Basic Principles of Ranch ArchitectureSeptember 9, 2020
Also called the American ranch, contemporary ranch, or hiker house, ranch architecture is an environmentally friendly, consciously, informal style of house building. With a flat, but wide frontage and open design, ranch-style houses combine distinctive American building methods with the wide, welcoming spaces associated with the cowboy west to produce a casual yet stylish style that is still widely used today. In ranch architecture, the home face is often higher than in other forms of architecture. Solid masonry walls are common, as are basic geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, and ovals. The use of natural materials, such as granite countertops, wooden floors, and exposed ductwork instead of paneling and insulated walls provide warm, inviting interiors.
Sliding barn doors are a signature element of ranch architecture, lending a rustic charm to the house. Sliding barn doors are usually found in the back of the house, providing the best access to the yard and backyard. Other features include stone walls to protect the interior from the weather, large windows above the sliding doors, and pergola or gazebo tops for outdoor living.
Most ranch buildings are built with masonry walling, using stucco, siding, or some combination of these two types of construction materials. Solid-walled barns are also constructed using different construction materials, including bricks, stones, concrete, corrugated fiberglass, and clay tiles. The materials used for construction are intended to be sustainable over the long term, and the result is a building that is both structurally efficient and energy efficient. By using sustainable construction materials, homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint and have a healthy environment as well. Many ranch buildings are also built with recycled architectural materials, such as reclaimed lumber and metal frames.
Most ranch house plans feature one-story living spaces, with medium or large sliding glass doors, and open floors, or decks, along the perimeter. Sliding barn doors provide a great way to gain access to the yard and backyard, and they also offer plenty of room for entertaining. Large picture windows set a relaxed atmosphere in the living area. Large windows also allow the homeowner to enjoy a natural lighting source in the yard, helping increase property value and comfort for the home.
In most ranch-style homes, a significant number of yards will be included with flower beds, resulting in a lush garden setting. Cacti, oaks, and sycamore trees will provide year-round greenery and flowers for gardens. For the homeowner, the addition of a small pond or an outdoor barbecue may be included as part of the landscape plan. A playground set, built on the property will provide children with a place to run and play. Many ranch houses feature a swimming pool, which may be featured as part of the house plan as well. The homeowner may choose to include a deck or balcony as an outdoor living space.
Planning a ranch style house is quite similar to other custom-built homes, in that the layout is determined by the available space and budget. Sloping lots will result in different floor plans, as will a variety of floor layouts. Some houses may have two or three levels, while others are only one level. Regardless of how much extra square footage is available, homeowners are encouraged to create a plan that meets their needs without overstretching their finances. There are a number of companies that specialize in ranch architecture services, so it should not be difficult to find the perfect house plan.