The most ideal location for a Mongolian yurt is in the high altitude arid steppe of Mongolia. Where there is lots of sun, little moisture, and a stiff breeze. For SunTime Yurters we must do our best to pick these locations or artificially create them.
The easiest way to ensure a happy long lived yurt is to put it in a strategic location. First off, try and find an area with a southern exposure. This is where you want your door to face and the crown to be exposed. The sun’s rays will provide plenty of free light and warmth during the day. Facing South is traditional in Mongolia and although it has many benefits it is not a must do. Secondly, your yurt likes sunlight. This helps dry out material after long rains. Tucked in a dark forest is not an ideal location, but then again we’ve seen it done. Next, your yurt likes to be on high ground. Pick a spot on your property that is relatively high compared to the other terrain. If the highest point is not ideal at least make sure the yurt is not at the lowest point or where water accumulates. A good thing to do after a rain storm would be to feel the soil and choose an area where the soil drains quickly. Your yurt is very heavy it can withstand a breezy location. The breeze will help wick moisture from the natural materials. Most importantly don’t set up your yurt for long periods of time directly on the ground. Which brings us to the next section, platforms.
Firstly: SunTime Yurts recommends to have a platform that fits the footprint of the yurt. Thus allowing extra canvas material to hang instead of bunch on the ground. The hanging creates a nice wind barrier and allows water to drain easily.
Platforms can be as ingenious or simple as your personal creativity. Remember, your yurt is just a shell that sits atop the platform. Here are a few ideas. The most simple platform could be pallets covered with plywood. Or bricks covered with plywood, haybales, earth bags, tires.... On top of plywood place rugs, mats, linoleum, vinyl, tile....flooring. We highly recommend SIP flooring. They are quick to assemble, break down and are very well insulated. If you choose to have an elevated platform design room underneath as storage or install plumbing for black, grey, and sweet water. You could even have the deck built beyond the footprint of the yurt so that you can walk around it or have flower pots and lawn chairs. A small patio would be a nice place to eat dinner or absorb the sun. Another idea for a platform could be concrete or gravel, just make sure water has an ability to escape and not pool up. Install radiant heated floors. While I was in Mongolia, I met a fellow who dug a root cellar and put his yurt on top of it. When he pulled back a rug and opened a hatch he was able to access his cold fruits and vegetables. This is free source of refrigeration and also prevents freezing in the winter. Your creativity and ingenuity are your only limitations. If you come up with a neat design please share it with the yurting community.