Where to Build a Log Cabin

Where you build a log cabin is not only important for the health and longevity of the structure, but your own! Here are the most crucial things to consider when choosing where to build a log cabin:

Build a Cabin Photo: normanack/Flickr

  • Accessibility – First things first. Can you easily get to your site? Can delivery vehicles and any other mechanical contractors you may hire be able to get trucks in, if necessary? Is the length of your driveway going to be affordable for you?
  • Grade –Many wonderful cabins are built on hills, but be ready for the extra work and issues a hill brings. A level site is cut and dry, when it comes to building. Hills may bring the need for retaining walls to deal with erosion problems. If two sites are equal in other areas and one is on a slope, you might want to go for the level site.
  • Soil - It’s best to build a log cabin on a site that is a bit higher and dry. If the soil is regularly damp, expect mildew and log rot. If you will have indoor plumbing, you will need to have a “perk” test to make sure that you can legally install a septic system.
  • Water –  Before you dig the first shovel full of earth, be sure you know where your water will come from, whether a spring, rainwater, a drilled or driven well.
  • Sun and Shade - Think about which direction the sun comes up and sets. Do you want to wake up to a sunrise? Or maybe you like sitting on the porch playing the banjo like me and want the porch to get afternoon and evening sun. Sun along the longest side of the cabin will provide the most heat. I love big old trees around a cabin but too many may provide too much shade (and potential for limbs to break off on the cabin). The ideal foliage gives shade on the south and west sides of a cabin during the summer and then allows the sun to warm the cabin after the leaves fall.
  • Wind – A cabin that is sheltered by land and trees will be warmer. A hilltop site usually has steady wind. In an area that is usually hot, the breeze may be welcome, but in colder parts the wind is an enemy!

Build a Cabin Photo: Charlie Anzman/Flickr

  • View – Though I saved it for last, the view from your cabin is certainly not least important. Try to imagine driving up to the cabin, looking out each window and door, sitting on the porch. What will you see? What is the backdrop? Choose a site that will make you smile.
My best advice is to spend many hours on site before you ever build a log cabin. Be there at dawn, at noon, at sunset. Experience all you can of the land and what it has to offer. If your land is vacant, try to camp out there during different seasons, if possible. Put your tent right in the spot you want to build a log cabin.

Sometimes you are fortunate enough to have several spots to choose from, like I did when I was build a cabin in Michigan. Evaluate, calculate and do your homework…but in the end choose the spot that you feel in your gut is right for you.