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Round woodland cabin

 
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Hi Permies people.

Im based In South West Wales and have been offered a small woodland to build my own tiny house in...

So Im currently in the planning, throwing ideas around stage. I would like to build a round timber framed round house, about 3-4 meters in diameter, with strawbale infill and a green roof.

I have access to most of the natural materials I might need, and I really want to keep this a pure ecological build, respecting the trees and wildlife that has already inhabited the land.

Im currently pondering how to set the house within the woodland without disturbing any root systems and as the site is on a gradual slope, I figured the best option would be to build up on stilts places on the earth...

but I need some info about how to keep everything in its place, with out digging down.

Would it be enough to place 50-60cm logs on end so they all level up, and then build the frame ontop? Bearing in mind it will be pretty heavy with a green roof and round larch frame, so should stay anchored in place okay.

Any pictures or advice would be awesome..

Thanks y'all One love
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Hi Davey.

It depends on where you are, but I think what you're proposing needs tweaking to be safe in the long term.

You're essentially talking about setting pilings on forest soil. Fine so far, except the wood pilings would be in contact with a fungally-rich soil that is primed to devour it.

I suggest setting the pilings instead in holes in the soil, atop stone and surrounded, at least for the biologically active top three to four inches, with biologically inert mineral soil or gravel. This will keep the pilings intact, while minimising physical disturbance to the soil.

I would also swale uphill from your build site, or at least arrange the fallen forest litter in rows on contour to act as sediment traps, and to slow the progress of water downhill to increase water infiltration.

In some situations, it might also be appropriate to dig a deeper, more substantial swale just uphill from the building area, to increase water infiltration into the subsoil rather than under the structure atop the surface, but slightly sloping to downgrade to either side of the structure, where the water could be directed into secondary swales, to be better able to direct water away from the structure.

-CK
 
pollinator
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Location: Anjou ,France
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How perminant do you want ?
as we are both from the UK we both know the planning situation :-( and we both know the powers of the planning authority :-(  I assume we are talking a very remote situation and a very small house .
Have you thought of an earth floor ?

David  
 
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I don't think think I could recommend building on wooden blocks set on the surface if you plan doors and windows.  The level of the blocks will change, the walls set on them will change but windows and doors can't.  Problems opening and. closing and possible even breakage are almost certain.  Trees have many roots and seem to forgive burrowing animals the loss of a few. The probably would forgive the loss of few to make your home stable to. They will grow or enlarge other roots and no long-term damage will result if most of roots are undamaged.
 
Davey Jones
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Yes many good points made.

I found a great post on here about the technique of setting posts on natural stones that have been bedded into crushed hardcore...so I think this would be far longer lasting...or maybe I just dig the 13 post holes into the earth, and back fill with crushed stone?

As for having an earthen floor, I would need to build up a plinth wall to raise up out of the slope, as I would like to use strawbales, and as we all know, straw and damp dont mix well. Plus I dont have access to much stone, but the timber is in surplus, so makes sense to utilise the materials closest to the site.

Although, it would be best to stay low, rather than building up on stilts for stealth reasons...

soooo...how does one go about building a round plinth wall to take me out of the earth without using stone? Earth bags maybe?

 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I would use any stumps already in the right place on the slope, and add posts wherever necessary, and then weave a wattle barrier, backfilling uphill of the stumps and posts.

A little cob and a generous roof overhang, and some extra attention paid to water diversion and control uphill, and you have a well-wearing foundation for your cabin.

-CK
 
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hey there!
Everyone has had great ideas. Get the wood off the ground, key.
i work with a group of rad women how have been kicking it old school for the last 12 years. we dig down to stable soil, replace some with gravel. tamp it down, lay real nice flat post stones and put our posts right on there.
so far so good. Gotta keep those post bottoms dry.
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dry stack!
 
pollinator
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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You might like to look into using a reciprocal roof

https://www.milkwood.net/2013/07/15/roundhouse-build-making-a-reciprocal-roof/
 
pollinator
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Surely there is information in the UK on exactly this style of construction.
If you have poles sitting on flat stones, how do you plan to keep the structure stable.
Can you do the woodwork to keep a round house locked together.
I imagine the oak pole and beam structures built for centuries in England may give you a hint.
 
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