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Gardening in America
Manage Climate For Comfort - North Entrance
by Nancy Fletcher

enclosed atriumA home perched on the side of a hill has advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages could be listed as: 1. Good drainage. 2. Sliding off of frost. 3. Possible geological space under the hill holding water for a well. 4. Pleasant view of surrounding countryside. 5. Cool breezes in the summer to waft through the house, and by the way, this was why the Romans built their homes on a hillside. 6. The ability to see one's guests come and go 7. A place for family and friends to come for a brief respite and relief from their burdens, enabling them to return to their daily lives refreshed and rested.

The disadvantages are: 1. Winter winds are often swift and cold making life miserable for man and beast. It can tear at yard furniture, sheds, or anything else light and easily picked up. 2. The good drainage can become a swift run off of valuable rain water taking with it top soil 3. With the loss of topsoil comes a dry hard packed ground 4. Roads to the location must be designed so as to catch the water rather than to become a funnel for the run off. 5. A house standing at the top of a hill can look bleak and "spooky" without a tie to the grounds around it. 6. Gardening must be looked toward with a different set of rules because of the above problems. 7. A simple mowing of the grounds will not be enough to care for the landscape

On this particular article we will address the north entrance. Depending on what room is entered through this doorway becomes an important issue. If it is the entrance to be used mostly it is certainly necessary to block the swift cold wind from the room. Really, there is only one way to do this and that is to build a small enclosed atrium. Depending on the amount of money one wishes to spend determines the size and decor. This off the living room entrance is four foot by twelve foot. The Romans, of course, built them large enough to enclose a pool while having an open roof. They were generally flanked by cylindrical shaped pillars. The lower half of this comparatively very modest one is covered with tin siding. It is to be insulated and covered with a light paneling inside. Covering the floor will be a ceramic tile.

There is a greatly increased comfort to the room the minute it is completed. The difference in the temperature can be immediately experienced. A room that was once always cold and uncomfortable becomes pleasant and cozy. Not having the blast of the wind coming in with a person is very pleasant also. The savings in heating cost is not to be overlooked, because it is considerable.

The glass on the upper part of the atrium keeps the view and it is not lost to the room on the north. The view on a hill side is certainly well worth preserving and saving at all costs. Since the atrium is not heated one has to take advantage of spring, summer and fall for hanging plants to decorate the small space. They do increase the beauty of the tiny room.

The door entering the living room holds a full length glass storm door. This will allow you to leave the larger door open late into the fall and early in the spring where potted green plants extend the seasons holding away the length of time one has to live with bleak winter days.

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