Slopes either fall away from the road level down to the back boundary or rise upwards from the road. The upward gradient is more expensive to build upon due to extensive earthworks such as excavation and retaining walls, which may also cause erosion, drainage and land slippage. Traditional building methods with block work footings and piers become more expensive when building on a slope.
Attractive and unique designs can achieved with intelligent solutions to building on steep blocks. Significant cost savings can be obtained by using innovative building methods to follow the natural contours of the surrounding area in a sympathetic design with a low environmental impact.
A split level home is an effective design to reduce the amount of earthmoving needed on a steep block. The structure is staggered with the various levels abutting each other or being joined by walkways. The buildings can also be freestanding pods with alfresco courtyards and landscaping between them.
Pole homes are another option which utilise light weight building materials on a flat base supported by poles, sometimes cantilevered from a slope out over a void. Excellent air flow and cooling can be achieved with sloping home designs, which also lend themselves to future extensions. Spectacular views are often a feature of steep sites and it is important to optimise this aspect in the design.