Design Solutions for Challenging Lots

– iStock 987236538 – Design Solutions for Challenging Lots

Odd lots can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how builders approach them. With the right design, you can create unique properties that stand out from the pack. If done poorly, you could end up with an undesirable home that barely recoups your building costs. Here are some tips for developing house plans for the odd-shaped lots, which seem to be popping up everywhere.


It’s not uncommon for builders to pass up certain lots because they appear too difficult to develop. In many suburban areas of the country, you will find overlooked land parcels that are good candidates for infill projects. The reason? They’ve been ignored because builders viewed their sizes or shapes as an unwelcome challenge.

With all forms of infill housing, builders must engage in extensive planning if they hope to seamlessly introduce homes among existing structures. Probuilder.com outlines an assortment of infill design solutions for these types of lots, with each addressing specific complications that might normally scare builders away.

Narrow Lots

With the increase in land value and drop in single-family home density, lot widths are getting narrower. This presents some natural challenges for builders and designers. Many have responded with a variety of design tactics aimed at prioritizing privacy, creating a sense of openness and increasing livable space. Probuilder.com also has several useful tips for builders who are looking for design ideas to help them make the most of narrow lots.

Sloping Lots

As level building locations become scarce in developing areas, modern builders often face the challenge of fitting new homes onto sloped lots. The right plan can save significant time and money, which would otherwise be wasted adapting a traditional flat-lot plan to a hillside lot. Just like other challenging lot scenarios, sloping lots do come with unique possibilities, including walk-out basements and day-lit garages which support decks. You can find all sorts of innovative, downloadable design plans for sloping lots at Builder Houseplans, the official house plan and blueprint site of Builder Magazine.

Small Lots

A common sight in older suburbs, small lots also challenge builders to come up with innovative design strategies to create attractive homes. In one of our recent blog posts, we outlined some of the more effective design strategies for smaller lots. If you are desperate to find a suitable lot, or simply enjoy the intellectual challenge of working with limited space, these tips can provide some useful inspiration.

Embracing the Challenge

While they certainly come with challenges, odd lots give builders the opportunity to secure affordable building spaces. At the same time, they also allow builders to create distinctive structures that stand out from neighboring inventory. To successfully craft lean designs that are attractive to buyers, however, a constructive collaboration is needed among the architect, building team and trades. This is fundamental to maximizing limited space, while elevating margins and limiting unnecessary costs. In the end, some good planning can be the difference between a golden opportunity and a costly disaster.


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