I'm sure I'm not the only Ryan Homes blogger who has the occasional qualm about new home construction. You know the stereotypes, clear cut developments, postage stamp lots, "house farms" contributing to suburban sprawl and all that jazz. Well, I'd like to turn that all around because I'm embracing my new "house farmer" lifestyle and I'd like to talk about a few reasons why.
Admittedly one of the big drawbacks to new construction is the small lot sizes. We chose the largest size lot in our development, but it is still only 70' x 70' and its going to be a stretch even to get a medium sized swing set in the backyard. Compare that with a house in my current neighborhood. It is a multiple acre lot and it has a lovely, majestic, rolling lawn leading up to the house. It is beautiful and frankly a little envy enduing, except for one small detail. EVERY time I drive by, the homeowner is out front on his riding mower maintaining his gorgeous expanse of lawn. Now, I'm not going to knock it, maybe lawn moving is this guys zen, it worked for Forrest Gump, but its not for me. How long it is going to take to move a 70' foot lot, 15-20 minutes? That means while lovely lawn man is doing his daily yard work, I'll be at the pool with the kids, floating around the lazy river, and that is my idea of zen!
Another problem with new construction is the clear cutting of the existing flora. Yes, it's sad, I love old growth trees as much as the next person, but there are some major pluses to no forested areas, and it extends beyond awesome kite flying potential. Right now we live on a lot that on paper sounds perfect: wooded, private, lake views, all the sorts of things that people love. The problem with all that is not only do people enjoy that type of environment, but all sorts of creepy crawlies do too. I have never lived in a house with so many bugs as I have experienced here, and that includes my brief stint in a double wide trailer in Florida, ground zero for creepy crawlies. I don't really mind the ants, waterbugs (roaches), crickets, millipedes, stink bugs, earwigs, bees, and others, but its the spiders that give me the heebe-jeebes. When I look out along a sea of well manicured, chemical-laced lawns, all I see is freedom from insect infestation. I am really looking forward to being able to come downstairs every morning and not worry about what is laying in wait for me!
One additional drawback that is often brought up about new homes are their close proximity to neighbors. I guess its nice to have privacy and everything, but what some people view as a lack of privacy, I see as an abundance of community. I really think that it is easier to build bonds and really get to know people when you are physically closer to them. The more you see and interact with your neighbors the better you will get to know them, and I am really looking forward to having a having the kind of neighborhood where everyone looks out for one another, where the kids all run and play together and the parents all stand outside and chat. Everything I have seen so far indicated that the neighborhood we are moving to is just that type of community, and I'll happily live in a house surrounded by other homes, because it mean more friendships for my children and myself.
So there it is, my rebuttal to the negative connotations behind suburban sprawl, I can't wait to move into my new house and become a proud "house farmer!"