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Placing the house  RSS feed

 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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I am working on a design exercise (potentially more than exercise, we are interested in acquiring the property). Forty acres in southeastern Michigan. About thirty acres in a rectangular block, with two ponds generally central in that block.

Total elevation change on the property is only 20 feet. There's an elevated ridge at the rear/north end of the property, between 18 and 20 feet above the ponds. It is also on the order of 1800 feet from the roadside, so the location at the rear involves a fairly long access road.

It seems to me that this is the best location on this property for placing the house. It has the best solar aspect on the property, I think. Generally, the house should not be placed on the top of the ridge. But when the total elevation in play is only twenty feet, what do you use to make the determination?

As I see it, we can dig a pond on slightly higher ground closer to the edge behind the house building site and use the material from digging the pond for making cob for the house. There's enough area for putting the kitchen garden on the same high ground between the pond and the house.

The ridge area makes an opportunity for a couple of swales on the slopes down from the house site and I can see using the swales to capture water that might have run off of the property and both hold it on the property and flow it back into the pond area.

At this point, I am trying to determine the best location for the house and two art studios, which need to be convenient but not attached and should also be positioned with good solar aspect. Finalizing the house position will allow advancing other elements of the design.

In this instance, there are no clear sector issues, fire, wind, etcetera; the terrain does not offer a clear guide. So, what else should I be looking at?



 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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Are there really no prevailing wind directions, or are they just not apparent yet?


What is behind the property? I would be aiming for a more central point for the house, if it was less than completely certain that nothing obnoxious was going to pop up just past the rear property line. Gravel pit, clear-cut, drives of hunters on forestry land, new suburb... who knows!


Your planned new pond has the advantage of being where you want it, but the disadvantage of not existing yet; is this a good spot to put in a pond from a getting-it-to-seal perspective?


How is the soil on this elevated area where you are thinking of putting the kitchen garden? Is it better somewhere else on the property?

Even if the elevation change is small, you still might find noticeable differences in microclimates around this little ridge. If wind protection is a non-issue, I like the idea of keeping up above cold pockets, assuming all else is equal.


Is the soil you plan to dig out usable for your cob mix?

Are there other construction related upsides to this ridge? Is an earth-sheltered building any part of your plans?


Any obstacles to that driveway? Like low-lying areas where it will flood or turn into a swampy mess?
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Access should play a key role, as should water. If you only have 20 feet of elevation to play with, gravity fed water for the house is probably out. What are the water plans? SE Michigan means pretty cold winters and frost protection for the water system.

Can you find a prevailing wind chart online? My inclination would be to build downwind of the pond for the summertime. Enough summer cooling to not need A.C., but not if bugs are a bigger problem.

Figure out where the access road needs to go for the land, then where along that road you want the house. You need a road for the land use anyway.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Can you post a satellite view of the land?

Have you watched this video? http://geofflawton.com/videos/property-purchase-checklist/
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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https://www.google.com/maps/place/6300+Trumble+Rd,+Jackson,+MI+49201/@42.302061,-84.321419,17z/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x883d29055d363b77:0xab00a3d1026e3a7e?hl=en-us

We shall see if this works.
I have watched Geoff's property selection video multiple times and it has loads of good stuff in it, but part of my dilema regarding this property comes from listening to Geoff. If the land had some more dramatic elevation changes, I have soome ideas about where the house would go.

The hing here is that the elevation changes little, not enough to give gravity feed water, not enough to get much in the way of wind protection without dropping down to frost pocket and wet feet. Really seems to me like the best spot is near the back on high ground that faces south.

Someone suggested putting the house central on the property - that would be where the ponds are Not a good building site.

Existing house was built for convenience to the road, and I think not much else.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Peter Ellis wrote:
The hing here is that the elevation changes little, not enough to give gravity feed water,


I think you said the elevation changes by 20 feet - not enough to provide pressurized water, but certainly enough to move water by gravity!

Not knowing exactly where the property lines are, I've indicated where I would consider placing the house, with the red dot:

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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