A typical new house site in Portland,
Ore., where I work, is about 60x60 feet.
Within this 60-foot square, the builder
has to squeeze the footprint of the house
plus find room to maneuver construction
equipment. Building would be a whole
lot easier if the site were flat, but most of
the easy sites were grabbed up years ago.
So now we either get into difficult construction,
or flatten the site by grading.
Grading nice stable slopes that won't
slide or erode takes space, lots of it. A
nice comfortable slope for the area
immediately surrounding the house is
anything no steeper than 5:1 (5 horizontal
feet for every 1 foot of rise). Still, this