Building on a sloping block requires more thought and planning than a standard home. Unless you carry out some serious groundwork, it can be near impossible to build a single slab on ground design. But this can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. While sloping blocks do come with challenges, they also offer up ideal opportunities to create beautiful split level homes that are completely unique built around the lifestyle of the homeowner


Before finalising your split level home design, consider these 5 important elements that can make all the difference to the liveability and overall outcome of your home.  

1. Think About Your Budget

While split level homes can be gorgeous, they do come with additional costs that you will have to factor into your budget.


When building a split level home on a sloping lot, you can anticipate extra costs requirements in the following areas:


  • Groundwork / excavation
  • Concrete and materials used for the foundations
  • Retaining walls
  • Extra staircase materials
  • More materials overall
  • Extra landscaping requirements
  • Increased build timeline


How much extra is required will depend on the individual design, the degree of slope in your land and access to your site. Ideally, you would want to be thinking about these costs before you even buy the land to ensure you have enough in the budget to cover all the extra expenses.


An experienced builder will be able to talk you through the constraints a split level design and sloping lot can bring and the ways these constraints can be reduced and/or overcome.


2. Consider the Right Design for Liveability

Building split level homes can be considered a balancing act. You want to build your home for the best possible price but also want to make sure the home’s design allows for maximum liveability. This means you may need to make some choices around the number of transitions or splits you have in the home, how the floorplan will be configured and what type of foundations you will use… Multiple slabs on ground or an elevated frame on stilt or poles.


This is your chance to build a beautifully unique home that will fit your families requirements perfectly. Do you want separate wings on separate levels? How many levels do you want? How big will the staircases be between levels? These are all options to consider. If you have older kids or elderly parents who will share your home, then a split level design could allow for completely separate spaces. However, if you have young children or move around your house a lot, it may be more important to you that the height or number of stairs between levels are minimised.


When thinking about split level home designs, consider these factors and how the split level layout can enhance or hinder your lifestyle. A home design that works with your lifestyle and allows for easy flow between transitions can make your home’s liveability more enjoyable.

3. Consider How the Transitions Will Work Both Inside and Outside

An effective house design not only considers how occupants move about their home, but it also considers the transitions from inside to out and vice versa. This consideration is even more important when it comes to split level homes, as it could have much more impact on your lifestyle than a standard slab on ground home design.


All doors and windows should be taken into consideration with the slope of the land. You don’t want to have a door positioned close to where the ground has been cut away or is particularly sloping. This will mean more external landscaping and hardscape is required to make this door usable. The same can be said for windows. While well-positioned windows can capture amazing views on sloping lots, poorly positioned windows can have you looking at a land bank or overbearing retaining wall.


An experienced custom home builder, can work with the contours of the land and guide you in the choices you make with your home design to ensure the flow from inside to outside is well thought out and an asset to your home.

4. Allow Your Split Level Home Design to Take in the Assets of Your Block

When people consider sloping blocks and split level homes, most of the time they think about the extra time and money to build. Most people will often decide against split level homes because of these reasons. But, by doing so, they are missing out on the potential for amazing features that only a sloping lot and split level design can bring… The natural assets of the block such as the opportunity for a great view, more natural light and cross-ventilation.

Split level homes provide more opportunities to add windows, and to add those windows in prime positions to allow for lots of natural light into the home and the chance to capture an inspiring view. It may even be possible to capture views from every room depending on the slope, location and position of your home. Who doesn’t want to wake up to the sunlight glimmering on the ocean or peeking out behind a mountain range? It makes lazy mornings in bed or an afternoon cuppa all the more enjoyable.