A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting my sister’s house.  She and her family live in a new development with new houses being built.

The house next door was still under construction and we took the opportunity to explore.  

We made it to the second story and stood in the master bedroom, which had two windows that looked out onto a questionable view…

The windows looked out onto the side of the house where all there was to see was the side of the adjoining house.  

There were no windows that pointed out to the back, although they certainly could have.

Don’t you think that would have been a better place to locate windows for a nice view?  The bedroom windows certainly look as if they are supposed to be a prominent feature of the room.

The new residents won’t want to open the windows     because their neighbors will be able to see right into their bedroom.  If they were pointing toward the backyard, they probably could and enjoy a beautiful view as well.

I admit that I know little about architecture and maybe there is a good reason for windows located along the side of the house.  Sadly, most of the rooms had windows on the side and not facing front and back where the view was much nicer.

I’d like to know what you think.  
Am I off base with my opinion?  
Is there a reason to have windows facing the side?
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

6 replies
  1. gwirrel
    gwirrel says:


    It's quite a surprise to see any new houses being built with windows facing each other. Here in the UK windows are not allowed to face other houses on new-builds. Certainly not bedroom/livingrooms. Windows can only be small or servicing such as landing windows for staircases.

    I know I certainly wouldn't buy a house with all windows facing my neighbours, but then I also wouldn't buy newbuild as windows are often much smaller than older houses (in the UK, anyway)

  2. rosiemomma
    rosiemomma says:

    I wonder if it has something to do with the orientation of the house on the lot. If the back of the house faces West it might be reason enough not to put windows there to face our brutal but lovely sunsets. I would certainly think twice about living there though. I would feel like I'm in an apartment block in the big city. Yikes.

  3. Margarethe Brummermann
    Margarethe Brummermann says:

    I agree, awful! when we were looking for an in-town house once, we turned down many like the one you describe. Now we live on 14 acres desert land, so we are probably an extreme example. By the way I enjoy your blog and just wrote one about a caterpillar that I think was mentioned in your blog last year, eating Yellow Bells? You might find this interesting http://arizonabeetlesbugsbirdsandmore.blogspot.com/2013/03/adaptable-immigrants.html

  4. David Cristiani
    David Cristiani says:

    That's why I like zero-lot lines like mine, if it must be tight. Few or no windows looking into my lot, just 1 side yard! I think much more thought needs to go into the relation of the tract home onto it's lot and others' lots…I agree with you.

  5. Mac_fromAustralia
    Mac_fromAustralia says:

    I was thinking, like Rosiemomma, that it might be to do with the orientation?
    At least there's a full size window and it looks like there's room to plant something. In one of our newest suburbs with the tiny blocks that are becoming the norm here, we saw a builders display home where one side of the house was so close to the fence that the bedrooms all had thin windows at the top of the wall, intended just for a little light and ventilation but not for looking out at all.

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