where would you put the house?

rsj722(7)November 10, 2005

Need some advice. We purchased 5 1/2 acres in tennessee. The tract is wooded at the moment. Currently we live on a typical lot which is .23 acres in a suburb...we are in the planning stages of having our home built on the acreage..and are completely lost as to where to put the house. Help! There is one access road into the property and we want to keep the wooded area along that road...for privacy...how far off of the road would you go in to build the house? We have an easement of 20ft...but want to go further of course. We plan to add pasture land for horses, a couple of outbuildings, a pond (in an already wet area of the land) and want to leave some of the surrounding wooded area for the wildlife. Suggestions on layout would be so helpful..planning 5 acres is not the easy job I had anticipated.



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chiefgraybear(East Tennessee)

I live in East Tennessee, half way between Knoxville and Chatanooga, on 5 acres. My land is rolling with a year round live creek and a "wet spring". My house is located almost 500 feet from the road on a hillside. Have you had a perk test done on the property to determine where you will be putting the septic system? You really don't want to be a long way from your septic tank for convienence sake, but you want to be at least 100' from your well to your septic. The location of your home depends on the elevation of your land. Sence you have a "wet spring" on your land, you want to be higher than that. Wet springs usually have underground streams as well. In places on my land, I can dig two feet and hit a void that's six feet deep, like a sink hole that hasn't sunk yet. The location of the house could also be determined by the placement of your power pole and the distance from the road to the chosen building site. Call out a representive from the power company and see what they recomend. It has been my experience that they don't charge for one pole to be put up, but they will charge for each pole over one. And if you decide to put your lines underground, it could be quite expensive, depending on the distance from the power pole to your site. I guess that the steps I would recommend would be;
1) get the perk test done and locate the site for the septic.
2) locate the site for the well. Use a "Dowser/Water witch" to find the location of the best flow of water. I know, this sounds old fashion and superstitous, but they do truly work.
3) have a representive from the power company come out and advise you about the placement of the power line.
4) Keep the elevation of the wet spring in mind and keeping your building site as far away from it as possible.
5) Keep in mind any restrictions you may have on your property as well that may be a determing factor of the location of the building site.
6) if you have a plat map, (and you should), draw lines from one site to the other and where they intersect is where you should locate the house.
Without knowing exactly where your property is located, I'm afraid that this is all I can recommend.
Best of luck, Gray Bear

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 3:09PM
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That was all very good advice and very much appreciated.
Just a couple of things...plat map? We have the survey map of the property which was done by the original owner when he decided to sell it. Is that what you speak of? If there is another map, how would I get a hold of that?
now, we just had the perc test done and are awaiting the paperwork on that. We had the well drilled already, and we used a water witch to locate the water, some people would find that odd, but I happen to believe in it..it worked out perfectly for us, otherwise we would have spent alot of money trying to figure out where the water was. I highly recommend it to everyone! The power poles we will be tying into are on the back of the property, opposite from the access road I'm afraid, however, we were informed that the power company will give us 3 free power poles, and it's extra cost after that. Unfortunately, we are doing all of this long distance, as we currently live in Florida, so it is all a bit for difficult. Now, in #6--did you mean to draw a line between the well and perc area and situate the house in the middle? The land is located on Keith Springs Mountain, just outside of Winchester..this is about an hour west of chatanooga around the TN, AL border. The acreage is pretty level, perhaps just slightly rolling. We do have the benefit of the original owner living close to us and he's been very helpful in indicating were water seems to collect. Additionally, you can pretty much tell which areas to not build on..as they have a lot of moss growing.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 3:42PM
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chiefgraybear(East Tennessee)

