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Temporary inexpensive housing while I build my house?

 
Jesse Meader
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I live in northern MN and I am going to build a tiny house for myself out in the sticks. I plan on buying land and getting started early spring/summer. What are some ideas for temporary prefab housing (assuming I can finish before winter comes...).

I thought about a prefab shed with patio pavers instead of slab for the foundation. I also thought about a yurt but I think it would be too expensive to buy one. Maybe a cheap camper?

I'd love to hear your stories -- what did you live in while you built your off-grid house?

 
Peter VanDerWal
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A tent or old camping trailer would probably be the cheapest way to go, especially if you don't plan on living in it through the winter.

 
Cristo Balete
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If I'm guessing right, MN has short summers.  That means in order to actually get a tiny house done you will probably have to deal with a cold spring and a cold fall/beginning of winter.   Where I am rats and mice eat right through fabric, so tents and yurts are very vulnerable and hard to heat...no insulation.   And if you hope to have people helping you, they won't stay long if you don't have decent accommodations for them.  And do you know what mouse pee does to a computer keyboard?  Not to mention all the places you don't know they are peeing.

You'll want a dwelling that isn't going to take up your time maintaining it, fixing it, because you will have a real deadline on a tiny house.

When things take longer than you think, when things go wrong, when a trip to the hardware/propane store takes several hours out of your daylight time, you'll want a self-contained, protected dwelling.  I am really tired of maintaining engines, so I would suggest a used travel trailer that has a kitchen, has a bathroom, a shower, heat, and you can sell it afterwards.  Something that can stand up to high/cold winds, where you can just get something to eat, take a shower and crash.  

Ideally I would build a small barn (10x20) and live in the loft of it, because where are you going to put all of your crucial and expensive tools?  Where are you going to work out of the rain and wind?  Where are you going to store lumber so it won't get wet?  Where are you going to store food so it won't get raided by big and little animals?   Where are you going to keep a generator dry, yet keep the fumes and noise away from living space?  Where are you going to put muddy boots and wet clothing?  Where are you going to wash and dry clothing?  Propane is a life saver, even if you don't intend to use it later (I always have a couple of 5 gallon tanks on hand, even if it's just for the BBQ).  Hot water and a warm place to plan and rethink things can really keep your spirits up.  The occasional BBQ can feel like a real event.

Property within 1 hour or less of a hardware/DIY/propane store is ideal.   Making trips into town can take up more time than you can imagine.  The sun will be going down, you'll be putting miles on your vehicle, using gas.  Most farm accidents happen at dawn and dusk when the light is iffy, so be careful.  One of my favorite gizmos is a lightweight headlamp that goes on with a stretchy strap, keeps your hands free.

Even if yours isn't going to be mobile, I would highly recommend watching the video of this young fella building his own tiny home.  He thought he could do it over the summer, and it turned into a year-long project.  He ran out of money several times.  His final figure was somewhere in the $26,000 range for a very small one.  The property he bought for it was too remote.  Then he had to find someone who would store it for him.  He doesn't live in it.   I don't know how these folks get these vehicles to qualify at the DMV.

I found the DVD at the library.  Maybe a library computer could stream it for you if you aren't able to stream it on your own.

http://tiny-themovie.com/
 
Cristo Balete
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It's also a good idea to live on a piece of property for a year and see what happens to it in all seasons, find out where the ground water flows, where the wind is worst, where the sun hits early in the morning so you can have the option of solar.  Building on top of where ground water flows can destroy all your hard work when the ground gets saturated.

My neighbors build a huge house that was engineered from start to finish, the foundation tied to bedrock, and they are still having ground water issues 10 years later.  They just had to put in a big piping system to try to detour it away from where it naturally flows.  A couple extra wet winters and their pride and joy of a house gets into a real trouble.
 
Jesse Meader
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Totally. You guys have me thinking I just rent an apartment or buy a camper and give myself a year's deadline instead. You're so right, it's probably going to take longer than I'm thinking, especially because I've never done this before!

My budget is 43k so I think I'll be able to pull it off financially.
 
Jesse Meader
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And yeah, I was planning on just throwing up a ridiculously small house just to get by while I study the land and save up to build a slightly bigger house or add on.
 
