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Site Orientation

Posted on Jan 19, 2018

Site orientation is one of the first, and most important things you will decide when designing your dream timber frame home. So, what exactly is site orientation? Site orientation includes how the home (and its living spaces) set on the property in relation to access, privacy, views, and the path of the sun.

You will select the orientation of your home before defining and refining the layout. While this seems counter-intuitive, establishing a general idea of location and views is essential prior to designing your home. Your designer will try to get the most information possible about your site to select the best orientation. Helpful information includes:

  • satellite pictures,
  • topographic maps,
  • photos of your property,
  • and your interpretation of the site and how you want it to work.

Your designer will also ask you questions about the four main factors – access, privacy, views, and the path of the sun – that affect site orientation.


How you will drive up to your house will determine where your garage or parking spaces are located. If there is an existing driveway on your property, the choice may already be made for you. You will need to decide if you are willing to build a new driveway if you want to park somewhere else.


timber frame home site orientationIf you are in a neighborhood, you want to avoid positioning more private areas, like a bedroom, towards the public area of a neighbor’s home, and vice versa. In the country where there are wide open spaces, you might create privacy by placing your home far from the road and facing your great room away from it.


Many future timber frame homeowners have a property that overlooks a lake or river. They want to maximize the views from as many rooms as possible. Determining a primary and a secondary view while picking the site orientation gives you guidance in conjunction with your other desires. If you want to split up your sleeping quarters, you might consider aligning the secondary bedrooms with your secondary view.

Path of the Sun

Sunlight primarily comes from the south, moving east to west throughout the day. How does this factor into the placement of your home? Natural light.

If your view faces north, you will still get natural light though it will be less than a south facing view. Designers can compensate for limited natural light coming from one direction by using an open floor plan or clerestory windows. In addition, if you plan to put solar panels on your home, a large portion of your rooftop will need to face south.

What if two of your desires conflict?

An example of site orientation conflict is when the best view from the house is exactly where your driveway needs to be. While it can be difficult to envision a solution on your own, a degreed architect can develop a creative solution. They may suggest wrapping the driveway around the home so the garage is on the opposite side thus preserving the view.

Another conflict future homeowners face is finding a plan they love that does not work with their desired site orientation. When thinking about site orientation and standard floor plans, remember that every Riverbend design can be customized to take advantage of your site. Our designers can even start your design from scratch to incorporate everything you want.

Need More Information?

Whether you’re looking for more information or would simply like to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Please follow the link below to access our online form or call us at 888.486.2363 in the US or 888.999.4744 in Canada. We look forward to hearing from you.

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