When you build a home, you probably review a wide array of designs, from steep-roofed Cape Cod plans to sprawling brick ranches. Most likely, you choose one based on its aesthetics, the shape and size of your lot, and your budget. You might never think about the reasons why the architects made the homes the way they do.
The fact is that the unique climate conditions of any given location play a big role in what type of homes are best suited for that area, as well as what things are done outside the home. If we follow the logic of the designers and planners, we’ll see that it makes perfect sense.
Starting on the outside, let’s tour an imaginary home and think about how its features will vary from place to place.
As you approach a home, much of its look is derived from what trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses are around it. Thanks to home design magazines and websites, many people try to do things in their own areas that were developed for very different weather conditions, and they end up with an expensive failure.
The options for landscaping are almost limitless, but the common thread anywhere is grass. With the exception of desert areas, everyone has some type of grass, but some people may choose the wrong one thanks to those beautiful photos of yards located hundreds of miles away.
That’s the advantage of buying seed from a reputable source. Nature’s Seed doesn’t just provide a list of available types, it also helps guide you through the selection process so that you’ll choose a grass that’s appropriate for your particular climate.
Water is a powerful force. The destruction it can create as it moves, freezes, and thaws is unbelievable. Its presence on your home site can alter everything you do, but most people pay more attention to the kitchen table than the water table.
Think of New Orleans. The city’s cemeteries are unique in that all the interments are in vaults or mausoleums–never in the ground. That’s because much of the city is below sea level, and the upward pressure of water would force caskets to rise to the surface. That also means that homes in the Big Easy either can’t have basements or will require extensive sump pump systems to keep those spaces dry.
In higher elevations, basements are easier. Gravity pulls water away from homes before it has time to intrude into the basements.
Those beautiful windows might sound good on paper, but a couple of weeks of below-zero low temperatures may have you wishing for some sheetrock and insulation. Colder areas require homes that minimize the effects of winter weather. They often feature steep roofs to allow snow to slide off. Insulation is beefed up, and poured concrete walks are preferred over textured stones so that snow removal is easier.
In hot areas, landscaping plays a big role. Large shade trees on the sunniest aspects of the home will help lower cooling costs and provide refuge for kids playing outside or tired grass cutters. And warmer areas call for more extensive use of outdoor living spaces.
We live in a mobile society with lots of communication. We relocate from place to place, trying to duplicate our previous homes in a new weather zone. We look at designs online and in books, failing to note the types of areas where they are best suited.
The good news is that we can still find a home and a landscape design that will look beautiful, save us money, provide affordable functionality, and withstand the elements. It just takes a little research.
Images: Coats Homes.
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