Rural Homes - Design considerations

Where you should locate and site your house and what it should look like

The location and siting of your house is just as important as what it looks like. To help you, the broad meanings of location, siting and design have been set out below. This is followed by a table which provides detailed information on the key design considerations relating to each term.

Location:

Careful positioning within the wider landscape. New build should try to fit into the landscape and respect traditional settlement patterns. Consideration should also be given to constraints on locations such as local development plan policies, the potential for flooding and proximity to utilities.

Siting: 

Responding to the character of your site to achieve a well designed layout. This is important because a poor layout can detract from good design. Layout considerations relate particularly to topography and site levels, and how best to use these to create an attractive and practical site. Creating a well designed site, with careful consideration of where and how the house is placed on site can also save money - from extensive site preparation works to running costs. For example, orientating the house to enhance shelter and solar gain can help retain heat and reduce energy consumption. Consideration must also be given to access (driveways), drainage and hard surfacing (parking), as well as to landscaping which can be used to integrate your house into its surroundings.

Design:

What your house looks like. This can be described as the choice of building materials and colours. It also includes details such as the style of windows, doors, dormers, chimneys, porches and conservatories.

The Scottish Government strongly supports good rural house design. In November 2011, it published a document called Rural Design: Future Landscapes. This brings together a range of rural design initiatives which have been carried out by the Government in conjunction with two rural local authorities. In particular, there was collaboration between Scotframe, Proctor & Matthews Architects and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on a kit house re-design exercise. The idea behind the project was to create a new portfolio of houses, more in-keeping with Scotland's rural vernacular.

Location, siting and design considerations

Location

Careful positioning in the wider landscape

Landscape

Landscape

Main Aim
Nestle into the landscape

How To Achieve
Site the house in the natural lie of the land. Avoid dominating the skyline or the waterline.


Orientation - Roads

Orientation

Main Aim
Assess proximity and relationship to the road

How To Achieve
Build close to the road if this has been established as the traditional pattern.
Build either parallel or perpendicular to the road following the established pattern.


Buildings

Buildings

Main Aim
Look at the orientation of surrounding buildings

How To Achieve
Follow the established building lines look at the direction the front door and main elevation face on existing houses.


Climate

Climate

Main Aim
Maximise sunshine and minimise wind

How To Achieve
Following the traditional lines for the positioning of your house in relationship to roads and buildings will often maximise solar gain and minimise wind-chill. If you wish to build on a more isolated site, you will need to orientate the house in response to the climate.


 

Siting

Respond to the character of your site

Slope
This refers to the ground levels

Slope

Main Aim
Use sloping sites to create a difference in level for the house

How To Achieve
Avoid mounding your site i.e. creating an over engineered platform.
Balance cutting into and filling the site, if groundworks are essential.
Avoid any excessive or uneven block underbuild.


Size
The size of your house in relation to your site

Size

Main Aim
Ensure your house fits well within your plot

How To Achieve
Ensure your house does not dominate the plot, leaving no space around it.
Sufficient open garden space should be considered as an integral part of your development.
Carefully consider the siting and design of garages and outbuildings so as not to be as prominent as the house.


Shape
The form and shape of the houses footprint

Shape

Main Aim
Create the right shape and proportions

How To Achieve
Break up the mass of your house to create the right footprint.


Access

Access

Main Aim
Create an access from existing entrance points

How To Achieve
Consider using an access that already exists. Ensure safe and sufficient access is provided to the development.


Parking

Parking

Main Aim
Ensure safe and low profile parking

How To Achieve
Lower the visual impact of car parking by allowing for it to be positioned at the rear of the house.
Avoid hard surfaces dominating the plot.


 

Design

Create the right style and features for your house

Roof

Roof

Main Aim
Use strong plain roof pitches

How To Achieve
Use a pitch of 40-45 degrees, where possible, with a simple layout.
Opt for dual pitch roofs with gables.
Try to have all the pitches in the roof structures the same pitch.
Generally avoid mono pitch, mansard and complex roof structures.
Only use a hipped roof if it works with the proportions of the house.


Windows

Windows

Main Aim
Keep windows vertical

How To Achieve
Ensure that windows generally have a vertical emphasis and a simple design.
Consider using dormer windows that are of the same style, proportion and roof pitch as the main house design.
Ensure that window proportions are consistent throughout the house.
Have a definite lintel so that windows are clear of the eaves.


Materials

Materials

Main Aim
Use natural materials

How To Achieve
Allow for finishes, like natural stone, wet dash render and slate. Timber, artificial slates, profile sheeting or turf roofs are alternatives. Try to use sustainable building materials.


Ornamentation

Ornamentation

Main Aim
Avoid excess decoration and embellishments

How To Achieve
Avoid complex porch designs; set out or slender chimney stacks; feature panels; quoins and arches.


Boundaries

Boundaries

Main Aim
Ensure sensitive and in-keeping

How To Achieve
Avoid high fences or concrete block walls where a simpler approach would work better.





Register to download our pdf brochures
Request a printed brochure
View our interactive brochure
Browse our picture galleries