The supply of land for housing in the greater Sydney region is decreasing, even in the outer-ring suburbs. As a consequence, lot sizes in Sydney have gradually decreased over the past decade. Data from the Urban Development Institute of Australia reveals that greenfield median lot sizes have dropped in Sydney from an average of 520 square metres per block in 2009 to 380 square metres in 2019.
As a consequence, there are more narrow blocks coming onto the market in greenfield locations which is one way to make the land more affordable but it presents some challenges for builders. Established inner suburbs also have narrower blocks because houses were once smaller in urban areas.
At ZAC Homes, we define narrow blocks to be anything less than 12.5 metres wide. For this size land we have a number of home designs that are well suited like the single storey Sienna 20, and the double-storey Solitude 26 and Machu 30, all designed for narrow lots. We also build custom homes and can construct a bespoke home to suit narrow blocks.
Buying a narrow block of land has several advantages and disadvantages but it doesn’t have to stop you from building a new home that suits your lifestyle and budget.
The key to creating your dream home for a narrow block is a clever design incorporating an open plan, high ceilings, loads of natural light, and indoor/outdoor flow.
Pros and cons of a narrow block
Chief amongst the advantages of a narrow block is affordability. Having fewer square metres of land means it costs less, and could be the difference between you building a home you love in an area that you enjoy, or not.
Building on a smaller block can also mean there is less maintenance. Choosing a narrower lot generally means you’ll have a smaller garden which cuts down on your initial landscaping costs as well as the ongoing outlays.
There are some downsides to narrow lots. They can impact the design configurations for your new home, and give you less flexibility. You’ll notice that not all the ZAC Homes designs can fit onto narrow blocks, but there are still many options including custom design.
Parking is a consideration for many families and some narrow lots may mean you have to settle for a single-car garage.
Before you settle for a narrow lot you need to be sure that you can accommodate your lifestyle for you and your family.
Duplex designs for narrow blocks
Well thought out duplex designs enable you to build a dual occupancy home, even if you have a narrow block.
On 1 July 2020, the NSW Government renamed its existing Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code to the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code (LRHDC) to reflect the diverse housing choices it provides. The Code applies to all local government areas in NSW.
Under the code, blocks for duplex homes must be either 400 square metres or the minimum lot size required by the council, whichever is greater. As well, blocks need to be a minimum of 15 metres wide, or 12 metres wide where the required car parking is provided at the rear or accessed by a secondary road.
Many ZAC Homes designs fit a 15-metre wide block including the popular Amazon design. But there is also the option of custom design to suit many other size blocks.
Design tricks for narrow block homes
The key to creating your dream home for a narrow block is a clever design incorporating open plan areas, high ceilings, loads of natural light, clever landscaping, and good flow from the indoors to the outdoors.
An open plan design ensures the living areas of your new home feel larger and welcoming. By incorporating your kitchen, living room and dining room in one area you create a sense of space that you can’t achieve if these rooms are divided by walls. Plus, an adjoining alfresco area will ensure it is part of the living space as well.
If you can’t go outwards, then go vertical with higher than average ceiling heights. By increasing ceiling heights to 2.7 metres you’ll create a feeling of space. Another design trick to create vertical space is a void above the kitchen, dining or living area to open up your home.
Natural light is a key feature in all ZAC Homes designs because it creates a sense of space and openness. Using an open plan design and raising the ceiling heights can increase the amount of natural light that filters through but it can also be achieved through well-placed windows, skylights and glass doors. Natural light will also vary depending on the orientation of your home on your narrow block.
Clever use of space
There are plenty of ways you can cleverly use the smaller space to create a home you’ll love on your narrow block including:
- Choose a double-storey design to maximise the number of square metres you can build
- Build underground, a great way to house your garage, wine cellar, or home gym
- Build as close to the boundary as your council requirements allow
- Use sliding doors because they take up less room, and minimise your hallway length to cut down on unusable areas
- Consider multi-purpose rooms that could double as a home office by day, and living space by night
- Buy furniture that includes storage space.
An alfresco dining area will help with a sense of space and the indoor/outdoor connection but it’s not the only link a narrow lot house can have to the outdoors. Boundary walls with vertical gardens can provide a feeling of bringing the outdoors in with the clever use of large windows.
Custom design with ZAC Homes
At ZAC Homes, we consider custom-designed homes to be those that are designed from scratch to suit the client’s requirements. We call this service ‘Tailored Approach’.
At ZAC Homes if you want full flexibility with the design of your new home then you can work with our experienced in-house designers to craft a design that is perfect for your lifestyle and narrow block.
Our designers will work with you and your family to make your vision for your new home come to life. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.