Things you need to know before buying sloping land

A sloping block of land can offer stunning views and a unique house design. There are a number of things to be aware of before buying a sloping block.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, new build, Denman Prospect, exterior at dusk

On face value a sloping block of land might seem affordable. There are many variables with sloping land that have the potential to blow out your budget if not managed properly. Sloping land can offer you amazing views and a unique foundation for your new home design. However this comes at an increased cost. Building on a slope requires additional preparations that flat lots don’t. Excavation, increased foundation works, landscaping and additional labour and engineering costs are just some of the things. Sloping block specialist, Homes By Howe, can make this process as easy and hassle free a possible.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, new build, Denman Prospect, exterior
This new build by Homes by Howe on Denman Prospect makes the most of the slope through split level living. Denman Prospect

Slope Angle

The degree of slope angle can have a significant impact on the cost of your build. Generally the steeper the slope the more it’s going to cost. The steeper the slope the more time is going to be required to modify the design to suit the allotment. Also need to take into consideration that houses built on sloping land require considerably more foundational work to stabilise them. This means additional excavation costs.

Another point to take into consideration with houses built on sloped land is accessibility. It’s important to consider how people and vehicles access your home. Especially if you have family members or friends with mobility issues. This will help to determine the placement of pathways and driveways. Limited accessibility also makes it harder for building crews to access your plot during the construction phase. This can potentially blowing out time scales and your budget.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, knock down rebuild, partially demolished house
Excavation work in progress at a Homes by Howe knock down rebuild. Knock down rebuild

Orientation of Slope

Houses built on sloped blocks are more exposed to the elements. When designing your new home or knock down rebuild you need to take into account environmental factors. This includes prevailing winds, stormwater flow and natural light. Sloping block house designs are well positioned to take advantage of natural light. Living areas positioned towards the north will be able to make the most of the natural light in the southern hemisphere. The higher up you are means you can utilise the prevailing winds and maximise energy efficiency. Smart home design that takes into account the climatic conditions of your site can save utility expenses. With the potential for passive heating and cooling systems.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, new build, Denman Prospect, alfresco area at dusk
Smart home design lets you make the most of the views and is nicer on your wallet.

Site and Environment

Building on a slope has the potential to bring you closer to your natural surroundings. But if you’re not careful it can also impose additional building and maintenance costs. Before you start planning you will want to get a thorough site and environmental analysis. So you can design your home with your natural surroundings in mind. Sustainability can be significantly influenced by the initial design. Building on a slope poses significant environmental issues if not properly considered in the initial design phase. It can damage topsoil, disturb natural drainage and groundwater pathways as well as impose additional stress on soil under-fill.

It is important to pay attention to the ground when building on a slope. Moisture, the surrounding vegetation and soil types can be key to determining if a site is suitable for building on and how expensive it might be. Sloping land is often stabilised by vegetation that can make the site prone to erosion if disturbed. Get a soil test to understand the stability of the site. For example, soil with a high moisture content adds additional engineering costs as design considerations need to be made to offset the pressure wet soil can put on foundations. A builder experienced in building on a slope will be able to talk you through these considerations.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, knock down rebuild, retaining walls
Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, knock down rebuild, retaining walls
Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, knock down rebuild, partially demolished house
Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, knock down rebuild, partially demolished house


Houses built on sloped land need to take extra care in site evaluation and assessment to understand the water movements and soil stability on the site. The advantage of building on a slope is that it naturally channels water away preventing flooding. However this means correct placement of the foundations is paramount in order to avoid erosion. Incorrect drainage can cause degradation to the foundations of your building. Good structural engineers and expert builders experienced in building on sloping land can help you to avoid these pitfalls and reduce costs in the long-term.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, knock down rebuild, managing director Brendan Howe on site

Home Design

Building on a slope can offer incredible views, ample natural light and the opportunity for a unique floor plan. A cost effective way to make the most of sloping block house design is to embrace split level living. It is also important to consider the window and balcony placement of your new home to make the most of the scenery and enhance the views. Open plan living and a well designed alfresco area works well in these settings allowing for a smooth transition between inside and out. If you’re confused as to how to make the most of your sloping land visiting Homes by Howe new Chapman Display Home which will offer some insight into how to effectively maximise your sloping block house design.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, new build, Denman Prospect, alfresco area at dusk view to black mountain
Making the most of the view and outdoor living space at Homes by Howe’s Denman Prospect build.

Choosing the Right Builder

When building on a slope choosing the right builder is paramount. To find the right builder you want to review their portfolio of work. Every site is different so not everything may apply to your site. The right builder with professional expertise and experience in building on a slope will be able to offer you advice and ideas about layout that will play to the advantages of your site, increasing your knock down rebuild or new home designs functionality and additionally reducing costs. They will also have experience in tackling the various challenges of a sloping plot, which will save time and money during the planning and construction phases.

While one budget is fine on a flat plot it can be unrealistic when building on a slope. Homes by Howe, offers a transparent quoting process and is with you at every step of the way, guiding you through the build so your experience is stress free, delivered on time and on budget.

Homes by Howe, Canberra Builder, managing director Brendan Howe taking measurements on site
At Homes by Howe we’re with you every step of the way to make sure your experience is stress-free. Building Journey

If you’ve already bought a sloping block, are thinking of buying sloping land or are looking to build on a slope, Homes by Howe are the best builders in Canberra for the job.

With a portfolio that features builds on all different kinds of slopes, they will be able to offer you the right advice in order to deliver your new home on time and on budget.

Visit our Chapman Display Home to see for yourself the potential of a sloping block with the right builder by your side.