While making the Project Brief, you will be faced with a number of choices. Each of these choices have their own pros and cons.

Here are some of the choices which you could consider while planning the EXTERIOR of your house: Basement vs No Basement, Stilt vs Ground Parking, Serial vs Parallel parking, Garden vs Paved areas.


  • Most people debate whether to have a Basement or not. It seems like a space saving option as multiple cars can be parked there. However it is risky to have a Basement especially in low lying areas. 
  • During the rainy season the clogged drainage system can lead to reverse flow which in turn can flood the basement. You need to be present in the house every time it rains to monitor the flooding. Even then, you cannot depend on water pumps to pump out the water as electricity could fail during the rains. Whatever system you have in place it may not be enough to tackle the flooding in the basement.

  • Some people prefer to have gyms or media rooms or games rooms in the Basement with the entry provided from inside the house. This type of Basement is preferable to a Car parking basement as the question of flooding does not arise. 
  • However, the  tropical Indian climate invites cockroaches and rodents which can enter the basement via the basement windows. If you keep the basement windows closed always, then it leads to expansion and dampness in the walls. 
  • Dampness in walls is a common problem in Basements and you can actually smell the dampness when you go down. It is not healthy to spend much time in this environment.

  • If you have more than 2 cars, parking at the ground level eats up valuable space on the site. Instead, Stilt level or basement parking are the best options. 
  • However, houses with Stilt parking do not look aesthetic, as the columns are visible at ground floor level. Also, there is a security risk as you will be unaware of what is happening in the ground floor.  
  • A Basement allows multiple car parks below your house, leaving a lot of free space at ground level. 
  • However, a Basement used for car parking will require a long ramp, at least 9' wide, from the road.  This means, a lot of the site space will be eaten up by the ramp. Also there is always the risk of flooding.
  • For 1 or 2 cars, parking at the ground level is the cheapest and best option. But here again you have a choice between Serial and Parallel parking options.
  • Serial car parking requires you to park the cars one behind the other which makes it difficult to take the cars in and out. Minimum space required for a sedan is 8'x16' and for a compact car is around 8'x14'. Minimum space required for 2 cars in serial order will be 8'x28'.
  • Parallel parking allows you to take 2 cars in and out without difficulty. But it uses up valuable front space in the site which could otherwise be used for landscape. Minimum space required to park 2 sedans will be 18'x16' and 16'x16' to park 2 compact cars. 
  • Garages have the advantage that they can be closed. In earlier days, the garage was put in the corner of the site as there was no need to leave setbacks on the side and back which was an advantage in terms of space utilization. However, this required a 9' wide car-way to the garage which resulted in a lot of site space being used up. In today's scenario, where every inch of land is precious, it makes better sense to have a garage in the front of the house, though the rolling shutters do not look very aesthetic.  
  • Even though there might not be much space around the house, you have the choice to have a garden or not.
  • A landscaped area, even small can give colour and life to the surroundings. It encourages birds, butterflies and other insects and is a soothing picture to look out to, from inside the house. A kitchen garden is useful for growing herbs and even vegetables. However, any garden  requires a lot of care, time and water. 
  • If water is a problem or you do not have an inclination for gardening, then you can opt for verandahs or hard landscaping with stone, pavers etc.
  • Most people dig a borewell before the start of the House Construction, since the Water Supply Board of each area will not provide water for the construction and a borewell is a life saver in areas where there is water scarcity. Nowadays, it is difficult to rely on the municipal water supply as cities get crowded. If you find out that water supply is erratic in your area or if you have more than normal water requirement  due to tenants or a large family, then it makes sense to have a borewell before the start of construction. A borewell costs around 1.5 - 2 lakhs depending on the depth to which it is dug. 
  • But having said this, there are chances that the borewell may fail you - you will not find water at all, the water table may be too deep, maintenance problems, broken pump, drying up of borewell etc. Take all this into account while making your decision to dig a borewell. 

  • If you decide to go ahead with a borewell, then make sure you have RWH (Rain water harvesting) via the pit method in place, to replenish the water table. But that doesn't necessarily mean you will get the same amount of water  If everyone in your area is drawing from the same water table then your yield will be impacted as well. If your neighbour has a borewell then chances are that, you both will draw water from the same table. 
  • If on the other hand you decide to use a tanker to supply water for the construction you will end up paying Rs 6,000 for 60,000 litres / month assuming you are paying Rs 600 / 6000 litres / tank. This works out to around Rs 70,000 for the whole construction (that will take around a year to complete). You would have shelled out only half or less than half the cost of a borewell. So, if you do not need the borewell after the construction, (assuming you will get good water supply from the municipal water board), the extra cost is not justified. 

  • Similarly, you will be faced with different choices for the INTERIORS or MATERIALS of your house. Read about it here:
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