window with a western exposure in the afternoon.
In house design this would mean, unless you do much entertaining in the late afternoon in the formal living room and dining room spaces of the house, I would try to get a lot with the entrance to the lot on the western side with the long side of the property running north- south. This would allow placement of the formal areas on the western side while the family room, bedrooms, and kitchen are on the eastern and southern sides of the formal areas. As an alternate, if the long side of the lot runs east-west, I would try to get the entrance to the lot on the northern side so as to preserve the southern side of the lot for the family room, kitchen, and bedroom areas.
Also, in South Florida the prevailing winds are from the southeast. This is another reason why the southeast corner of the property is the most valued. With the advent of “green” architecture and the importance of saving energy resources, it is imperative that the southeastern exposure be used to the maximum benefit and capture the prevailing winds. By designing the house with this in mind, with windows for cross-ventilation, the house can be comfortable without the use of the A/C in the winter.
Another issue that is important in the selection of a lot is the existing landscaping. If there are beautiful 100-year oak trees on the lot around the perimeter, or with sufficient space in the center of the property so that they would not have to be cut down, then this would be another reason to select the lot. An excellent design for a house can be achieved by working around the existing trees.
What kind of soil conditions does the lot have? Pool soil conditions such as muck would require either the removal of the muck or piles and grade beams for the foundations. Either solution is expensive. Generally, certain areas are known to have poor soil conditions. Some areas, however, are mixed and the only way to know for sure is to do soil borings prior to purchasing the property.
And lastly, the views from the lot are also an important concern. If the lot has a great view but from the western side, it is not a good lot. The best lots are going to have views from the east or the south. A view from the north is not bad, but not much light is going to come in from that side, if the windows are put there to see the views.
Siting a house is a very important element in house design. Starting with a great lot will enhance the design while a poorly chosen lot will have many challenges for the architect to overcome. Look for the best. Do not settle for a substandard lot.Tags: Florida, formal areas, house design, northern exposure