Why do houses front face the street?


I’ve noticed that most, if not all, houses I’ve passed by front face the road. Why not face away from the road?

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They don’t have to. Well, in some areas they don’t. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, I’m sure they would have something to say about it. But realistically a house has to have road frontage to be built. I could be wrong about ever single city, state, etc, but typically it has to be connected to the road. As houses also have to be connected to utilities depending on when and where they were built. Now if you turned that house around you would have to either have a driveway that wrapped around to the back, or walk around the side of the house through the yard. Think about the weather. Walking around to the front of your house just to go inside during a thunderstorm if you didn’t have concrete. You’d get mad amounts of mud on your feet. So part of it is cost. If you have enough money, and you built a house on a lake or the ocean you could pay the extra cost to have it face the water front. But the short answer is cost, an easy to replicate design for building in a neighborhood, and lastly looks.

Either way you look at it, one side is the front and and the other is the back, no matter how it’s faced. If it was the other way around, the back would just be the front and vice versa. But usually the front is the best looking part of the house.

The practice surely evolved due to the speed, convenience, and efficiency of having easy access to the street, which connects the house to the community.

So it’s easy to get into the house. Otherwise you’d need to walk around to the back of the house to get in. Which is even worse if you’re in the middle of a row of connected homes.

Frank Lloyd Wright would agree with you that the home is for those living it in and should be tailored to the needs of the occupants. Some listening for you if you’re curious.


This is somewhat definitional; the front *is* the side facing the street.

The street is where the house will normally be seen from by most people. With that in mind more care is taken in its appearance from that angle. People entering from the street would come into a dedicated entryway as opposed to the kitchen for example.

Overall the house is designed with the expectation of being approached from the road, and the “front” pointed in that direction. You as a regular resident may prefer to approach from the rear but that is your choice.

First and foremost, most houses are designed so that people can easily enter and leave the house and onto the street – and the shortest path is typically through a door that is on the street side. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to avoid putting doors on the street front and make the occupants and visitors go around to the back, which is less welcoming and in some cases more threatening.

It’s also the only way you’re going to fit a lot of houses together on a small street or terrace.

The front would be defined as the side that faces the street, unless you have a large property with a very long driveway, in which case the front would be wherever you place it. Mostly there just isn’t room for a long driveway on modern small properties, you’d have half your yard taken up by it. I grew up in a place where garages were in back of the houses because the garage is where the old carriage house/horse barn was. But small properties are all going to face the street and have an ugly garage opening up front. I’ve only 1/5 of an acre, I’d have no backyard with any other design.

There are still a fair number of properties in my state with no stairs to an unused old “front” door, because at one point there was a door tax. So Great-Grandpa took the steps out in order to pay lower taxes.

Nearly all homes have a back door, so the backdoor would be the front door too

You should not have to walk the length of a house to get to the front. You probably don’t want strangers on your land