The plat map is usually provided by a survey company. If the old owner has a certified plat map rather than one he had drawn up, that would be better than relying on his memory or description. The plat map will give you the exact footage along the property lines, as well as any easements or right of ways on the property.
What I meant in #6 was to triangulate between the three points, (the power source, the perk area, and the well, keeping in mind that you don't want to have your well any closer than 100 feet to your sepic and leech field). You want to place your building site in a location that will cost you the least in running power lines, septic lines, and water lines.
Just as a side note, I don't know what kind of experience you've had with well pumps, but I highly reccomend a submersable pump rather than a "above ground" pump. They might cost a little more in the begining, but they are more trouble free and less likely to freeze than an above ground pump.
I am aquainted with the Winchester area. Since your property is on the mountain, be sure to bury your water and septic lines at least 18" below the ground level, preferably 24", to stay out of the freeze zone. And any pipes you have in the crawl space under the house, wrap and insulate the heck out of them! There is nothing like having your septic and water freeze in the middle of January and having to get out there and try to unfreeze them. I learned my lesson the hard way. I know that this sounds like over kill, but we do have some freezing weather here, and it's better to be over cautious and trouble free, than to skimp and have trouble every year. Besides, a ditch witch usually runs about 50.00 a day, and you can do A LOT in a day.
On your perk test, the county health inspector will make a diagram as to where he thinks the septic system should go. Check around in that area for the BEST septic installer, (they are usually the ones who dig the cemetary plots for funerals), and use them. They will be able to look at the lay of the land and correct the health inspector's map to give you the best flow for the septic. Also, it always helps to have an extra 100' of fill line put in for those times when you have extra people in your household. While we are on the subject of fill lines and septic systems, I bet you've already heard of "Ridx" septic system additive. It's good stuff, but a little pricey. I use a half gallon of butter, or soured milk added to the system about every other month,or whenever you have it. It has the same enzime action as the Ridx. I've been using the butter/sour milk thing for the last 6 years and have not had a bit of problem with backups except the one time that the line froze. In fact, I started my system with about a gallon of the buttermilk and, like I said, only one problem in 6 years. I hope this has helped. If you want to contact me directly, I'm at chiefgraybear@yahoo.com. Best of luck, Gray Bear

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 3:28PM
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I would put the house on the highest point on the lot .
1)Protection from floods .
2) Better view of the property so you can keep an eye on everything. Better view of everything , the sunset, less view obsrtuctions of the countryside ( "Castle in the clouds" )type situation
3)Better defensive situation (important 200 years ago )
4) You can and should use gravel under the foundation , so the best loam should be a litte ways away . Loam holds water and when it freezes it causes frost heaves and will crack a foudation and cause a "pothole in the road . so loam is best used in your bottom land which is the best for tillable acres apple trees are best for hills they do best with a slight grade (15%) they need some loam however but it must have drainage.
As far as getting additional telephone poles go , the phone company gives away old telephone poles free in some areas . You must sign a waiver because the creosoate that they treat them withis hazardous waste most people use them for coralls . You can ask if they can be used for 4th and more telephone poles on your own property . If you wish to use them for fenceposts on community boundary fence make sure ALL the abutters also SIGN THE DISCLAIMER ! YOU CAN GET chain link fence and gaits cheap from some scrap metal yards . or rusted and dented and small peices from fence copanies and buy putting adds in supermakets or other free add places saying " will haul away free " .
when you are ready to build your house you may wish to check with a " building relocation service" in the area .
If the house that is to be moved is 7 miles from the sight it might be practical farther away is usually not practical if it is over 7 miles .
You can usually get a nice house many ,less 20 years old
for one dollar if you can move it off the lot in 3 months or less . A) it should cost $8,000 to $20,000 to move it B)aonther $8.000 to $20,000 for the new foundation C)another $8,000. to $20,000.00 to set it on the foudation and hook up plumbing and electrical . Total cost of putting a used house on your lot around $50,000.00 some people upgrade to the latest building codes.
I would put your septic system at least 250 feet away from and 150 below your well .

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 3:32PM
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All things being equal ,You may want to place the house dead center in the lot giving you maximum insulstion from future neighbors !

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 2:48PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Dowsin g is really pervasive because the idiomotor effect makes it feel as if the rod is being pulled, and on the planet earth if you drill down 100 feet or so you will hit water in 94 out of 100 spots. If someone wants to do it for free go for it, but it has never been shown to be worth any money.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 1:23AM
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