Preparing To Clear The Land For The Homesite

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When we purchased this lot in Williamson County Tennessee, it had already been surveyed and perked. So we didn’t have to do that part.

Our first official step toward building this log home was to clear the land (…in a manner other than Jim & I routinely walking the lot with a pair of loppers and a machete in hand and chopping down whatever annoying bushes & prickly branches stood in our way).

We finally decided to hire a professional team to take out most of the trees & brush that we knew would be in the way of the home. They had all the right equipment for heavy duty bush hogging, and they were even set up to deal with all of the rock they encountered on the property.

As it turned out, they were able to complete the job in about a day and a half.


Scoping Out The Property

First, we met with the landscapers one-on-one and discussed the possibilities.

Being from Williamson County themselves, luckily they are familiar with the county’s precise codes and regulations.

deciding-where-to-begin.jpg Together, we confirmed the best options as far as the driveway goes, including how close we wanted to (or were allowed to) get to the septic fields, the property lines, and the creeks, etc.

Then we stepped back and let them work their magic! (After a healthy deposit of about $2,000.)

We Wanted To Keep Some Of The Trees

We actually took more of a precautionary step at this point.

marking-what-stays-and-what-goes.jpgRather than clearing the site entirely, we chose to simply take down all of the smaller trees (8-inch diameter or less) and all of the thick brush underfoot.

This would be just enough to give us palette on which to work from.

What the bush hogging does is makes it easier to visualize which direction you might like the house to set. Things start falling into place once you can see exactly how close (or far) the “building envelope” is from the property line, creeks, septic fields, etc.

And you start thinking, “Hmmmm… maybe the garage would work better on that side rather than this side. Oh, it would be nice to extend the porch on that side! Maybe we should flip the house and put the patio on that side.” …You get the idea.

While we already have our blueprints in hand, we have one more set of revisions available (for free) with Honest Abe, and we’re waiting until the last possible moment to make sure we put each window precisely where we want it, the porches in the right places, and things like the garage and grilling station where they make the most sense.

How Did We Come So Far So Fast?

marking-which-trees-stay-and-go.jpgWell, it’s all relative. Some might think it’s taken us forever to actually dive in and make the first move on our property. Then again, we’ve owned this land for less than 2 months… and we’ve already cleared it.

In comparison, we’ve owned the Dale Hollow lake property for nearly a year, and haven’t made the first bit of progress over there. (Of course, we recently halted all actions on that property now that we’ve decided to sell it.)

Fortunately, we are in very good hands with our builder (Honest Abe Log Homes). Their sales rep (Tonya), along with some of the contractors they work with have been most helpful at pointing us in the right direction here in these early stages. They’ve all gone above and beyond to assist us.

Overall though, I have to say… it seems much easier to find good help here in Williamson County.

How To Find The Right People

pointing-out-property-boundaries.jpgSo, how did we find the bush hogging team? Word of mouth. A friend of a friend (who happens to be a contractor) had utilized the services of these guys before.

The worst part about this whole process of building a log home from scratch is finding the right people to do the work… wouldn’t you agree? It’s nearly impossible to know who you can really trust or if someone is taking advantage of you or ripping you off. I guess that’s why it pays to have a G.C.

Oddly enough, we have yet to secure a bid from a G.C. However, in talking with a number of different contractors, we have learned some invaluable lessons and countless words of advice. There are actually a few General Contractors that we are considering at the moment, but much to our dismay, we have nothing in writing yet.

I know… it’s a bit backwards, but that’s why we’re just working very slowly at this point and doing things that maybe we can do ourselves… and preliminary things that have to be done, no matter which GC you go with.

The Type of Equipment They Used:

bush-hog-compact-loader.gif backhoe.jpg mulcher-for-bush-hogging.jpg

To give you some idea on pricing…

  • $60/hr for the machine that takes down 1″ and smaller saplings.
  • $125/hr for the machine that can handle up to 8″ trees.

There are minimums, so as to make their time worth it.