Of course, nothing is perfect the first time around.
Forgive me if this is hard to explain without pictures.
I’d drawn up a site plan (on the computer screen) for where I believed our house, driveway and eventual garage should go. I’d angled the house on the section to give it the best use of both the view and the sunlight. The view is to the east-southeast but (this being New Zealand) the sunshine is northerly. So our largest windows all face east-northeast (view is still there, just not front on), and I’d deliberately added a large window to the kitchen (facing southwest) which will bring in a bit of the late afternoon light.
Only… it didn’t work. Or rather, the angles worked (although they proved very hard to pinpoint on a section that is not square) but the position of the house didn’t. See, there’s a flat-ish building platform that the developer had already cut into the clay of our hillside. He has this platform running east-west, with the expectation that the house would face the road to the south. I thought that facing a house towards the shade was a completely stupid idea, but our little house is nowhere near the same size as the platform, so we could lay our long, skinny rectangle of a building virtually north-south across the platform and still have plenty room to spare. Angling it creates problems though. One end now needs to be cut back into the hillside above, while the other end is dangling in space over the slope below.
Fortunately, when meeting with the earthmover guy this morning, we could tromp around and discuss how we could cut clay from one part of the (already cut back) slope and dump it in another spot to pack out the land under the house. We also have a similar problem with where we’d like to site the driveway – with the land falling away too steeply at one point and needing to be filled out. As the pre-existing building platform is now largely stretching off to the west of the house, basically forming a back yard, I suggested that we steal clay from this spot and replace it with the top soil we’ll have to scrape off the driveway. This will not only give us a firmer base of clay under the southern-most end of the house (and under the driveway), but it will give me top soil that I can use for a vegetable garden in the back yard.
We also agreed to roll the house back by about 2 metres. This brings it deeper into the hillside, but will give it a much more solid footing overall.
Also fortunately, I had my laptop there with me. So after the earthmover guy had left, and Rob and I had nipped up to the local store to get our lunch of pies and chips (not many choices really), I sat in the car and re-drew and re-measured our site plan. Then we staked it out on the section for a second time. And it worked much better.
Next weekend I may get up to planting some trees… hopefully. That will be much more fun.