Call it a necessity or pleasure, but it seems like many people dream of owning a cabin off the beaten track or in the wilderness. A cottage of our own, somewhere off-the-grid, deep in the woods, as far as possible from the rest of the world. We all dream of early chilled mornings in the middle of the forest. As we stand on the porch, the sun beams slowly heating our face, as we breathe the fresh air.
When I was a child, I desperately wanted a tree house, my own Fortress in the woods. Somewhere where I could go and be on my own, and for few hours forget about everyone else. But, since I was living in the city, my dream never came true. When I grew up, my dream evolved, and I forgot about the tree house. Now I dream of having a cozy, small, cabin in the woods. Hopefully one day, I will own my sanctuary, surrounded by nature, trees, peace, and quiet.
If you share the same dream as me, I can assure you that it’s quite attainable. As long as you have the motivation, passion, and the will, you can build your peaceful haven. You can have your DIY cabin in a remote wilderness area in just a few months of hard work.
Here are few tips on how to make your dream a reality, and build your own cabin in the woods.
1. Building site
The first thing you need to do is to find the right place for your cabin. If you plan to use your own energy system, finding an off-the-grid place will be an easy and cheap task. Land that isn’t connected is always cheaper and easier to find. Make sure that you have good road access to the site.
It’s wise to choose a place that has more solar access. The more the sun hits your cabin, the bigger the impact it has on natural heating, ventilation, cooling, and lighting the building. Also, you could place few solar panels, and provide electricity, water, and heat for your home.
2. Choose the design
Before starting with the construction, make sure that you have a design in your hands. Working with architects is usually the best way to get the best solution for your needs, adapted on the site.
Although it’s good to get creative, it’s usually best if you go with a more simple design. If you get plans that are simple and small, it will be easier for you to execute them on your own or extend them if the opportunity arises.
3. Use lasting materials
When building in the mountains, your will need a cabin that will stand strong against environmental and changing weather conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to use more durable materials. Using structural insulated panels is a great option if you want to be sure that you’ll be safe and warm in the toughest weather conditions. The panels are durable, simple to make, easy to build with, and have excellent insulation. Don’t be skimpy on the windows as well. They are as important as the walls of the cabin. Metal-clad wooden ones are the best to use on cabins in the woods.
4. Plan every detail
When building in a remote location, it’s crucial to plan everything ahead. Getting the materials to the site is not always easy or quick as you might think. So, in order not to forget an important tool or construction equipment, plan every detail before heading to the site. This way you will minimize frustration, time lost, and the expense of sorting things out that would have gone wrong.
5. Consult professionals
Building a cabin on your own will actually elevate your construction skills. Although it is great to do a DIY project with the help of your friends, there are things you cannot do completely alone, especially if you’re a rookie.
Make sure that you talk to a construction professional beforehand, even if it’s just to consult with them. They will help you with the building codes, local materials and suppliers, zoning policies, and construction costs. Also, they probably know more about materials, construction, walls, roofing, etc. for the hands-on work you need to do.
A professional can also help you with the preservation of the beautiful land you plan to have your cabin on. You don’t want to destroy the greenery and the landscape in the process of building.
It is crucial to decide on what kind of power you’ll use in your cabin. There are plenty of non-grid power options, such as micro-hydro and generators. In my opinion, the best solution is to use a solar energy system. It will provide you with a steady and reliable power source, all of the time. With four 100-watt panels, you can power everything, from outlets to a water pump.
7. Utilities and water
Water is one of the most important, must-have, elements of the home. Not having access to clean water means that you’ll have to get creative to provide it. From digging in the ground and pumping it up, to build a rainwater collection system, there are many ways to get to clean water.
As for the utilities, the best options is to go with a compost toilet. You could build it yourself, or buy a pre-made one in the store. The shower is easy to make, and you could connect it to a solar heater or a rainwater collection barrel. Place it inside the cabin, or make your own, dreamy outdoor shower.
The cost of building a cabin in a remote site can vary, depending on many factors. There are dramatic differences in the costs of the land, materials, transportation, etc. It’s very important where and how you build. Roughly, you could build your own cabin from $2,000 to $200,000 depending on what you build and where you build it.
Hopefully, these tips above will help you in the process of building your own cabin. All you need to do is believe in your dream, get some support, then get out and make it come true.
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