Loxley Clovis
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"A hexayurt is a shelter designed for refugees and other people with a small housing budget. Vinay Gupta invented the basic shape for classic hexayurts and a number of variations, and placed it in the Public Domain. This allows others to develop the original idea further. This wiki page, and associated pages, are the repository for hexayurt do-it-yourself building data, and primarily reference building techniques. Other developments are here, also in the Public Domain. The Hexayurt can be made from about $300 of materials from [the hardware store], plus about $100-150 of mail-ordered tape (or a new method using vinyl, discussed later). Depending on the construction technique, it takes about 8 hours to prepare at home and 0.5-4 hours of assembly at your destination. The Hexayurt is design is completely free, public domain. Anybody can use it, improvements are welcomed! This means you."
SOURCES:
http://www.appropedia.org/Category:Hexayurt_project
http://hexayurt.com/
http://www.appropedia.org/Hexayurt_schematics
HEXAYURT_at_BurningMan_2010-_(CC0_appropedia.org).jpg
[Thumbnail for HEXAYURT_at_BurningMan_2010-_(CC0_appropedia.org).jpg]
Hexayurt at BurningMan 2010, appropedia.org
HEXAYURT-Hexayurts_family_appropedia.org.jpg
[Thumbnail for HEXAYURT-Hexayurts_family_appropedia.org.jpg]
Hexayurts family, appropedia.org
HEXAYURT_cutting_plans_page_1_(CC0_appropedia.org).png
[Thumbnail for HEXAYURT_cutting_plans_page_1_(CC0_appropedia.org).png]
Hexayurt cutting plans page 1, appropedia.org
 
Mike Haasl
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When I built a cabin in the sticks on the weekends, I bought a $600 pop up camper and parked it there.  I collapsed it most weeks between visits.  We used it for two years and then sold it for $700 when we were done.  The little propane furnace could handle down to about 20 degrees.

Alternately, I like Christo's idea of building your future garage/workspace and living in the attic.  That should be a good summer build.  Having a place out of the weather and bugs to build stuff for the future house would be nice.
 
Cristo Balete
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I've never known the Super R insulator boards to be waterproof, or make any kind of waterproof connections, or hold any kind of snow load, so those probably work in the desert where there's no rain, no heavy snow, and are extremely temporary.  Rats love to chew through foam board, too.  

About the barn idea, if you are in a place where you need to keep your vehicle inside in the winter, or leave it turned on in the winter,  then one half of a barn/double garage could be for it.  But I don't imagine anybody leaves a car running where the fumes can get into a living space, so no living over where a vehicle is running for a long time, or a generator.

If you are actually developing a piece of property, there's the financial expense of getting power to it, which can be very, very expensive.  The cost of a well can be expensive.  Getting power to a remote well to run a pump is very expensive.   Long driveways can be expensive, and continue to be expensive in maintenance, especially if they are going up or down a hill/mountain.  You might be required to have a septic tank.

Once the power company puts a line to a piece of property you will be on the County radar for how you improve it.  If you want to put at least a 100-gallon propane tank there and have a company fill it, they will notify the fire department and the county, because they all let each other know about properties they come in contact with, and require all the proper details about placing a tank, i.e., clearance around it for fire, room for a large truck and fire truck to turn around near it, underground lines to code between the tank and building, etc.  Most gas appliances must have a 100-gallon tank at a minimum to get enough pressure to run.  

One thing most people forget where I am, codes now require an engineered bridge over a creek because of the fire department, the weight of a propane truck, and washouts every 5-10 years.   Those are made with essentially railroad tressles and are very expensive.  So if you can find a site you like that has access over dry land, you won't have to worry about that.

So while you've got a chunk of change to build a house, the infrastructure is often just as expensive.

 
Loxley Clovis
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Cristo Balete wrote:I've never known the Super R insulator boards to be waterproof, or make any kind of waterproof connections, or hold any kind of snow load, so those probably work in the desert where there's no rain, no heavy snow, and are extremely temporary.  Rats love to chew through foam board, too.


