There is a new and excellent trend in garden design recently, and it is spreading like wildfire. People are choosing to build miniature log cabins in their gardens as a secondary dwelling. It is cute, functional, and a great addition that adds value to your home (and gives you a little escape in the middle of your yard).
If you have been considering building or transplanting a log cabin for the garden, here are ten tips for choosing the perfect one, and loving the results.
1 – Consider Its Purpose – Why do you want a log cabin in your garden? This question is more important than you might think, because it is what is going to give you the best ideas moving forward. For example, if you want something that is more like a gazebo only with more protection, you are going to create a more open looking cabin with, say, large bay windows and doors. But if you want something more like a Hobbit hole, you need to know it before you begin your designs.
2 – Go With a Guest Cabin – One of the greatest ways to design a more functional log cabin is to make it an actual residence. Guest cabins are a great idea because they establish a secondary dwelling for people to stay, and adds some serious value to your home. You may think that you need a lot of property for this, such as an expansive estate, or many acres of land. But that isn’t true; more people are building guest cabins in their gardens right next to their primary house.
3 – Diversify Your Surrounding Plants – This is more for the aesthetic of the cabin, and has more to do with the garden than the dwelling itself. Sometimes people won’t take into account the way the garden itself looks, and how it appeals to the design of the cabin. Or they fail to realize that the simple, rustic appearance of the dwelling will mean countering it with diverse plant life. Try and be more creative in your choices, or it will all look very bland. And on the other side of things, when you select your cabin design keep in mind how it will look in the garden itself.
4 – Look Into Eco Friendly Options – There has long since been an (incorrect) belief that log cabins are less environmentally friendly than other forms of housing. Once upon a time that might have been true, given the use of lumber and some of the chemicals used to treat it. That hasn’t been the case for decades. Responsibly harvested, or even recycled lumber is available. You can find many stains and sealants that are safe for the environment. It isn’t hard to remain eco-friendly when building your cabin, if you just shop around before making your final purchases.
5 – Treat It Like Your Home – Log cabins require maintenance, so you have to take that into account from the very beginning. That being said, if you treat it the way you would your primary home you will find it much easier to keep up with those required tasks as you go, before problems occur. Get it inspected once a year. Restain and reseal every few years. Treat it for pests. If it has its own electricity and plumbing, make sure they are properly tested regularly to avoid shorts or broken pipes.
6 – Be Careful Who Contracts – There are any contractors out there that can provide a log cabin building service, or who can transplant one already made – an easy option since garden cabins tend to be small and easy to transport and setup. But this is a major purchase, and it isn’t one you should rush into. The wrong contractor can turn the process into a logistics nightmare, not to mention a financial and even legal one. Do your due diligence when looking into providers, whether they are building, or have already built the structure. Find out what other customers have said, and look at their BBB rating and licensing/insurance info. Be wary of any red flags.
7 – Think In Terms Of Future Use – A friend of mine and her husband chose to build a log cabin in their garden. But when they did it they didn’t intend to use it for more than some occasional parties in summer. Instead, they were focused on what uses there might be in the future. They have a daughter who is currently 14. As she gets older she will want more privacy and independence. But there is value in staying home through college (like avoiding the costs of a dorm, or off-campus housing). They built their cabin so they could offer her a house to live in the future.
8 – Make It an Escape Nook – Another way you can look at your garden cabin is as a fun little escape nook. That will inform the dimensions of the cabin itself, as well as indoor features you might implement. Think of a cabin for instance that has a built in wall bookcase, and a reading bench by the window. Or a cabin with an entertainment center and bar. It is a home away from home, so design it that way.
9 – Bring the Garden Inside – One of my favorite examples I have seen of garden cabins was one that turned it into part-greenhouse. So it was able to maintain a garden all year long, even as everything died outside. In Winter you could wander into the cabin and see the flowers and plants, smell their sweetness, and get a little taste of Spring even in a blizzard.
10 – Consider Your Log Cabin For The Garden an Investment – Ultimately you are investing in a major renovation that is going to improve the value and function of your overall property. So when you are designing your cabin keep that in mind, especially when it comes to price. You could go the cheap route and have something you kind of like, or invest fully and have something perfect.