Tip of the Month: Thinking Outside the... House

You decide on a floor plan, the exterior facade, and before you know it, it's time to put a shovel in the ground and start digging the beams of the foundation for a new home. And while the end goal for any home builder is to construct a new residence for an owner, there's more to the home than just the walls and roof. For instance, there's everything on the outside of the house that you need to consider. Things like the exterior landscaping, driveways and pathways, gutters and proper drainage. To ensure a successful home build, you can't just focus on the materials and construction that gets put into the home itself — it's also important to think outside the home. Here's a closer look at the exterior features that should be given thought during the building process:

Thinking Outside the Home

So what features should be noted on the exterior of the home? Here's a look at some of them (as well as their importance in the overall makeup of the home):

  • Landscaping: Landscaping is important to a home for several reasons. For instance, when done right, it can really help improve the home's curb appeal. But landscaping can also play a role in the energy efficiency of a home. When the right trees, shrubs and flowers are planted, they don't just look nice; they can also help provide shade to certain parts of the home and work to help bring in cooling breezes when the windows are open. 

  • Pavement: Most new homes have driveways leading up to garages. But you may not realize how important driveways — and any other paved areas — are to the home. For instance, pavement should be poured in a way that it slopes away from the foundation so as not to lead to water damage. Any concrete must also be properly supported and poured in order to ensure a safe, stable area for parking cars, walking and playing on. 

  • Gutters: Water damage to a home can be devastating. But what many homeowners may not realize is that they could be helping to facilitate water damage because of something as seemingly simple as the gutters. The main purpose of a home's gutters is to redirect rain water away from the foundation of the home. Ideally, they should slope a half inch for every 10 feet of gutter toward the downspout to ensure water drains appropriately and doesn't overflow during periods of heavy rain. Gutter extenders may also be necessary to redirect downspouts further away from the foundation. Usually ensuring that downspouts are draining at least 3 feet away from the home is ideal. After installation, gutter maintenance falls on the homeowner. After all, clogged or damaged gutters aren't going to do their jobs of redirecting water properly.

  • Drainage: While gutters capture water that falls on a home's roof, there's all the rest of the falling rain water that should be addressed. Often times, water damage and foundation erosion occur if the land outside the home is sloped toward — and not away — from the home. The soil around a home should be sloped away from it at about 5 degrees to ensure that rainwater runs away from your home and not toward it. Other exterior drainage solutions that might come in handy include French drains.

  • Backyard Experience - Putting the time into making  a plan for what you want to incorporate into your homes backyard for entertaining or pleasure can you save you time and money in the long run. Adding in gas piping for a fire pit or electrical for a future pool are easy to add in while a home is being built. Another item to keep in mind is where your septic spray fields and sprinklers will hit. You would for sure want to keep that in mind when planning out a playground structure, landscaping or garden area. 

While the inside of the home often gets most of the attention, you can see just how important some of the exterior features are as well. In fact, in the case of drainage solutions and gutters, these exterior features can perhaps play a big role as far as interior comfort goes when you factor in water intrusion, which each feature helps prevent. So don't just think about the inside of the home when building, but the outside too.

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