How to Create My Exterior House Design

Updated February 21, 2017

You will be happier with a house design if you plan the exterior according to your own tastes. If you don't recognise your favourite design initially, you may need to do some research. Drive around neighbourhoods in your city or look through home design books to become familiar with architectural styles you find appealing. Always design your ideal home and scale back to fit the budget. Use significant aspects of your ideal home, such as a cottage-style roof or large windows, in the home exterior you create. Plan the home to look pleasing to potential future buyers as well.

Make notes about exterior features you find pleasing, such as multiple roof lines. Notice how a home's roof lines largely determine the architectural design. Make a list of features you might consider including in the house, such as double entry doors or a three-car garage.

Sketch a basic house shape. Draw windows and doors to define their size in relation to the overall exterior. Place windows to capture special views on the building property, if possible. Include porches or patio space to enjoy such views as well. Sketch the ideal home you would like to build. Scale back on its size or other features to fit your budget.

Select exterior building materials. Choose brick and stucco, cedar siding or stacked stones combined with brick or siding, for example. Plan driveway paving stones, light fixtures or materials for a retaining wall. Choose roofing materials that look appropriate for the neighbourhood. Include practical components that fit your needs. Select a metal roof, for instance, if you need a roof compatible with a wood-burning fireplace that will get a lot of use.

Go over construction issues that might arise. Check with city building officials concerning any problems reported by homeowners in the neighbourhood, such as rocky soil or leaking in basements due to nearby underground springs. Take steps to address these issues during the planning stages of the home.

Transfer the plan to graph paper. Allow one square of graph paper to stand for 6 inches of actual space. Draw the house exterior on the graph paper from every angle. Add details to enhance kerbside appeal that might include formal porch columns, landscaping or a curved driveway, for example. Design the front facade to attract future buyers. Ensure the home design will appeal to a wide variety of people.


Clip pictures of homes from magazines or realtors' marketing books. Pay attention to home designs you find interesting. Use these pictures as references when you begin the design process of your own home.


Plan to include a metal roof if your home is near large trees. Leaves will shed more easily from metal roofing than asphalt shingles. In addition, dry leaves on a roof can easily catch on fire from chimney sparks, so consider a metal roof if you will burn wood in the fireplace.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad
  • Home design books
  • Graph paper
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.