Yurt Deck Framing Complete — How to build a yurt deck

About four years ago, I awoke on a Sunday night to a massive crash in my apartment in Madison, Wisconsin. Having lived with roommates my entire college career, I was used to noise… but this one really startled me. I blinked through the darkness in my room, trying to think through my drowsiness. I looked to my left and realized something was exploding through the doors of my closet. You see, that was the day my closet bar collapsed under the weight of my hanging wardrobe; my clothes literally exploded out of the closet doors in the wee hours of that fateful Sunday morning. Four years ago, I was that girl.

Today, I’m proud to be editing my wardrobe down to what must be at least an eighth of its former size… maybe less. When you move to the mountains and away from the city, things change (including what you wear). And when you then decide to move deeper into the mountains into a 30-foot yurt, things really change. Life becomes less about what you have and more about where and how you live it. While I can honestly say Sean and I are excited to move into the yurt full time, I’m grateful to have some time to process what this new chapter will look like while we’re in the building stages. When I say things like composting toilet, rainwater collection, and solar power, hauling jugs of potable water and groceries via snowmobile, it makes me a tiny bit nervous (OK, a LOT nervous). But then I remember all the practice we had on our Travel Queen adventure, with water conservation (living on a 40 gallon tank amongst 4 people), marine/RV toilets (OK, it wasn’t composting, but it definitely didn’t have a “flusher” or running water through it), and solar power (we ran the TQ on a solar-powered generator). That experience absolutely set us up for success with the yurt. Our other expeditions around the world, from the Yukon Territory to Kyrgyzstan have further broken down my barriers as well.

Since we officially moved all the pieces to our land, Sean has been hard at work, learning how to build a yurt deck — the foundation/structure. We reused all the pieces of the original yurt, aside from a few of the structural beams that were too short for it’s current location that we replaced. The deck has been nearly 100% reused with the new build in its new location. It has been fun to watch Sean troubleshoot through various issues… and the day he finished, the smile on his face as he stood atop our framed structure looking out into the valley was priceless. From here, we fasten on the structured insulated panels, and then it won’t be long before our “yurt-raising!”

The strings helped us make all the concrete footings align just perfectly:

Sean quickly realized that he needed to go through and take care of all the bushes:


Then we used a laser leveler to assist with marking all the new posts so we could cut them to be level for the deck:

We’ve been blessed with incredible views of our valley lately:

Me assisting Sean:IMG_2458


Things are coming together up front while the back was still being worked on:IMG_2466

Sean digging holes for the front footings:


Me mixing concrete to pour into said holes:photo-4

Done! Not such a bad view looking into Glacier National Park, over Whitefish, Whitefish Lake and surrounding wilderness:IMG_2656

Time to enjoy the view!


It was a hard decision on how high we wanted to have the yurt off the ground. We had to keep in mind our bear highway issue that we see on our property during non winter in addition to storage for firewood and being able to put in future systems for the yurt (being able to work under the deck). By being closer to the earth we would probably feel more connected to the Earth. However, this raised elevation was more practical in terms of long term use, snowfall amounts, and a little extra protection against some hazardous wildlife. Since our yurt is at the top of a hill, it is at the canopy level of many trees below – thus we will still feel connected to our local environment and ecosystem with a sense of floating in the trees.  Already the bald eagles that fly around and perch in our trees have proven to us that this was a good idea.


The dogs have been loving all the time spent walking up the property to the yurt site… time to run and sniff in the forest is time well spent for these two:


Sean has been loving his time in the evenings, too… perched in his Kammok:


And after we head down to the house, we have a ton of reading material to keep us busy:


3 Comments. Leave new

Steve Shambeau
May 19, 2014 10:30 am

Boy am i proud of you and what you are accomplishing with this project…just one thing…the new dog looks to be bigger than Daisy! Am I right in that now that the foundation is down, that the rest of the building will go up in a day? (:

Mary Lou Busby
May 19, 2014 1:07 pm

You two are amazing. I’m excited to see it.

Jo Poullette
May 24, 2014 4:12 pm

I would loved to be able to do that!!! What a way to live…….


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