Good point. The first I skimmed over the first post, I thought Jesse was saying "early Spring" referring to just staying in it over the summer time. Then I just re-read the OP & it does seem like he wants to overwinter in it. Yeah, I have no idea how a Hexayurt would fair with heavy snow pack. That said, $450 for something that can be lived in for half the year & taken down & stored in the winter time & re-assembled when the snow melts is still pretty reasonable, IMO. "That fin - that vertical ridge - is then folded over in half, forming a 2" fin - and pop-riveted in that position. This connects the two panels, and and produces a structural reinforcing fin which is also watertight because there is no route for water to enter the building's roof, except by going up the fin, through the tight folds, and into the building." details. Do rats chew through plywood? http://www.appropedia.org/Hexayurt_Plywood & more various non-R-board Hexayurt building block options: http://www.appropedia.org/Hexayurt_materials And here's a link with another idea for waterproofing a Hexayurt.

Cristo Balete wrote:Most gas appliances must have a 100-gallon tank at a minimum to get enough pressure to run.


Every gas unit in my house runs on a 20-gallon tank: my cook top, my oven, my furnace heater. My gas regulator controls the pressure.
 
S Bengi
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Marine plywood, and some 2 by 4 lumber.
Or maybe a shed from home depo/lowes/costco.
You can even get some foam insulation in the same dimensions as plywood.
 
tony uljee
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hello, i am living rural but not as far out as you seem to want but what i went through might be of help , my small cottage and land needed lots of work --the sheds had fallen and the haybarn was in such a bad way as to be unusable---battled and struggled for a few years --working outdoors sounds manly/womanly/rugged and hi ho its off to work i go--i dont mind the ditch clearing and chopping and digging   outdoors when the weather allows or the odd emergency outdoor repair work in even the bad stuff---theres a sense of satisfaction in completion and achieving a goal or project ---although i doubt our coldest winter or rains could match yours maybe. Came a point in these early years  were the novelty of outdoor construction had long since worn away and the external and internals of the house were just not progressing it seemed---it was move out sell up or major re think. If you want to build and live in a small house--first build the BIGGEST  shed you dont think you can afford , i rebuilt and iron  sheeted my old hay barn and suddenly i had not only learnt about roofing and sheeting working with materials that i was not familar with at first  but had now created a workspace out of the rain to make rafters and beams for the house and a place to store building material . The luxury of being able to layout stuff-- work away at my own pace and leave it set up with tools at the ready for next time meant slowly but surely i got things done and it turned my attitude right around --it was back to enjoying the life at my pace and getting things done. , if you are not bound to a lot of planning regulations and can be independent of as few services as possible try as much to do so. I could go on here with more of what i would do and fill a page , my other advice is learn to weld and lots of other hands skills trades --getting anything done by other people when you are far out costs a lot of money ,time , and lots of mis-understandings usually happen in between, its not easy --thankfully --otherwise everyone would do it and we would have no where to live --except to move back to the city.
 
Cristo Balete
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A couple other points....

1.  A level working surface inside the working shed, like tamped gravel, or a wooden floor,  to lay out 12-20 feet of lumber.   Putting stuff on uneven ground just trashes measurements.

2.  Metal sheds get condensation on the inside and drip all over the contents.  I also have not been able to keep mice out of a metal shed, mostly because they can squeeze through a tiny space in those sliding doors.  Wooden sheds and structures stay drier, and can be repaired if there's any termite damage or wood mold.

3.  A woodstove is a really satisfying piece of equipment.  There's a sense of primal safety being able to watch it burn, feel the heat, and even cook on the top of it, heat water.  It can take an hour to get heat when starting from scratch, keeping it going all night requires getting up, but I always liked having one.  The floor might need extra support under it to support a 600-lb stove.   Storing firewood can be tricky, mice/rats love to get in between those logs, so do hornets and wasps.   There's a special piece in the pipe that goes through the wall, it's not just straight pipe, otherwise it could start your wall on fire.
 
Peter VanDerWal
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If you are planning to eventually build a shed/workshop/barn, then I agree with the others that might be a viable option for short term living.  You can build a water proof 10x12 shed in a weekend for not much money, two days is how long it took me to build my first shed.  

Without insulation it won't be warm in the winter, but a 4 season sleeping bag can solve that, or even a pile of blankets.  Add a bucket type composting toilet for extra convenience.
As a bonus, living in a shed will be a lot like living in a tiny home (without insulation) so you can get an idea of what you really want, maybe even change your home design a bit before starting your build.

Don't try to heat an uninsulated shed.  Waste of energy and potentially deadly if you are using a propane heater, etc.

If it get's unbearably cold, well you can always head into town and stay at a longterm hotel for a month or so until it warms up again.

