There are numerous choices and products for those that are determined to think 'outside-of-the-box' when it comes to shelter. For decades, Americans have been in one mindset when it comes to the look and size of homes. Modern land owners are changing that with a wide array of dwellings being built across the country. It seems that living small and simple, or at least different than the norm, has become cutting edge.
Small cabins are a very popular choice for those looking to simplify the traditional setup. These can be built from an increasing array of available house plans or by ordering pre-fabricated kits from online retailers.
Shipping containers take a pretty high level of retrofitting but can become a very sturdy, long-term option. This, obviously, is not the most affordable or easiest way to go but is a very interesting way of upcycling a used product into a home.
Domes may look strange to conventionalists but are sensible, easily assembled shelters. Domes are a very similar to appeal as the Yurt. You may think of them as a hut in some random country. Yurts are reasonably affordable, can be year-round (even in cold and storms), and provide and open feel that some people enjoy when looking for something different.
Other alternatives include earth bags, hay bails, wooden pallets and recycled materials. Of course, with current building codes, alternative housing can be tricky in certain areas. Those questioning the zoning or usage restrictions of their parcel should contact the local municipality in control of those issues.