Having your home on a slope offers beautiful views and more open space. Rolling hills can be a lovely landscaping feature, after all. However, there are also unique construction challenges when building on a slope.
Building your home on a slope can be a great choice if you know what to expect. It’s vital to consider some advantages and disadvantages before starting your building project.
The Pros of Building On a Slope
Houses on a hill often are aesthetically appealing. Here are some of the main reasons you may want to have your home on a slope.
1. You Get Beautiful Views
You can see more than just the ground level when your home is on a slope. If you live in a more rural area, you have views of treetops or mountains. Those in the city can watch the sunset behind a backdrop of skyscrapers. You can also easily see your backyard features, such as a garden. A beautiful view can also increase the resale value of your home.
2. There Is More Opportunity for Landscaping
A house on a hill allows you to be more creative with your landscaping. The different levels provide a variety of design elements. Consider creating tiers to showcase plants and using stone pavers or concrete to form the boundaries.
Another idea is to build stairs to make your house stand out and make it easier to navigate your walkway. Use natural materials, like stone, to create the pathway. Building a waterfall or rock garden are other fun ideas.
3. You Can Have a Walk-Out Basement
This feature allows some parts of the basement to be above ground and get more natural light. You can also have a door that leads directly outside. A walk-out basement provides you with more space for a spare bedroom or home office so you don't have to spend money or time adding on to your house.
4. There Is Plenty of Natural Light
A sloped home gives you more access to natural light. Sunlight provides your body with vitamin D and improves your mood. It can even lower your electric bill by reducing the number of lights you turn on.
5. You Have Privacy
You don't directly face your neighbors when your home is on a slope. In addition, these areas are often less crowded, giving you more privacy. People are now working and socializing from home, so having a secluded spot is essential. Individuals started spending about 62% of their time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, if you live on top of a mountain, the trees provide a greater sense of privacy.
The Cons of Building On a Slope
Even with all these benefits, there are a few cons. Here are some of the disadvantages of having your home on a slope.
1. Accessibility of Equipment Is Challenging
Construction equipment will have a harder time entering the lot. For example, bulldozers are easier to operate on level ground. There is also a safety concern for contactors using the machinery. The complexity of construction also brings an increase in labor expenses. Therefore, it’s vital to plan what equipment you need and how to efficiently get it on-site.
2. Drainage Problems Occur
You want the rainwater to drain away from your home to prevent mold and mildew. However, water running downhill can seep into your house’s foundation. You can dig a swale or grow a rain garden to slow the spread of runoff water.
It’s not just about landscaping. The construction choices you make with the home itself can help, too. For example, constructing a garage with a sloped floor is fairly common in hilly cities like San Francisco partially because it allows for better water drainage. The driveway is another feature that can be optimized for drainage — using permeable pavers can help absorb and control the flow of water.
3. Maintenance Is More Difficult
To take care of your yard, you need to mow the grass regularly. This may be more challenging on uneven ground. You can build a retaining wall and add plants or vegetation that can be cut without a mower. Also, include low-maintenance landscape features, like rocks or small shrubs. Keep in mind that you may pay more for utilities to reach your property.
4. Erosion Can Occur
Water moves down a slope, quickly leading to potential erosion. This occurs when the soil’s surface is worn down due to natural elements. It can damage the environment by preventing new plant growth and polluting waterways.
To avoid this issue, have your contractors look at the soil type. Sandy loam has the best infiltration rate, so the water coming down a slope will soak into the ground.
5. Additional Foundation Work Is Needed
Homes built on a slope require more concrete, deeper excavation and specialized solutions for drainage. The foundation also must be stronger to keep the house stabilized. With all the extra work required, costs for labor and materials are higher. Plus, contractors need to ensure the home is up to code.
Considerations for Building a Sloped Home
Homes on a hill can provide homeowners with more privacy and space. However, building and maintaining the property comes with some challenges. Take all these factors into account before constructing your dream home.