FWIW it's doubtful that any cheap RV will be suitable for cold winters.  The majority of RVs aren't intended for winter use, and four season RVs tend to be expensive, even used.

Hmm, it just occurred to me, depending on what type of insulation you plan on using in the Tiny home, you might be able to use it temporarily in the shed.  For example, fiberglass batts or foam board could be used temporarily in the shed and then later moved to the Tiny home.

Third possibility, probably the best option.  You don't actually have to FINISH the tiny home before you move in.  As long as the outside walls and roof are done, it will work as well as a shed.  You can finish the inside (walls, plumbing, electrical, counters/cabinets etc.) while you're living in it.   I would think that even if you only work on it on the weekends,  you could get a tiny home to a weather tight stage in one or two months.  Probably a week or two if you're not doing anything else.
 
John Weiland
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Jesse Meader wrote:

My budget is 43k so I think I'll be able to pull it off financially.



Is this for land and buildings or just buildings?
 
John C Daley
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A lot of people waste time and money building a
'temporary house.
Go with the shed idea initially, it will be something that can be repurposed as suggested, but will serve you will initially.
 
Glenn Herbert
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I bought an old camping trailer when starting to build my house (30+ years ago). Having immediate cooking, washing and heating facilities relieves a lot of temporary setup and lets you relax and feel civilized. Depending on how much you enjoy primitive living and how long you will be waiting to use your real house, that can be very important. My trailer was decrepit enough when I bought it that ripping into places to winterize water systems was no loss.

On another hand, a shed that you can use for tools and workspace, with living loft, would make working on components much easier and extend the season past warm dry weather. If you plan to have a permanent tiny house, you will need a space for tools, wood, etc. forever.
 
Paul Petrea
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Here in Cambodia, we are going to build a home on an area we filled in with 120 truck loads of dirt. We want to give the land ample time to settle, prior to starting a foundation, though.

In the mean time, we had a 20' container insulated and finished inside, to stay in until the home is completed. We also added a metal roof / rainwater collection surface to the container. Total cost was roughly $3,600 USD, all in.

I realize costs will be much different stateside. But, it still may be something to consider.
 
William Bronson
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I've no homestead experience, but lots of diy building experience.

I myself need a big, cheap waterproof space to work in,so here are my plans.
I plan to  build a high tunnel.
I will actually frame it in wood.
Framing with dimensional wood is easy,and lumber can often be had for free.
The posts will  be anchored in  gravel and fieldstone, contained in free draining buckets to keep the soil out and treated with borox.
Inside I will tamp the soil, lay down pallets, cardboard, 6mil plastic,more cardboard,then a hardboard floor,taped at the seams.
I will bait in the space inside pallets,with peanut butter/Portland cement.
The plastic sheeting of the roof will be protected from sun and wind by used carpet,though rolls of used carpet are increasingly hard to come by.
I got this idea from some here on permies(Alder Burns: https://permies.com/t/83958/Tiny-House-Advice-Requested#695157), and it has worked great on my chicken coop.
I never did as he did, further protecting the carpet with mud-n-stucco type stuff, but fallen leaves do form soil on the surface, and things are starting to grow.

If I was going to stay there, I would build a
foam structure like a hexayurt in one corner.
The insulation plus body heat might remove the need for space heating.
Cooling on the other hand...


If I needed active heating/cooling I might:
-build a RMH
-Keep an uninsulated tank of heated water in the insulated hut.
-Run an RV air-conditioner off of ground mounted solar
- Run an air  to water heater exchanger  to/from a shaded water supply.
-Run a trickle of water over the roof for evaportive cooling.
No indoor flames without constant supervision.

Bed might be a hammock or a zero gravity chair.
Cheap, portable and  anecdotally comfortable. Off the ground for air circulation.
Phones and lights on solar, heavier  loads on propane powered generator.
I think running now generator on propane
could help avoid many mantainence issues.

Pee diverted to the landscape, poop diverted to vermicomposting.

If I did live like this, I'm sure it would affect how my actual house was built,having experienced a different way of living.

I can imagine adopting the hightunnel as my home, or running back to the city...
 
Nicole Alderman
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A few years back, my neighbor build a 12x12 log well house. He didn't need permits for it, since it was that size. He kept an extra chest freezer in there for storing meat.

