House designs for small blocks

by | Nov 1, 2023 | Floor plans, Home design

It’s not a secret that blocks of land are getting smaller. This can be attributed to land being a limited resource but the demand only increasing over time. As a result of this, small blocks are becoming increasingly common in city areas, masterplan communities and even suburban and rural areas. The good news is big things can happen on small blocks, with some of the most in-demand blocks of land actually not being particularly large, there are plenty of house design options for a narrow lot. In this article, we’re focussing on small blocks and narrow lots, and the best house designs for a narrow block home. We’ll ensure that size doesn’t matter when it comes to building your dream home on a small lot.

What is considered a small block of land?

In Brisbane city, a small block of land is any lot with a width smaller than 12m. Brisbane City Council considered any lot that is under 450sqm to be a small lot. When it comes to local council guidelines, different areas may have their own specific definition of what they consider a small block of land, so it’s always worth double-checking.

What are the benefits of building on a small block?

  • Less landscaping and upkeep: A smaller yard means less mowing, trimming and general landscaping costs.
  • Smaller houses are easier to maintain: If you decide to build a smaller house, you’ll have a lot less to clean. Also, fewer features and fixtures mean fewer repairs.
  • Can save costs in the building process: If you build a smaller house, you’ll use fewer materials and require fewer hours of labour. If you’re building a double-storey home, this probably won’t apply.
  • Narrow House Plans can have more space than you realise: By building a double-storey or split-level design, you can have a surprising amount of house area on a small block.

What are the drawbacks of building on a small block?

  • Limited space means limits on the amount of house designs you can choose from.
  • Less yard space than what you’d get on a larger block.
  • Neighbours are likely to be closer.
  • Fewer opportunities for expansion or renovations, such as a pool or shed.

Is a small block of land cheaper to build on?

Possibly, but not necessarily. The size of the land itself won’t be as big of an influence on the price of your build as the following factors:

  • Size of your new build
  • Your new home design
  • The Builder you choose
  • Materials you use

When purchasing the block itself, the location will have a bigger influence on the final cost than the size. A small block in the middle of the city could easily cost three times as much as a larger block in a rural area.

Are there any specific council regulations that relate to building on small blocks?

Yes. In Brisbane, your lot will need to meet the requirements of the Dwelling House (small lot) code. This specifies details such as:

  • Requirements for height
  • Setbacks of the dwelling
  • the outcome for the boundary wall
  • carpark requirements
  • site coverage of new building

You may be able to get an exemption to these rules if you apply to the council. The likelihood of them approving this application is difficult to tell, but it will help if there’s a practical reason for wanting it.

What to look for in a small block of land?

Location: Where you’re buying is just as important as what you’re buying when it comes to land. This applies both in terms of your personal needs and the overall value it’ll add to the property should you choose to resell.

Future Developments in the area: Wherever you’re buying, it’s worth researching whether there are any developments in the pipeline. Depending on what the new development is, your block will become more or less desirable.

Soil Condition: No matter what size your block of land is, you need to perform an independent soil test before you purchase. This could be the difference between buying a lemon and saving yourself from a terrible investment.

Price: It never hurts to research what similar blocks of land are selling for in the area. While no two blocks will sell for the exact same price, you can get a better feel for whether the price you’re being offered is reasonable or a rip-off.

Slope: Sloping blocks aren’t a deal breaker and are pretty common in hilly areas like Brisbane. However, a sloping block will provide challenges that a flat block won’t.

Knowing the terrain of your block is important for many reasons.

5 home designs that would suit a small block of land

Most major builders offer house designs for smaller blocks, so you won’t have a hard time finding options. Below is just a quick sample of some of the options on the market.

Hamilton by G.J. Gardner Homes

If you’re looking for a larger home with all the features that will still fit on a smaller block, the Hamiltion by G.J Gardner Homes may just be the design for you. With a minimum lot width of 10m, the Hamilton provides plenty of house space while maintaining a smaller footprint.

Shine by Brighton Homes

Another double-storey design is ideal for narrow block house designs. Featuring 4 bedrooms including a master suite, multiple living areas and more, it’s another example of not being limited by a smaller block of land.

Hudson S by GW Homes

A spacious design with three bedrooms, two storeys and three bathrooms, this floor plan is perfect for a medium-sized family.

The Ascot by McLachlan Homes

A single-storey 3-bedroom design, the Ascot by McLachlan Homes is an example of the smaller narrow block designs on the market. Ideal for those looking to break into the property market or someone looking to downsize.

Harmony by Stroud Homes

A cosy home design, with a master bedroom and two other bedrooms. Great for a single or couple buying their first home.

Small block home design pre-build consideration

  • A small block doesn’t necessarily mean a small home, you just need to build up. There are plenty of double-storey homes specifically designed for narrow blocks.
  • Before purchasing any block, it’s important to perform your due diligence. This includes soil tests, surveys, and research into the general area.
  • A narrow lot house plan can feel small if done poorly. This is where open floor planning can really…well… open things up. By having living areas, dining room and kitchen being part of a larger space (instead of being walled off), your home will feel more spacious and roomy.
  • Following on from the last point, natural light coming through large windows is a common design choice for narrow-block homes to make them feel more spacious.
  • Talk to Buildi. We can help you find the ideal builder for your land package. We’ll help you decide on a floor plan, be there to take notes during meetings and ensure you get everything promised in your contract.

Looking to buy land? Get free advice from an experienced building broker


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