The Role of the Landscape Architect in Siting a Home on a Lot

BBQ sketch

Many people who want to build a new home on a piece of property have difficulty visualizing how house would sit on the lot in 3-D.  Particularly on a sloping site with a substantial elevation difference from one side to the other, clients may not easily understand the ramifications of the slope on the ‘constructability’ of the home and other site improvements.

It is so easy to draw in a driveway from street to garage without taking into consideration the culverts that may be required to cross a borrow-ditch, the retaining walls necessary to keep the driveway at a manageable grade as it crosses the property, or the necessity to direct rainwater away from the garage and home while it gains velocity down a paved drive.

The Landscape Architect is a valuable member of the team of professionals a client uses to develop property, from the civil engineers and surveyors, to the soils testing specialists, architects, interior designers, and mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems engineers.  Landscape Architects can help the architects and clients to situate the home on a site in such a manner that not just views and privacy are addressed, but the functional and aesthetic placement of living spaces to provide access to the landscape.

Perhaps the home is really a ‘crow’s nest’ overlooking a stunning view, but there is such a trend to provide outdoor living spaces, even in urban environments, that the LA can help the team discover the meaningful attributes of a site, the orientations best suited to the uses, and how to set finish floor levels to allow access to landscape amenities like patios, spas, kitchens, fireplaces with grace and style.

The accomplished LA will have worked with a number of civil engineers and contractors to have a deep understanding of the functional needs and cost implications of various design elements and be able to express those to the clients and their teams to ensure maximum bang for the bunk in terms of needs, wants, and costs associated with different options.

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