Currently Reading

Density Done Right Post-COVID: 4 Home Plans Reimagine Proximity

House Review

Density Done Right Post-COVID: 4 Home Plans Reimagine Proximity

This assortment of product types and densities provides private entryways and plenty of outdoor living space for a fresh take on density in a post-COVID world

By Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD House Review Lead Designer February 3, 2021
Interior of Evergreen at Rise by Dahlin Group
Evergreen at Rise by Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning. Scroll down to see more. | Photo: Tsutsumida Pictures
This article first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Pro Builder.

Those of us involved in the New Urbanism movement have spent years attempting to change the negative connotation of the word density. For many individuals, along with city officials, density brings to mind a massive number of apartments surrounded by a sea of cars. 

With a new awareness and concern for healthy spaces, it’s becoming more obvious that the actual number of homes and people (density) we’re surrounded by is not nearly as important as how they are designed. Essentially, we’re comfortable living in areas that don’t seem overcrowded, a setting that requires plenty of outdoor space—along with an understanding of the critical placement of each residence in order to create a sense of privacy. 

Obviously, the total number of residences that can be built on a parcel of land is a key component of a financially successful development. However, density resulting in a perception of overcrowding is no longer viable. The following concepts present an assortment of product types and densities, with each emphasizing private entryways and outdoor living spaces.


Chisholm Trail Courtyards, Plan C

DESIGNER: Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, [email protected], 254.205.2597

DIMENSIONS: Width: 26 feet; Depth: 79 feet; Living area: 1,458 sf

This rental neighborhood is located adjacent to larger-lot single-family developments. The concept previews the first of three phases introducing a higher density (7.02 per acre) product that is architecturally compatible with existing 2,200-to-3,000-square-foot luxury residences.

Single-family elevations for the Chisolm Trail design by Larry W. GarnettTownhome elevations for the Chisolm Trail design by Larry W. GarnettDuplex elevations for the Chisolm Trail design by Larry W. Garnett

The initial concept consisted of a combination of townhomes and apartments that achieved a much higher density. In the midst of the current pandemic, it was decided that a mix of product focusing on a great deal more open space with walking trails would be better suited for the post-COVID-19 market.

First and second floor plans for Larry W. Garnett's Chisolm Trail home design


A. Most of the one- and two-story detached cottages face a common courtyard

B. One-and two-story townhomes each have a two-car garage

C. Duplex plans have private side yards with two parking spaces

D. The Villa Duplexes feature façades that appear to be larger single-family homes; garages open to the rear lane

E. Common courtyards/paseos

F. Park area ands walking trails

G. Inset parking for guests

Site plan for Larry W. Garnett's Chisolm Trail community design


Evergreen at Rise, Residence 3

ARCHITECT: Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning, [email protected], 925.251.7200

DIMENSIONS: Width: 24 feet; Depth: 69 feet, 5 inches; Living areas: 1,804 sf

Located within the Great Park master planned community in Irvine, Calif., Evergreen at Rise offers three-story attached townhomes with floor plans up to three bedrooms and two-car garages at a more widely attainable price point without sacrificing high-quality livability.

Exterior elevation for Evergreen at Rise designed by Dahlin Group Architecture
Photo: Tsutsumida Pictures

Residence 3 is the largest of the plans and is known for its impressive wraparound deck on the second story. Between the deck and large private front porch on the ground floor, the plan offers single-family outdoor living in a townhome footprint.

Floor plans for Dahlin Group's design for Evergreen at Rise

A. Front porch and upper deck provide generous outdoor space

B. Two-car garage with dedicated storage spaces and the option to adapt portions into a home gym, workshop, or working space

C. Open-concept planning on main floor provides flexibility and clear sight lines

D. Powder room conveniently located on the main living floor

E. Laundry on third floor with bedrooms

Third-floor plan for Dahlin Group's design for Evergreen at Rise
Kitchen and living space in Evergreen at Rise designed by Dahlin Group Architecture
Photo: Tsutsumida Pictures


Living space in Evergreen at Rise designed by Dahlin Group Architecture
Photo: Tsutsumida Pictures


Shady Trails, Plan 1 

ARCHITECT: Kevin L. Crook Architect, [email protected], 949.660.1587

DIMENSIONS: Width: 26 feet; Depth: 61 feet; Living area: 2,213 sf 

Located in Fontana, Calif., Shady Trails’ homes are composed of narrow plans that don’t sacrifice livability for density. Each home has both a two-car garage and a full driveway apron for guest spaces. Additional guest parking is on street.

The narrowness of the homes helps achieve a higher density of 9.2 homes per acre; a reduced rear yard setback further helps density by notching out a usable rear yard area from the rear massing of the home. Generous living space orients to the rear yard, creating a sense of expansive space. 

Exterior elevations for Shady Trails designed by Kevin L. Crook Architect


Front porches or porticos are visible from the street. A living area on the second floor is pushed forward to de-emphasize the garage.

Floor plans for Shady Trails designed by Kevin L. Crook Architect

A. Front porch and portico draw the eye to the entry

B. Full driveway allows for additional guest parking

C. Second-level floor plan pushed forward to de-emphasize the garage

D. Common refuse storage with access through the garage 

E. Private rear yard oriented to the living area 

F. Rear staggered living space maximizes density



Rendezvous Condos

DESIGNER: Seth Hart, DTJ Design, [email protected], 303.443.7333

DIMENSIONS: Width: 146 feet; Depth: 56 feet; Living area: 825 sf - 1,600 sf

This condo building was developed for Hartford Homes to deliver a product type that achieves greater density while maintaining the look and feel of single-family homes.

Each unit was designed to provide a private, ground-floor entrance, so there is no need for common corridors or stairs. Front entry porches at the ground-floor units are stacked with covered decks for the second-level units, providing quality outdoor living as well as curb appeal. 

DTJ Design's Rendezvous Condos offer density while maintaining the look of single-family homes


Each ground-level unit is separated by a recessed entry for the second-level units, which creates privacy between units, breaks down the mass of the building, and provides elevation articulation. The overall density is approximately 20 units per acre.

DTJ Design's Rendezvous Condos first floor plan


DTJ Design's Rendezvous Condos second floor plan


A. Ground-level entry for each unit type

B. Recessed entries provide separation between units, elevation articulation, and convenient access to second-level units

C. Direct access from garages to each unit type

DTJ Design's Rendezvous Condos elevation


Related Stories

House Review

ADU Design Ideas for Greater Housing Choice

Accessory dwelling units are making a comeback and diversifying the affordable housing landscape. These house plans from the House Review team offer imaginative and purposeful ADU designs

House Review

LCRA's Adele Chang presents the Villas at Ambassador Gardens

LCRA's Adele Chang presents the Villas at Ambassador Gardens in Pasadena, Calif., an attached project that responds not only to the exiting…

House Review

Design Ideas for Cost-Efficient Single-Family Detached Homes

Detached-home solutions ranging from 900 to 2,300 square feet that offer attainable single-family housing with flair


More in Category


Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.