Setting Up Your Land For A Tiny House

tiny-house-tiny-homeSource: The Tiny Life

One thing I’ve realized through my entire journey is that not only do you have to build a house, but there is quite a bit that goes into setting up the land itself.  These things include access, infrastructure, security and utilities.  Each of these categories can be tricky and expensive in their own right, but very necessary for living.

RyansPlace-wKey

General Considerations

You’ll notice that I have a field at the edge of the property which I have two entrances/exits to my gravel pad.  This allows me to bring in the house, unhitch it and then have a place to exit with the truck.  It also allows me to gain access to my storage trailer if I want to move it or take it off the property.  It’s important to consider before you bring your house to the property:

  • How will you enter the property?
  • How will you exit the property once the house is placed?
  • How will you exit with the house if you need to move?
  • Are the curves to tight to make with such a large trailer/house?
  • What direction do you want your front door (back of trailer) to face?

Another thing to consider is parking for your car and visitor’s cars.  I also like to be able to pull right up near the door for move in day and also bringing in groceries.

I would also suggest placing your tiny house in a place with deciduous trees so your house is shaded in the summer and open to the sun in the winter.  Before moving the house to my location, I made sure to go around and inspect all the surrounding trees to see if any needed to be removed because they posed a danger because of rot.  I discovered one tree that was ready to fall any day, so I cut it down before the house was ever there.

Access

The first step to getting the land to the point where you can live on it is simply being able to access it.  This comes in the form of roads, driveways, turnarounds and parking pads.  Before you even think about laying down the road, you must first clear the way, remove trees, level the dirt and make your path to your new home.  You have a couple options: gravel, cement, and asphalt.  Gravel is the most economical, I wouldn’t suggest just dirt, because you are bringing in a very heavy house, it’s likely to get stuck, plus it gets muddy in the rain.

Here is a video of the installation of my road, turnaround and parking pad.  Note I had a much easier time because there used to be an old dirt road in this location, so it was simply a matter of cleaning it up and leveling it out.  The whole process took about 6 hours of hard work.

Infrastructure

Laying the lines, pipes and other key connections is a pretty tricky part because it often requires either backbreaking work or heavy equipment.  When you’re running pipes and lines over any distance you run into issues of drop in voltage and pressure; so you need to take care to size things appropriately and it will dictate where you can actually place your home.  When I first looked at the land, I had wanted to place my house about 300 feet away from it’s current location, but it meant I’d have to run a #3 wire to compensate for the voltage drop as I ran the line to the closest solar exposure, that would have cost an additional $700 in just wire!

For water I am connected to the city water.  The meter and installation cost me $2,200 (city sets price), but that is only from the water main to the closest edge of your property.  You then need to connect it from there to your house, which will cost me an additional $800:  $500 materials, $300 for ditch witch rental, me doing all the labor.

See more at: http://thetinylife.com/setting-up-your-land-for-a-tiny-house-2/

Panels Are Up!

tiny-house-tiny-homeBy Jess & Dan

Source: Another Tiny House Story

When you get something done that you didn’t have planned? Always a great feeling.

Over the holiday weekend, Dan and I very much enjoyed the rainy 4th. Why, you ask? Well, when it rains one has less guilt about the long list of projects staring one in the face. One can say, “Oh gee, well would you look at that, I can’t work in this rain! Guess I will just sit back, relax, and catch a movie or something equally passive.” haha


And that we did! –At home. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought it would be a good day for a movie. We went, saw the the massive line, and after waiting just 3 minutes we heard a staff member call out, “Maleficent is sold out!” So, we headed off to do some other errands that had been adding up, then enjoyed a movie at home. 

We didn’t set our sights too high for the weekend. We have both been feeling the burn out set in. It’s been over a solid year of working almost every last weekend and several, several weekdays of putting in the full 8.5 then coming home and putting in another 3-4. It’s beginning to catch up with us! I’ll admit, I’ve had more than one semi-melt down day in the last month or two. A break is much needed. But the end is in sight!


Neither of us expected we would get the panels up over the weekend. There was a lot to be discussed and figured still. Or at least we seemed to think so. But on Saturday, as we puttered around, unpacking this, tidying up that, we kept staring at that stack of panels. Finally, we made our way over and started to discuss the strategy we had for mounting them. We leaped from one alternative to another, only to end up back at the same idea. The truth is, you can talk in circles all day long or you can just DO IT. Then learn from the doing. 


“Let’s just try putting up one and see how it goes,” I said nonchalantly, and thus the panel mounting began. We opted to use flat brackets, about 3 inches long with four different holes. There are only 4 holes to choose from on either side of the panel itself, so we had made our racking according to those lengths. 

First we secured the brackets to the back of the panel racking with the bolt and nut facing up into the gap created by the frame of the panel- that way, when placed onto the racking, that bolt head was flush with the panel’s frame. Once we had the panel in place, we used large wood screws to secure the bracket to the racking. The first one went up rather easily, as did the second, so we just kept going!


Due to our method of securing the panel, we had to have about 3-4 inches of space between each panel, so there was space to screw down the brackets. We alternated the height of the panels as well so the brackets of two adjacent panels could set under or above one another- otherwise the gap would have been larger if we kept them all at the same height and had brackets butting together.

Our two rows of racking are not symmetrical by any means either. We had to dig our post holes where we could manage to make holes period. So, we opted to leave a larger gap in the center of the back row, so as to sort of center the panels on the rack and also provide a nice opening for wind to come through- thereby reducing it’s impact on the panels. The front row of racking is shorter, so we kept the same spacing all the way across.


We had all but two of the panels up by the end of Saturday. We needed more hardware to finish the job, so we called it a day. We stood back and admired our work. No, they aren’t the picture perfect solar arrays you see in magazines where every last panel is immaculately lined up, centered, and even every which way. They are a little off here and there, like their owners. 🙂 Last I checked, the sun still shines just as well on panels that aren’t perfectly pretty in a row- as long as they are pointing at the sun!

See more at: http://livinginatinyhouse.blogspot.com/2014/07/panels-are-up.html