Posts Tagged ‘building a yurt’

Breaking Ground!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This blog will be hopping soon! Today, as we received picture updates from all the way across the country, ground was officially broken on our property. Woot! We had an area cleared and leveled that is large enough to park a few cars. This way we are able to get moving on building our decks and our first yurt once we arrive this fall!

Laurel Nest Yurts – Building a Yurt Community

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Earlier this year our friends at Laurel Nest Yurts in Asheville, NC got some good press in BackHome Magazine.

The article talks about the role that yurts can play in empowering regular people to live more sustainably right now. We visited Hal and Asia last summer while checking out property in North Carolina and got see their yurt community. It was fantastic, refreshing, and very encouraging to meet folks who are not only helping people do what we want to do, but are just down right good hard working folks that we just wanted to be friends with right off.

They also had this little poem in a frame on the table nearby – a touching shout out to free thinking pathfinders.

Free flowing poem

Free flowing poem

Rare are those,

Who, like waterfalls,

Flow Freely…

Carving paths on their way,

So future generations,

May flow more freely

In pursuit

of their own destiny…


We are planning to enlist the services of Laurel Nest this coming year when we begin constructing our own yurts. We are really excited about visiting their workshop and being directly involved in the creation of the yurt itself. The cost savings will be a logistical help and the experience will be one we will surely never forget.

Concentic Yurt Plans of Bill Coperthwaite

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Our Concentric Yurt plans have arrived! We are still deciding whether we want to build a tapered-wall yurt instead of a fabric-based design.  Bill Coperthwaite of The Yurt Foundation provides plans for building your own tapered-wall yurts. This genius-of-a-man lives in Main and owns no phone, has no internet connection, and is only accessible through mail. About two weeks ago we sent off a check and a letter asking a few questions about the building process. We were mostly interested in the process of connecting yurts, installing insulation, and adding windows and walls. This past weekend we received 2 sets of yurt plans(for the concentric yurt and for the standard yurt) and the following thoughtful response:

“Thanks for your order and your check. Yes, larger free-span yurts can/have been built. The largest I have done to date is 35 feet at the cable at the top of the wall. I do not sell a plan for these yurts but build them in a yurt workshop(there is not enough demand to warrant publishing a plan). I find connecting yurts difficult and not very pleasing. Multiple yurts work quite well. All of the yurts in my plans are insulated. Dividing of a circle with vertical walls is not very pleasant. The reason I started building concentric yurts was this was the only way I’ve found to divide a circle pleasantly……windows, doors, and foundations are explained.

Best Wishes,


Well if Bill says we should not connect more than one yurt then I am inclined to believe him. The plans are brilliant and seem to be all inclusive(plus they have some fun drawings accompanying the steps). Now we must decide if we want to follow Bills concentric yurt plans (which are all laid out step by step), attempt to build a larger free-span yurt on our own, or go with a fabric yurt.

Information on ordering Bills plans can be found here:

Financing a Yurt | Peer to Peer

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Our main goal, when it comes to living in a Yurt, is to adapt a simpler lifestyle. A lifestyle that does not include a $250,000 mortgage, sky high utility bills, and other financial obligations that encourage spending more time at an office than with our family. We hope to be able to buy our land out-of-pocket, along with most of the cost to build our Yurt. We are realising, as we plan, that we may fall a few thousand dollars short. Never wanting to borrow from a bank, own a credit card, or owe money to anyone that we love – it was hard to see what options we will have. Then I stumbled across the beautiful world of peer-to-peer lending. What attracts me most to this option is the ability to borrow from another person rather than a financial institution. Someone out there gets a little money while you get some help in  a time of need, what could be better than that? A few more perks of peer-to-peer lending:

  • Short term loans (your plan is set up to pay your balance off in 3-5 years, not 30)
  • No pre-payment penalties (this is a big bonus since we would aim to pay it off within a year)
  • Can borrow up-to $25,000 ( the amount you are approved for depends on credit score and income)

There are two main peer-to-peer lending sites out there:

Lending Club and Prosper

The way that these two operate is a bit different.