Fast-forward a few years, and some new people now own the land. They're still working on getting permits for a house. BUT, I'm pretty sure they're living in the wellhouse. The chinked up the gaps in the logs, and added a hot water heater. I have no idea what else they have in there .

Anyway, if you're going to have a well and a wellhouse on your property, why not make the wellhouse larger and live in it?

 
Mike Barkley
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I went to college in MN. Brrrrrrrr. Two things immediately come to mind. Use the very best insulation you can find. Then design & build everything else around a kick a## rocket mass heater.

Also, & I say this from fairly recent experience in northern MN, beware the DNR because they have a tendency to claim they saw some endangered bird 1/2 mile away on your property as they happened to be driving by in the middle of nowhere. They just want to have a friendly look around. And then prevent you from using their your land.
 
John C Daley
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What is the DNR?
Another AFA?
 
Mike Haasl
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DNR is a TLA (three letter acronym) for Department of Natural Resources.  Game wardens.
 
Mike Barkley
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I was trying to be nice & not get political here. It's really an ugly story.

 
L. Tims
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To me a prefab barn or a yurt seem like tiny houses in and of themselves, not temporary shelters. If you really want to minimize money and time spent on the temporary shelter and don't need it super comfy you could always chop a small tree down, lean it against it's stump (with some long nails hammered in at the sides or a notched indent to keep it from falling over), knock all the branches off, stick a tarp over it (stake it into the ground at the corners obviously), pile the branches back on top and presto, a shelter with $20, an axe and an afternoon. A ground pad or some pine needles under you for insulation, a decent sleeping bag and a fire built in front with a a curved clay-mud reflector wall built behind it and you'll be toasty.
 
Josh Garbo
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I would not recommend a Hexayurt for anything other than a one-week high desert camping trip.  They're designed to be portable, not function as semi-permanent structures in wet climates.

However, the guy who discussed building a foam structure inside a weather proof greenhouse-style shell could be on to something.  I'd look into roundwood shelter construction, conventional sheds, and double-wall fan-blown greenhouses.  BTW, I lived in a van quite comfortably through two CO winters with just 2-4 inches of poly-iso insulation, some vents, and a radiant propane heater.

Or, check these out: https://www.ziptiedomes.com/geodesic-dome-greenhouse/index.htm  I don't have one, but I've contacted the owner; they seem helpful and ready to assist if you want custom work.  I might try to build a small "sweat lodge"/longhouse style building at some point, possibly combining bamboo/carbon fiber epoxy tech, the carpet/cement stucco thing someone was talking about, straw-bales, and moderate amounts of earth-sheltering.

BTW, Yurts are not the best-insulated structures and they aren't cheap.  Tiny houses are even more expensive, and IMO are only really designed to be mobile and "instagrammable," not necessarily energy efficient.
 
denise ra
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Great thread, just what I am wanting to discuss! I want to live on the place for a year before choosing a permanent house location.

Cristo Balete mentioned that metal sheds get condensation and drip. Will this be the case with this insulated metal shed? I spoke with these guys and they use hurricane ties in the sheds which is good in Tornado Alley. I would use for storing materials and tools and as a shop. Polar Shed Products What size shed is useful? Peter VanDerWal mentioned building a shed in two days. I've never built anything by myself, though I have helped at Habitat, is it reasonable to assume I could do it in a few weeks? William Bronson? tony uljee?

I am going to buy a used RV, hopefully 4-season, as I will be living at 2000' on the High Plains summer and winter. How does one go about tying down an RV?! In March when I was there there was a weekend of 30-40 mph winds with gusts 60-90 mph. The only location near electric and water is at the top of the property on an open hill.

What about a pad for the RV and a driveway? What is required for this? Can I just have gravel dropped and spread on the pasture as is, or do I have to have a road scraped? I got stuck in my non-4WD when I was there after some rain-orange mud pasture.

The electric and water are right up against the county road which is dusty as all get-out with gas field trucks zooming by all day. I need suggestions for some type of quick(no time for hedges) privacy/dust blocking fence. I thought about a stretch of chain link with those green plastic things stuck through for privacy and maybe wind relief. In the summer I could grow a fast vine on it too.

Thanks for any replies. Winter is coming.
 
William Bronson
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I have built an Arrow brand shed in the cold,  over the course of days.
So the company could use the same parts over many different models it was designed from many small pieces.
This massively increased  time,labor and frustration that the job took.
I built it on a layer of tamped gravel, with pavers around the perimeter.
I will never again build an Arrow shed, not for any reasonable amount of money.


