Envision your dream home, perched atop the perfect mountain overlooking the vast landscape below. Feel the warm sun against your skin as you sip your morning coffee and watch the sky turn brilliant colors of red, orange and pink. With each new hour the scenery outside your window changes, an evolving canvas of light and color. A magnificent painting lay before you, a private masterpiece view able only from the window of your custom home.
A home in the mountains offers more than just beautiful landscapes and stunning sunset views. Hillside construction provides a sense of privacy and seclusion that many homeowners desire when considering their dream home. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, a mountainside home can transform daily living into an oasis of tranquility. However, hillside construction has its own set of unique challenges. Follow these 10 steps to ensure your mountainside construction project is built without a hitch.
1. Hire a Local Builder Who Specializes in Mountainside Construction
Before you decide to build your dream home in the mountains, make sure that the new home builder you hire is experienced in hillside construction in your town. Each municipality has its own set of zoning regulations. It is best to find a home remodeling contractor that can provide actual photos and references from previous home builds in your area. A local contractor will understand the soil, topography and hydrology that is involved in your construction project and can guide you throughout the design process.
2. Choose The Location for Your New Home
One of the most important aspects of your custom home build is choosing the location. Mountainside building is environmentally sensitive and follows strict building regulations and zoning ordinances. Many factors influence the choice of location for your home. This includes the type of soil, drainage patterns and boulder formations. All proposed building sites should undergo a thorough analysis, identifying both challenges and opportunities before moving forward with the home design process.
3. Plan Your Home Design With The Natural Landscape
As said by the Father of Arizona building, Frank Lloyd Wright, “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together, each much happier for the other.” When designing your custom home, the placement of the building should be a key consideration. Some important factors to discuss with your home designer are the surrounding views, location of mature vegetation, angle of the sun and prevailing winds. Multi-story buildings should be stepped into the natural contours of the site to establish harmony with the natural landscape.
4. Use Building Materials That Enhance The Mountain
A well-designed mountainside home is a blend of nature and design. Your custom home build should enhance the beauty of the mountain, using colors, textures and materials that coordinate with the natural landscapes. Focus on muted colors that match the desert tones. Shiny metals and other reflective colors should be used minimally. Textured patterns are recommended on the building facade to increase light absorption and tinted windows will help to decrease heat gain. Using desert varnish on exposed rock will enhance the stone’s natural appearance.
5. Avoid Using Excessive Exterior Lighting
Preserve the beauty of the night skies by utilizing exterior lighting that accents and protects without eroding stargazing. Spotlights should be placed on timers or restricted to emergency situations only. Face accent lights towards the ground to decrease light pollution.
6. Protect the Natural Ecosystem in The Landscaping
Utilize native desert vegetation, boulders, and native rocks in your landscaping design. Native shrubs protect the soil surface from monsoon rains, promote water retention and infiltration and reduce erosion. The planting of mature trees will help to maintain the natural ecosystem functions, assisting in the establishment of seedlings, availability of nutrients and decomposition.
7. Choose a Driveway Location That Minimizes Grading
Driveway design should minimize mountainside scarring, and preserve the features of the landscape such as mature saguaros and boulder outcroppings. The slope of the driveway should be designed to meet local ordinances, using retainer walls and natural boulders to minimize the chance of erosion. Using pavers or exposed aggregate will reduce the disturbed area calculation for the driveway.
8. Strategically Place Windows Throughout Your Custom Home Design
Window placement is an important part of a mountainside home build. A properly designed home will utilize windows for natural light as well as beautiful scenery. During the architecture phase of your custom home remodel, make sure to notate the location of the trees, cacti or other interesting landscape elements. Windows are the perfect design accessories to bring the warmth of the mountain to the interior of the home.
9. Use Sustainable Building Designs in Your Construction
Solar power is recommended as a supplemental energy resource and for use in swimming pool systems. Rainwater harvesting systems can be integrated into the landscaping irrigation system, providing an environmentally friendly and sustainable water source for plants and trees.
10. Hire a Company Who Provides a Construction Warranty
Construction warranties provide more than just peace of mind. A warranty will protect you during your home remodeling or new home construction project, ensuring that your home is built to the specifications that were outlined in your contract. Choose a company that provides a minimum of a five-year warranty covering materials and labor.