Megan Lea’s Sustainable Backyard Retreat


This tiny backyard retreat was created by sustainable building advisor Megan Lea. Being a sustainable building advisor it’s no surprise that several reclaimed elements were incorporated into it’s design.

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

The exterior is clad with salvaged 100-year-old barnwood from Barnwood Naturals, based in West Salem, who also composed the arrangement of timbers for the façade. The façade is the most striking element of this cosy getaway, and the hand-selected timbers with faded red paint contrasts with the grey weather beaten boards to create a warm, inviting character. The copper roofing is also reclaimed – it was a Craigslist find from a local house that was being updated.

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

Backyard retreats seem to be growing in popularity, and they’re often constructed to create a home studio or a retreat. For example the UK’s Archipods can be used to add an additional living space to your home. Sarah Deeds, an architect from Oregon, decided to undertake the design and construction of her own studio, with the help of a friend. And last, but not least, the Forest Pond House is a perfect example of a tranquil retreat.

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

Megan Lea, Tiny Backyard Retreat

Overall, Lea’s retreat has a footprint of just 11′ by 14′, which is enough to provide Megan with a functional extra living space for entertainment, work, or relaxing. Could you do with a miniature retreat in your backyard? I’d add a bathroom and kitchen and move in!

Via TreeHugger


  1. sonja rowe neatherland on

    An “Oh my gosh” moment, when I saw the little house built out of old barn wood. I love it. I really want to build me and my grandson a small house buuuutttt….Hopefullly that time can come soon..I really want one of the small homes..wish me luck and keep up the good work.

  2. sonja rowe neatherland on

    I didnt know if I could actually post a comment so I made it really short and waalah it posted. Seeing all these small houses is so encouraging and makes me want one really bad. I live with my mom in a 3 bedroom mobile home (which I hate but am thankful to have a home to live in) Mobile homes are not my fave and my heart is really set on a built home-especially the older ones. I actually own one that is almost 100 years old with not one bit of insulation. It belonged to my great grandparents. My mother inherited it and then sold it to my husband and I some 20 years ago. My husband would rather drink than fix the house so I live with my mom and he wont get out of my house so I can get on with renovations. So I have decided that instead of fight about it right now that I could just build me one that would house my grandson, my daughter and me.
    My mom has an old barn out in front of her mobile home that has some great wood just waiting to be used in it. She threatened to burn it because she is afraid that wild animals may be living in it. This may be true but there is not way she is gonna burn that beautiful lumber.
    Any pointers you may have for me would be appreciated. I am not a carpenter but I can do a little bit of everything, if my back permits. Thank you for sharing your site with the public. I love this kind of stuff and the pics are awesome..
    Thanks, Sonja Rowe Neatherland of Louisiana

  3. Hey Sonja – The first thing I would do is to get a structural engineer, or building surveyor to inspect the property. Older properties have a habit of looking okay from the outside, but upon further inspection they can throw up some nasty issues that will need to be addressed to make it safe and habitable. A good structural engineer or building surveyor will provide you with a report that will outline all the areas of concern and how you can go about rectifying them. It will usually cost a couple of hundred dollars, but the money you can save in the long run is well worth it.

  4. NOW….THIS house, since it’s a bit bigger than a “tiny house” on wheels could benefit hugely from a small
    rocket-stove…perfect for this house….it would need 1/10 the wood to heat the whole house…nice house!

  5. Niall, We live in a 900 ft. Mobile home, and have for 30 years. On property, was a tiny Settlers Cottage. Our plans included tear it down, make a garage, guest cabin or storage shed. We settled on Guest Cabin, and after a few years of an occasional visitor, I decided it was my rental.
    We found a niche, by accident, “Seasonal Summer Rental”, fully furnished, housekeeping once per week. It works, and the little cabin not only supports our property costs here at 550 per month, we have been going to Florida for 21 years to our 280 square foot winter “Tiny home”. We figure we would have to have half a mil in a bank account to “earn” this much, and we love it.
    Temporary workers, transferring personnel, and summer tourists keep our wee cabin rented, everyone loves it. Pictures available.
    Although we figured our modest 45,000 property purchase was a bad idea because of the Mobile Home, we soon realized that MH renovation is not only possible, but very wise now that fuels and energy has gone thru the roof! We have a modest SS income, we travel, we drive a newer car, and enjoy our lives now ages 79 and 75, we eat well and enjoy volunteering.

  6. Sharon Martin – What an amazing journey! I think there’s a lot of potential for small getaways to act as a source of income, and like you said, it also free’s you up to enjoy life and the lifestyle you wish to pursue! It’s great that you’re still actively volunteering and if you ever feel like sharing your story through Humble Homes, we’d be more than happy to feature it! Story/project submission forms can be found here: :)

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