When you live in an area of natural beauty such as Malibu, California or the Coast of Maine, one of the things you look for in a house is a view. A house with a view is much sought after. Getting that treasured view often involves being on a hill to see over the top of surrounding buildings, trees and hills.
Long term effects
Some people take it to the extreme. They building on a cliff overlooking a lake or the ocean. They might build on the side of a mountain. They often don’t take into consideration the long-term effects of the wind and the rain. Natural erosion and more dramatic land slides or storm induced loss of frontage creates havoc for these homeowners.
There are the immediate dangers of damage to the building from shifting land or even destruction as the hillside comes sliding towards you or drops out from underneath. But there are other effects the forward thinking home owner should consider as well.
King of the hill
If you place your home on the top of a hill you are constantly buffeted by the environment. Yes, you have a 360° view. You also have wind, rain and sunlight from all directions. The body never gets a rest and neither does the building. Result = deterioration of health both physical and mental for the people and premature aging for your house. I have knowledge of people who can afford the best of buildings, with the latest technologies who have built on the top of a hill. If this is their primary home they usually decide within a season or two that this constant exposure, though beautiful, is unlivable.
Money and relationships
When you build on a hillside it is important that the house is supported by the land and that there is a large flat area surrounding the building. Having one side of the building lower than the other can lead to problems on one side of the body-legs and back especially. Living over stilts, even for part of the building, leaves you without a foundation and a feeling that you lack support. You might suffer from vertigo too. If the land around your building has a serious slope you will definitely have problems with relationships and money. I know numerous circumstances where money has become a serious problem. The distance of the slope from the building relates to how soon the effects will be felt. If you have unlimited amounts of money you may put up with this effect. But most people just end up having their money drained away over time.
If you live on the edge of a cliff, such as the building at the top of this post you have constant worries about your downfall. As in falling down the hill. The hillside is reinforced by various means to prevent loss but nature always wins in the end. One side of the building is exposed to the elements and the other side experiences different forces. You always feel unsettled.
A view is nice but there are many other considerations when building for a view.
allrightsreserved©Diane Kern 2011
Landslide destroys home