Site plans are as important as home plans in rural settings where communing with nature is as important as community.
Puget Sound advice: Raabe helped Dettrich build this custom home in Greenbank, Wash.
Site plans are as important as home plans in rural settings where communing with nature is as important as community. John C. Raabe, president of Cooperative Design, Langley, Wash created a step-by-step tutorial, called Landkit, that offers tips on rural site planning and lot orientation, including do-it-yourself soil tests and a site checklist.
Using Raabe's custom home plans, Web site - www.countryplans.com  - and hands-on advice, Mike Dettrich, owner of Dettrich Homes of Freeland, Wash., built the home pictured. Both live and work in Puget Sound's Whidbey Island.
"Here on the island, we always try to minimize the impact of building and how many trees we take down," says Dettrich, adding, "this house was really site driven." The home, on a 2.5-acre lot, sits more than 300 feet back from a gravel access road. Natural buffers protect privacy while providing a view of Puget Sound's Saratoga Passage.