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  • Writer's pictureHolly Rickard

The Ausly House: Part 3: The Perfect Site

Coastal House Designer
Aldinga Beach Suburb. Pic:

Follow the journey of designing & building The Ausly, from idea to completion.


In the last series post, we covered how we shortlisted a few areas that met our non-negotiable criteria for the ideal location of our affordable and sustainable holiday home, which we named "The Ausly." Now that we have our areas identified, it's time to get more specific and choose a specific site for our dream home.

Cost of Land per m2

To find the perfect site for this new home, we began by researching the cost of land per m2 in the areas we were interested in. This information was gathered from recent sales data, and we used it as a guide to ensure we were getting a good deal. We wanted to "buy well," i.e. buy something that was undervalued relative to other similar sites.

Choosing a Suburb

In the last post, we narrowed down our options to three suburbs: Port Willunga, Sellicks Beach, and Aldinga Beach. While Port Willunga was beautiful, it was a bit too expensive for our budget. Sellicks Beach was also lovely, but we discovered that most properties lacked sewer connections, and some lenders considered the area to be "regional," which meant we might have to pay a larger deposit.

Ultimately, we chose Aldinga Beach because it was beginning to be gentrified, with a lot of infrastructure plans approved, including a "Super school," train line extension, and new shops. All of these factors led us to believe that Aldinga Beach was a location that was poised for growth, making it a wise investment choice.

Siting, Shape & Slope

When it came to choosing a site, we had a few specific criteria in mind. Firstly, we want our primary street-facing direction to be east-west. This way, we can take advantage of natural light and have a brighter living space.

Next, we are looking for a site with a minimum frontage of 10 meters and a minimum area of 320m2. Happy with a rectangular block, or slightly angular. This will give us enough space for a three-bedroom house with a single garage and a modest yard. Aldinga Beach is pretty flat, so most sites were flat which met our criteria as this saves on groundwork costs. We actually drove around to look at other building sites in the area to get an idea of the structural footing design, which is dictated by the soil type, this gave us an idea of how much we would be outlaying for groundworks and slab works.

We also paid close attention to the local planning regulations, if our neighbours were built on the boundary and the minimum setbacks for the site. This means we could work out the exact maximum footprint, and therefore the estimated build cost, build time, and end value of the project before we made an offer on the land.


We also had a list of undesirables that we wanted to avoid. These included sites that were on a main road, so we can avoid excessive noise and traffic.

We also want to ensure that the site is not near anything that might produce unpleasant smells. This means avoiding areas that are close to industrial zones, waste disposal sites, or anything similar. We also want to make sure that neighbouring properties are in good condition and well-maintained, to ensure our property is in a desirable location.


Access was also an important factor for us. We wanted a site that was easily accessible, with good roads and driveways, and no battleaxe sites, as these are generally worth less than normally shaped sites.


Finally, we wanted to make sure that the site was near all the amenities we needed, including shops and other services. In Aldinga Beach, we were pleased to discover that a lot of new shops had recently been built, so we knew we would have everything we needed nearby.

*In my next post, I'll run you through choosing finance, securing finance, determining ROI, and submitting a Buying offer* Subscribe to the series here.

Holly is an accredited building designer, director of Holly & Co. a building and interior design studio based in Adelaide.

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