That being said, I have since framed plenty of things in 2x4 lumber and I can confidently say that a cabin or shed 8x8, or 8x16 or any other multiple  of 8 would be crazy quick and easy and cheap  to build by comparison.
If you have a quality shed kit,  it should also be pretty quick and easy and a few weeks should be plenty  of time

As for your fencing,  chainlink is inexpensive enough,  but the opaque accessories like the strips are not.
My first choice would be a large berm.
Nothing like a hill of dirt to block out dust and traffic.
Earth moving usually either expensive or time consuming, so let's table that.

If you are trying to block dust and such,  used carpet or tarps might work.

If it has to look presentable, maybe coat it in cement slurry.
Tarps need something on top,  like window mesh,  for cement to stack to.
Actually, plastic tarps will just tear up in wind and sun.
Maybe use  canvas drop cloths.
If carpet or drop cloths aren't available, or they offend your sensibilities(carpets be plastic!), burlap bags coated in cement is an old technique called petrified Hessian.
What I like about it is the potential to pile soil at against it,  and  that it will eventually return to the earth,  but not for a long time.
I've not tried it yet.

Good old silt fencing is an option as well.


For the structure of the fence,  I like to drive steel posts into the ground with a post driver.
T posts are best,  but, top rail,rebar and bed rails also work well.
I tie wire or hoseclamp 2 by 4, 6 or 8 lumber  to the rails  to provide nailing surface if I'm building a wooden fence.

If it's a wire or chainlink fence, I use a come-along or rachet strap to stretch the fencing,  and zip ties or tie wire to secure it to the uprights.
A bottom rail is good, the ridgedness of the rail keeps people and animals from easily squeezing under.
You probably don't need a toprail  for a chainlink or wire fence,  in fact it can make it climbing easier.
 
leila hamaya
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i've posted this link somewhere here before, but worth re posting.

have spent a long time looking over the listings of this company that makes pre cut shed kits, some of them quite large, and also offers frame only kits, for barns, garages etc...many of their designs could be turned into small homes. you dont have to finish them off with the same materials, you can use different materials for the walls, or add extra "roof" footage and then build an addition to one of these.

theres a lot of different places online and in different locations making small shed kits...but of all that i have looked over these are the best ones i have seen, imo anyway...

but yeah there are companies all over this country that make these. some of which will plop down a fully assembled version of one of these large sheds if you are within their delivery distance and many of which work on a lease to own type deal...with 300-500 per month payments or such.

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/salt-box-series-large/

https://s3.amazonaws.com/jamaicacottageshop.com/uploads/JCSsale.pdf

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/16x20-barn/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/20x30-barn/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/one-bay-garage/
 
denise ra
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Leila, Thanks for the lead. The Jamaica Cottages - post and beam construction- look nice enough to be houses. I looked up a one bay garage with no windows but with the hurricane package and it's $7700 which includes the bay door but no extra windows or doors, and no floor. For me that's pricey for a work shed. Also, since I'm in tornado and high wind country certain design features are problematic like steep roofs and overhanging eaves. They are pretty though.
 
leila hamaya
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yeah most of the ones i showed were the larger, nicer, and therefore more expensive ones.
they do have smaller cheaper ones...and many of them they sell a frame only kit as the cheapest.
so you would have to then finish the interior and exterior walls...and some of their really small sheds are more in the 3,000 - 6,000 range.


you can certainly build a shed for less than that, but then all the cutting pieces, planning, designing, putting it together, gathering the materials...this all takes time, tools and know how.

well for what it is, and how it would make it much quicker to build something...i think its a fairly good deal they are offering. especially on a monthly pay off plan...and especially to me...one of those larger sizes is big enough for a permanant tiny house. course theres also...infrastructure, plumbing, insulation and all that jazz...but for a small simple shell...i think they are good deals, anyway.

there are definitely companies all over the country that make these, just not all of them are high quality. i have checked out a few in california, but i have seen them all over. many of them do their own financing too...and i think its a good service people who are making these kits and offering these...

