How To Raise a Yurt in Four Hours

How To Raise a Yurt in Four Hours

Maxwell Ryan
May 7, 2012

I've been working hard on the "back 40" of our place out in the country - a garden about twenty yards from the house that I'm slowly making into a destination and a series of outdoor rooms where you can hang out all evening under the summer stars. This Saturday, my friend, Chris Gauger, and I put up the garden yurt…

... which had been waiting under tarps since last August. Part studio, part guest bedroom, the inspiration here was to plug the round yurt into the rectangular garden to create a private and Eden-like retreat space for Ursula and her grandmother or weekend guests.

This is the "after" scene on Sunday afternoon, while down below you can see the "before" and the whole process from Saturday.

This yurt is the sixth one I've erected over the years and continues to be an awesome seasonal structure for many types of use. It comes as a kit in many diameters with many optional features and can be put up by two people in four hours (really!). This is where we've bought all of ours, Pacific Yurts , and it takes about five weeks for delivery depending on the season. The cost per yurt depends on the diameter and the add-ons that you order, but consider the starting base price to be around $4,670. The yurt you see here is a 16' model with french doors, weighs 200 lbs and cost about $6,000.

What You Need:

• One Yurt
• One Platform
• Hammer
• Drill with drill bits and screw bit
• Pliers
• Knife
• Step Ladder
• Pencil

Step One: The Platform

Arguably the most complicated part of the yurt process is building a good base, and every time (except the first time) we've hired a skilled carpenter for this. Pacific Yurts provides really good instructions on how to build a platform, and it takes a few days and a bunch of lumber to build one. I've always painted the floor with a few coats of high traffic floor paint before raising the yurt. This one got a nice black floor, which is my current favorite color for this use.

When you site your platform it's good to remember that while giving it a pleasing view out the front door is important, cozying it up under some trees will keep is shady and cool during the summer months. A fully exposed yurt can get so hot (unless you insulate the roof) that it will be too hot to spend time on sunny days.

Step Two: Unpack the Yurt

Yurts come nicely packaged in crates, but are very heavy and well protected, so you want to a. get it delivered as close to the platform as possible and b. set time aside just to extract it from all the packaging.

Step Three: Raise It!

The raise is intensely pleasurable and very simple when you follow the excellent instructions. It's a great job for two people, and three would make it fly by.

The lattice wall is the first thing to get slowly pulled apart from the back of the platform, when it is then hooked into your door frame. Simple hand screws attach the two, the door gets drilled into the platform and you are on to the roof.

A heavy aircraft cable is slotted around the top of the lattice wall and the rafters are slotted into this one at a time (the center ring gets raised with three rafters in one exciting moment). The combined pressure of the rafters pushing down on the cable locks the walls together and makes the entire thing rock solid.

Onto the rafters you roll out the roof. Onto the roof overhang you hook your sidewalls. Your top dome gets pulled up the outside and clipped into place. Voila! You are done.

As far as tools are concerned, you only need a drill with both drill bits and screw bit, a knife and a pair of pliers. We started putting up the yurt here at 10am, and we're done by a 2pm late lunch. The next thing? Furnishing it inside in a simple, comfy way. I'll have those pics for you in a few weeks.

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