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To refer to log cabins as sheds, would be like calling Gordon Ramsay a cook

By: Marian Radrak

The log cabin is a versatile piece of kit - it can be used as an office, house a large whirlpool tub, provide a 'granny' annexe, a playroom for the children or even be used as a second home. The choice is endless. In America, the log cabin is often used as a primary home and can be bought and sold through estate agents. Most people believe the log cabin is native to America, however, some historians have said log cabins were originally from Sweden, brought to America by Swedish immigrants who settled in the Delaware Bay area, USA in the 17th Century. Other historians have said log cabins originated from Scandinavia and Russia.

Regardless of their origins, the log cabin remains as popular as ever and like most things in today's world they are filled with modern technology. They are far removed from our colonial predecessors who had log cabins made from a basic design of interlocking logs with the chinks (gaps) filled with stones, moss and dung.

Once the decision has been made to have a log cabin, no matter what size, there are plenty of additional choices to be made. Such as: do you need planning permission? Contact your Local Authority who will inform you what steps to take. Where do you site the log cabin? A local surveyor can give you advice about the cabin's location and what sort of foundations you will need.

Once you've been given the go ahead for your cabin, you need to decide on your budget so you'll know if you can afford a handcrafted or a manufactured log cabin. The choice is yours as to where you want to purchase your log cabin: local companies who specialise in log cabins, large DIY stores selling log cabin kits and the internet, which provides a wide range of choice and information about log cabins.

If you don't mind how much money you spend, a handcrafted log cabin may be your choice. Skilled craftsmen build the log cabin to your exact specifications and each log is shaped and custom-fitted for your cabin. For a cheaper version, you could buy a modular or manufactured log cabin - in other words a DIY kit. They start from as little as 1000 for a basic design to over 13,000 for a cabin with rooms inside, double doors and a veranda surrounded by a fence. The modular log cabins are made of uniform milled logs that come numbered and packaged with the doors and windows pre-hung. These kits are classed as 'easy-to-assemble.' However if you struggle to put together even a small size flat-pack of furniture, you might consider hiring a carpenter to assemble the cabin! This will save you a lot of time and stress and will still be cheaper than having a handcrafted log cabin.

The traditional choice of wood for a log cabin is pine, spruce, fir or cedar. Cedar is the most expensive option, but unlike pine, cedar has natural preservatives that help make it resistant to rot, decay and insect damage.

A project plan should be kept and include all aspects of your log cabin construction: delivery dates and costs, land survey results and costs, installation of services such as plumbing, electricity, gas, telephone lines and all furnishings. This will help you keep track with your log cabin construction and budget.

Many people enjoy the 'rustic' charm of a log cabin and they can make a wonderful addition for your home. Proper siting, construction and maintenance of your log cabin can protect your investment and give you and your family many years of enjoyment.

The Author, Marian Radrak, has written numerous articles about log cabins, landscaping, gardening and garden buildings and recommends you visit GardeningThoughts.co.uk for more information on log cabins for the garden.

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