Two-bedroom hillside family home

Wednesday July 11 2018

Artistic impression of the house.

Artistic impression of the house.  

By Carolyne B Atangaza

Very rarely landscape influences the style of the house. This house plan is meant to be constructed on a slanted plot or hillside. Building a home on a hillside is an attractive idea for the most obvious advantage that the greater elevation can provide superior views of surrounding areas compared to those built on flat land.
According to the designer of this plan, Simon Peter Kazibwe, the elevation of the land also allows one to get more creative which usually results in a stunning house.

This plan has two bedrooms and a master suite. The ground floor contains the general bathroom, a laundry room, one of the bedrooms, the family room, the living room, the kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room. It also has three shades two at the back and one at the front.
The second floor has the master suite which has an en suite bathroom and walk in closet. The second bedroom has a family balcony. The first floor also has a pergola and a balcony that gives the family a view of the surrounding area. A pergola is an outdoor arched structure used as a shaded sitting area or walkway.

According to Kazibwe, constructing on a hillside comes with its specific challenges which need to be considered before the project can begin. “One of the biggest challenges is landscaping. The foundation of the house has to be reinforced in such a way that the earth embraces the structure,” Kazibwe explains.
Another big consideration is the choice of materials. For the house to blend in with its surroundings, dark materials on the exterior such as wood are preferred. “There should be a balance between the dark and the light-coloured exterior material. This contrast will help the house stand out against the landscape,” Kazibwe adds.

Charity Mugasha, an architect with Wazo design lab, says building on a hilltop takes extra planning and execution. “The drainage system of a hillside construction gets a little complicated. Pools of water collecting at the bottom of a steep hill can lead to erosion and require additional retaining walls. If the sewage system is situated uphill, you may need to have a pump installed, while if it’s at the foot of a slope it might be necessary to have a drop manhole in place to slow the passage of water,” Mugasha advises.
Kazibwe observes that building on a hill largely removes this layer of protection, leaving your home more susceptible to the elements. You will need to find materials and plants that can withstand such harsh consideration. The plan is designed to fit on a 50X100 plot size or bigger is estimated to cost Shs150m to construct.

Appropriate landscaping
Asaad Tamale Kabugo, a landscaper, opines that landscaping on a steep site can be quite expensive considering the length of the area we are looking at. Landscaping on slopes requires some attention to detail. Before deciding on which construction to go with, you must understand the forces that will affect the driveway and what is required to control them. This may mean extra reinforcement and the use of concrete, cement and sand or sacked soil toprevent erosion. Those with flexible budgets can consider fencing using heavy logs of wood enforced with iron bars.
Steeped areas are versatile when it comes to design possibilities if you plan correctly and work with the right landscaper.

“A general rule of thumb is that landscaping should reflect its locale. So the idea is to retain as much of the already existing plantation and make it an integral part of the design,” he adds. Other factors to consider include planting to soften the impact of new buildings, plants like conifers may provide quick-growing cover, but should be used only sparingly. Broad-leafed trees with deep tap roots are preferable.
The best way to decrease the landscaping costs on a hilltop site Kabugo advises is to build curves and meandering driveways instead of straight ones,” Kabugo elaborates.
To bring out such landscaping concepts is not cheap yet it is necessary Kabugo warns. He estimates the cost of landscaping this particular plan to be around Shs15m and above.

-This is not a definitive plan, the actual plan can be got from an architect or architectural designer.