Welcome to Lot 723 One Tree Hill Road, Gould Creek

Posted by Benjamin Close on January 21, 2009 under Country Living | 4 Comments to Read

Lot 723 One Tree Hill Road

Lot 723 One Tree Hill Road, Gould Creek

Welcome to the first in many articles about the creation of Carly and my dream paradise at Lot 723, One Tree Hill Road, Gould Creek, South Australia, Australia

On the 29th of August 2008, Carly and I became the proud owners of 16.8 acres of land at Gould Creek,  South Australia.  The block is located 7 minutes away from suburbia and in a typical country environment. It’s a little hilly in places but there’s ample room to build a house, shed and to have a family. Together with room for a mini farm!

Now August is a long way in the past, it’s now January. Hence there has been lots of developments that have happened.  We knew when we bought the place that there were some major challenges ahead of us. Among them were: where to build, what to build, who to build with, what to do for power/water (there’s no mains anything on the block).

Over the last few months (and even the months leading up to the ownership of the land) we have been debating/researching these questions. Since then we have gone through many display homes, many house designs and found that none of them were exactly what we wanted.  Some were very close but none of them were perfect.

You see the problem is we are aiming to build a self sustainable home. Sadly most traditional houses are not designed with energy efficiency in mind, most builders don’t give two hoots about whether your house is oriented to maximise things like solar heating/passive cooling, whether you’ll have enough insulation, whether the roof is orientated to maximise solar coverage –  They really just don’t care.  All they are after is a quick sale, not deviating from the norm, to make some quick money.

So after looking at many designs we found one we like. Then we met our neighbours….

No, our neighbours aren’t the neighbours from hell,  far from it they are some of the nicest people I’ve met. However, they alerted us to the fact that the council may have a few words to say about our house design and the location we wanted to build. Turns out our block is 1 of 503 located in a zone called ‘Hill Face Zone’. This zone has an aim to be, well, kept as natural as possible. Not only that, we are in the Tea Tree Gully Council, a council notorious for being hard to deal with.

This is where our dramas started. Seems there’s lots of regulations that apply in hills face zone, that don’t apply in other zones. Some of these include:

  • Needing to build below a ridge
    • There goes our plans to build on top of the hill
  • Needing to blend in to the environment
    • Ie, no red brick, no red roofs, etc – not a problem for us
  • A maximum roof height
    • Not a problem for us
  • Needing to follow the contour of a hill
    • This made us change the design of our house to suit

There’s more but this is just what I remember at the moment!

Anyway with these rules in mind we designed our house, found a builder and started things in motion. At present we are in the process of finalizing engineering details and selection details.. that’s where this article stops and the process of creating our paradise begins… stay tuned for more.

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  • Andres Salomon said,

    If it were me, I’d be going for an Earthship (see wikipedia for details). That covers your sustainability, water, power, etc. Not sure how much the council would like that, but..

  • Benjamin Close said,

    Council and cost is the biggest problem. I spoke to council about the Earthship concept and was basically told *bugger off*. Seems whilst it is sustainable, it’s so far from council regulations it scary! So in other words:
    o Council: Build to enhance the environment
    o Us: Can we build an earthship which conforms with that, uses recycled everything, is environmentally sound, etc.
    o Council: You must build a standard home

    We just can’t win 🙁

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