Blog post

Perth’s Best Home Designs for Narrow Lots

8 May 2017

Having a narrow lot doesn’t mean you have to settle for a small home. Here are 5 Top Reasons to Build a Narrow Lot Home.

Once a upon a time, West Australian homes were built to suit acreage blocks. Now however with block sizes shrinking, narrow lot homes are becoming a viable choice for home builders providing benefits such as affordability, premium location choice and the flexibility of upgrading to two storey.

Being a much more common request than they once were, Perth builders like Plunkett Homes are leading the way with their specialsed narrow lot home designs that are small in size but big on value and design.

Ben Leitch, an experienced Narrow Lot Home and Unit Development Design Consultant at Plunkett Homes, says its achievable to produce very attractive, livable designs both in single and two storey designs on narrow lots.

“The outcomes can be very good, especially if the client wants a minimal garden to look after” he says.

“The most compelling reason to consider a narrow lot home is you will not be living behind someone’s house, or if you like living in someone’s backyard - you will face the street with access directly to the street. Most of these types of sub-divided blocks are reasonably close to the CBD, so it can be a great way of leaving the outer suburbs (30 to 40km away) and getting back to somewhere like Morley, Cannington, Melville or Riverton and cutting down commuting time.”

An attractive narrow lot home, the Ardross is a four bedroom family home that will impress.

Narrow Lot Home Design Factors to Consider

Building your new home on a narrow lot comes down to location, garage size choice, site related costs and neighbour contribution.

 “If the prospect is looking at established older suburbs, then it’s more likely most of the narrow lots available will be at least 9.0m wide (half an 18.0m wide block) or 10.0m wide (half a 20.0m wide block).”

“Garages can pose a problem on narrow lot blocks, but with our free Plunkett Home design service design, we can work within council regulations and often deliver what the client wants.”

When it comes to saving on money, Ben said it pays to inspect the land as this will have a big impact on site related costs.

“The number one thing I warn my clients about when looking at purchasing a narrow lot home is to make sure it is not sloping wildly from side-to-side, or front-to-back, or back-to-front, as this can have a big impact on site related costs and neighbours on either side (whom are not expected to contribute to the cost of new retaining walls and new fencing). In my long years’ of experience, I’ve never had a neighbour contribute – even when the outcome was advantageous for them. So be prepared its either a flat block or bigger site costs.”

The second item I warn my clients if they are thinking of purchasing compromise lots (or blocks) in confined spaces because of great views in different directions is that in most cases you will not be able to take advantage of them, especially if you are overlooking your neighbours back, side or front yards.

Need more convincing a narrow lot home is for you?

1. Innovative Designs (Bigger is not Always Better)

With narrow lot homes often coming with a pre-concieved stigma that they are ‘cramped’ or ‘too small’, builders like Plunkett Homes are designing homes that surpass expectations by including innovative design elements to raise a sense of spaciousness.

Raised ceilings, skylights, floor to ceiling windows and open plan spaces that mix indoor to outdoor living spaces give narrow lot homes a real feel for flow of movement and space, while still keeping that backyard.

In addition, a narrow lot home is forced to be different through necessity, leading to striking design features that aren’t so common. 

Narrow lot homes need not compromise on quality with a design like the San Sebastian – a 10m block on 280sqm – a slim fit that still boasts 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, double garage, spacious kitchen and scullery, study, second lounge room and alfresco. The design also shows the thought that goes into utilising as much space as possible – such as the stair case having a storage area underneath it. 


2. Smarter Space Maximisation (Flexibility of Building a Two Storey Home)

Builders are taking the perceived size restrictions of narrow lots and turning them into advantages by making use of space in innovative ways. The challenge with a narrow lot home is to ensure that the comfort and livability of the design is up to (if not better) than standard of typical 4x2 home designs.

More often the case, this challenge can be met with building a two storey home, which is a smart way to capitalise on limited space and keep the backyard, without compromising on your lifestyle.

By planning open plan living areas and taking advantage of storage opportunities (like turning space underneath the stairs into a shelving unit), building a two storey home can help maximise space and give you that swimming pool or family backyard for cricket you have always wanted.

3. Live in a Premium Suburb Location (Coastal or Inner City Living)

If you prefer a suburb that is close to the beach or city, finding a large block of land can be a rare and a possibly expensive find. However, with more home owners sub-dividing their land, sometimes narrow, battle axe blocks in, or near the inner city and coastal suburbs can be found.

With over 100 years of building experience, Plunkett Homes is able to design narrow lot homes and custom-designs to suit such unique-shaped blocks found in such premium built up locations, helping you to build in that sought after suburb you desire.

And while building in a popular suburb can be costly, the big advantage of narrow lot homes is they help reduce further cost excess.

4 .Affordability

With lot size a huge factor behind Perth land prices, it goes without saying - the smaller the lot, the smaller the price - depending on location, of course.

Also by buying a narrow lot home, you may be able to squeeze into your perfect inner city location or a premium coastal location.

Alternatively, you could build your narrow lot home in a more affordable suburb, freeing up funds to spend on other luxuries – like a swimming pool (if you build two storey). 

There are many creative and smart ways to enhance your backyards space (even if you don’t choose to build two storey). Hanging vertical wall plants outside and once again creating an indoor to outdoor flow help make the backyard larger than it really is. 


5. Environmentally Friendly (Less Maintenance, Less Cost)

Rather than have large grassed areas in the front and backyards, narrow lot homes tend to have porches and alfresco areas in order to maximise the amount of living space on the narrow block of land. This lends itself to being a more environmentally friendly type of home, as water spent on gardening and maintenance of outdoor areas is considerably reduced.

With any home, it’s also important for the design to be solar passive and incorporate the best orientation for maximum energy, efficiency and comfort. Plunkett Homes takes all this into consideration.

Narrow lot homes are more environmentally friendly than traditional homes due to not needing as much garden maintenance and water spent. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden! Invest in artificial turf to add colour and life into your backyard.

Ben’s Takeaway Tips & Tricks For Narrow Lots

  • You’re better off spending more on a flat block than going for a cheaper block with a little slope.
  • When retaining issues and stepping of the house is compounded – the narrow the block will be. By saving $20,000 on the block could cost you another $50,000 on the house.
  • Orientation/overshadowing – if you have fallen in love with a block and then a house, many people don’t consider the orientation of the block. Depending on the zoning of the block you can only overshadow 35 or sometimes 25% of the neighbouring block. In saying that, North/South blocks are best.
  • Easements are not a scary thing – Easement are a fact of life with building on inner city blocks but many people think you can’t build inside them. I like easements as most sellers think they will get less for these blocks because of it. Do your homework and talk to us at Plunkett Homes – we offer a free service to help you work out the best outcome for your block before you put that offer in.
  • Be realistic – building on a narrow block is more expensive per square meter. So don’t assume that the cheap ‘promo’ home will cost the same on a narrow lot. You need to consider building on boundaries, court yards, store rooms (For survey strata blocks).


View Our Narrow Lot Homes Range

Plunkett Homes is Western Australia’s oldest and most experienced home builder specialists in designing narrow lot homes that have what you need without you having to compromise on block shape and size.

View Plunkett Homes Narrow Lot Range featuring home designs for 8m to 12m wide lots. If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, Plunkett Homes can create a custom home design based on what you want. Enquire about Plunkett Homes complimentary design service today.

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