*some cheaper versions, since i got curious enough to window shop their internet listings again...  --->

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/riverside/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/pond-house

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/salt-box-series-8x/
or --> https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/salt-box-medium/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/cross-gable/


and keeping in mind with some of these that you can finish them off differently with doors and windows... --->

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/weekender-10x/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/new-yorker/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/10x-basic-run-2/

and a few more --->

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/doll-house-option-1/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/bunk-house/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/green-house/

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/shop/garden-shed/

 
denise ra
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William Bronson wrote:

Good old silt fencing is an option as well.

This stuff? Polyethylene Woven Geotextile Fabric, 300' Length x 6' Width I wonder if it lets enough wind pass through to not become a sail? What type of posts would I use and how far apart?
 
William Bronson
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I'm not sure if it would work or not.
Silt fence is designed to catch soil particles while letting water pass,so I think  it might do well with letting wind pass through.
I would use t-posts set at 8 feet apart and secure them with zip ties.
 
Travis Johnson
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The cheapest way out of this would be to take your RV and park it with leveled up with some jacks on wide boards or cinderblocks. Whatever makes the jacks stable even on future muddy soil. I would not bother with gravel under it, or a concrete pad because it is just tempoarary. Then I would get some of those dog screw in anchors, and secure that into the ground, and tie down your RV to them so that they will not blow away in high winds. How many you use is up to you, or if you use cable or ropes. Cables will not stretch, but are expensive and harder to work with than rope. But you get the idea, secure the RV firmly to the ground.

Assuming there is no driveway, bring in gravel so you can park your vehicle somewhere. How close that is to your RV is up to you, but the farther you are willing to walk, the cheaper it will be for you. You might even want some extra gravel to make a path from the parking area to the RV because walking in mud really sucks, and is frustrating.

As for protection, in what you would have in posts, fencing, and time, you could rent a small excavator. Here I can get a 10,000 pound unit that moves about 1/2 a cubic yard per bucket for $350 for 8 hours. You could build quite the berm in 8 hours with one. You will not get much of a fence for $350...

Now if this all seems simple, it is because it is. This is a minimal start, from here you constantly refine your situation. Instead of securing your RV on 4 top corners, you add a few more when you can. And maybe you rent that excavator again and build a longer berm, or a taller one. Do you see what i mean? And because you are there, you will have more time to improve your situation. In the USA, I see a lot of people who think they have to do things intensly and never do it again, but that is not how life has always been. Homesteaders would move to a place, make a primative cabin, and constantly refine it until it was hospitable.

And for what it is worth, I commend you for doing what you are doing.

I did the same years ago. I built a Tiny House in 1994 and moved in with just walls and a roof and electricity, I did not even have running water. But it only stayed that way for a few weeks, being in the home, i constantly improved my situation. Looking back, what i did was very intelligent, and so is your plan. You have to be humble up front, then put in the work, but in the end you will be greatly rewarded. I am not talking non-sense here, I lived it, and am living proof. I understand what you are trying to do, and am very proud of you.



 
tony uljee
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hello denise , fencing and a privacy /dust blocker that you would prefer are 2 very different  barriers , with strong winds anything that is a sail---something that is flexible and catches wind ---will eventually become one---and all of them are plastics ---non recycle and very limited re purpose once shredded and torn up----then the failure and disappointment is only made worse by trying to dispose of it---more money and time  -it will cost lots of money either way to do it once as a heavy duty option   , or over several years and attempts  with experimental options . Living in a suburb or city these hard concrete or steel barriers would fit in and those green fine mesh  plastic cloths tied up to posts and steel cables would work , in a rural ,or small holding area --you would just stick out---if you need to keep out livestock from those around you or keep your s in ---its a stock fence and electric strand ---nothing else will work . The physical barrier you would like to create , as i read it is only on one side of the property  ,  if you have the space and landscape ---create a berm as already suggested ---or a hugel wall structure. You don t have to do so all at once --section by section to the hight you would like ---or layer by layer --until its the right hight---its more diy friendly as any dead trees ,rocks , bricks ,lumps of concrete you can buy -collect -scavange --can be built into it and soiled over . Your initial layer of soil and spoil could come out of a ditch created just in front of it---a swale in all intents and purposes. The whole lot can steadily be planted over with any tree /hedge combination  that will grow in your enviroment ---no growing space lost --recapture the carbon used in machine time plus fuel used . Yes the trees will take time ---but you will be so busy building your life and house ---one day you will look up ---and a line of trees will be there before you know it---there will be a source of firewood , blossoms for bees , nesting for birds ,leaf and twig mulch for soil---not sure about growing any food stuff on it for yourself as the passing traffic will be a pollutant---but maybe in time they will be gone or become electric. There you have it ---a dust catching row of trees --eventually ---shielded view --muffled sounds and no wasted time and money  ---but a huge amount of time and effort ----not easy but doable at your own pace. Strapping down a RV---if i had winds around me that could lift one of those ---its time to move away or think about burying the shed under ground ---build a bunker maybe with attached garage.
 