Prosper uses an “e-bay style” auction format where a borrower is given a loan with a high interest rate and different lenders can bid on that loan(offering to finance for a lower interest rate). It appears that credit scores are never displayed. You can display what you would like to use the money for in the auction listing- “build a Yurt, live a simpler life”.
Loans, Debt Consolidation,

Lending Club uses a formula based on your credit score and debt to income ratio to calculate the loan amount and interest rate that you qualify for. Your loans are simply “listed” and lenders can claim them.

If anyone has had experiences with peer-to-peer lending, I would love to hear!

Alternative Energy for Yurts

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Living in a  yurt and living off-the-grid often go hand in hand.  The first step in our journey is deciding on a lot to purchase. The lots we are considering(well that we can afford) range in size from 3/4 of an acre to about 3 acres. Some of the lots have full access to a range of utilities while others have nothing set-up whatsoever. As I progress further into my research I am finding some of the most common solutions that people are using in their off-the-grid yurt living. I will explore each seperate utility topic in more detail in the coming months. But for now here is a list of possible off-the-grid solutions for each utility:


  • Solar power
  • Wind power
  • Microhydro electricity


  • Rainwater catchment systems
  • Spring water system
  • Well water system


  • Greywater disposal systems
  • Composting toilets
  • Incinerator toilets
  • Outhouse


  • Wood burning stove
  • Solar heat systems
  • Propane heaters
  • Radiant Floor Heating

Oh the choices! I would love to hear from anyone that has comments about some of these options, or another option for me to add to the list!

Deciding on a Yurt Style

Monday, May 16th, 2011

As we are going through the process of determining which type of yurt will work best for our family, in the next few years and further into the future, we are having a difficult time coming to a decision (for more than a day or two anyway). Questions just keep popping up that are causing us to still be shaky on our decision. Which yurt is the cheapest to build? Which yurt will last the longest? How is financing affected when you compare a fabric yurt with a frame panel yurt? Would we even need financing? What about plumbing? Electricity? Heat?….and the questions continue…..

Well unfortunately I don’t have the answers to all of these questions just yet. But I would like to kick-start this blog by talking about some of the different styles of yurts that are out there.

The Fabric Yurt

This is the style of yurt that is offered through popular yurt kit companies such as PacificYurts, Rainier Yurts, Yurts of America, and Colorado Yurt Company. Fabric  yurt kits can be constructed in a matter of days and use minimal materials. Fabric yurts typically feature a lattice type wall and rafters which are held together with a tension cable. The entire structure is then covered with fabric (typically canvas).

The Frame Panel Yurt

The Frame Panel Yurt is essentially a round, yurt-style, house that is built using “framed-in-panels”. These yurts have straight walls that are comprised of several rectangular panels. The roof consists of triangular pie-shaped pieces that fit together to form a circle. Pre-fabricated kits for this style of yurt are available through companies such as Mindful Living and Smiling Woods Yurts.

The Tapered Wall Yurt

The tapered wall yurt combines the beauty of wood siding with the simplicity of a fabric yurt when it comes to construction. A tapered wall yurt uses a tension cable design, just like a fabric yurt, to support the structure. It is said that this style yurt can be constructed using only hand tools. Plans are available through the designer of the tapered wall yurt, Bill Coperthwaite.


Now my personal favorite of these designs is the tapered wall yurt. The only problem is that, because of it’s design, the size is extremely limited. Bill offers plans for single story tapered wall yurts, but only up to a diameter of 17′. If you wish to build a larger tapered wall yurt,  it seems that you need to build two yurts (a smaller yurt inside a larger one) – to be able to support the weight. This type of yurt is called a Concentric Yurt. While we like the idea of a concentric yurt, we would love any input on design ideas for constructing a larger (24′ or 30′ diameter) single-story tapered wall yurt.