William Bronson
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Travis has a great point about renting an earth  mover.
I could really use one myself, yet my lack of familiarity makes me hesitate to rent one.
I build fences over the course of time as I can afford them,with as much in the way of salvaged materials as possible.
I can adjust or even tear down and begin again when I make a misstep.
Spending hundreds of dollars to rent a machine is daunting, because I would have to count on my ability to produce the need outcome in the given time period, or lose that monetary investment.
For example,I am currently rebuilding a shed, and recovering/reusing  a lot of deck screws in the process.
Since I have never run an earth mover before, I don't know what I could or couldn't do in that time.

All that being said, a hill of dirt seems like a pretty strait forward task compared to the grading and digging I would like to do.
Plus, Travis has a lot of experience to draw from, so his confidence that a novice could get the needed work in the time allotted done is a solid endorsement.

 
Travis Johnson
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William...no need to fear.

The first time I operated a excavator it came from me screening gravel with a wheel loader, and bouncing my head off the windshield with every bucketful from the hard gravel of the bank. There was an excavator sitting there, so I grabbed it, and started digging, having never used it ever before.

It was ever so natural, pull a lever with this arm, and the machine pulled back, push and it extended. Twist your wrist and it dumped the bucket, etc.

Within an hour it was like I had run one all my life. They are really, really easy machines to run, so do not be intimidated. It is also why they are so common, they get a lot done fast.

(BTW: I run my equipment on "John Deere" settings, while others run on "Cat" settings. In learning, it does not matter. You will learn what you first start with. After that, if a machine operates backwards, just switch it, they all have a lever now that shifts from Cat to John Deere. Neither setting is better or worse than the other. I cannot do Cat because I learned via John Deere, so Cat seems backwards. But for learning, it does not matter. John Deere seems more natural to me, so if you chose that configuration, just tell the rental company, "can you set it up for John Deere controls", and they will.

After the third hour, you will thank me for encouraging you to try it. By the fifth hour, you will be wanting to buy one...
 
leila hamaya
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yeah me too, i am more than a bit intimidated by the whole excavator, maybe the mini ones seem a little more doable, less intimidating...but yeah i've been down that road too.
then i got to checking out the way less intimidating skid steers, especially the smaller ones. now that...i think with some practice... might be more beginner friendly. i think it might be cheaper to rent one too...and even theres some small skid steers that are much cheaper to potentially buy....

i do agree with travis on the whole little bit at a time, get there and figure it out as you go. start small and just keep plugging away at it to get better and better.
thats the power of inching along, dont get ahead of yourself...one step at a time. the things needed become obvious and pressing as you go along.
 
Michael Cox
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Here in the UK there is a tradition of the old forestry coppice workers building temporary shelters on the land they worked and moving on with the seasons. I don't know how our climate compares to yours, but they were used year round as a base to work from. They tended to be very crude things - frequently little more than tarps securely wrapped over a pole structure to provide a windproof "house". A step up from simple camping, as you get substantially more floor area to work with, and they usually included a wood burning stove of some sort.

Such a structure can be easily upgraded to be more comfortable by including a "proper" bed, insulating the floor (a thick layer of pine branches, topped with salvaged carpet). The people living in these were tough - they worked hard outdoor jobs year round. It wouldn't be comfortable but it would be quick cheap, versatile and temporary. Plus you wouldn't get too comfortable, so they actual house build is more likely to get done!

In the UK such shelters were called "bothies" - I looked for pictures but that term is also used much more commonly to refer to stone build mountain shelters that shepherds, hill walkers and the occasional lost drunk sleep in. (I can personally attest to the latter two)
 
Michael Cox
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I should probably add - that tradition has dwindled to basically nothing with cheap cars and the decline of our traditional woodland crafts.
 
I suggest huckleberry pie. But the only thing on the gluten free menu is this tiny ad:
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