Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Earthbag domes calling to me

Soon (but not soon enough) I'll be able to get back outside and get some work done around the domestead. It's been a long winter. They always seem long, but usually there are breaks when I can do things outside. Not so much this year. About all I can do with my domes right now is post a few pictures I was looking through. The first one is the first earthen dome my wife and I built. It is shown without the plaster so you can see the tubes we used. It was a fun project and we learned a lot. This dome was built as a sauna. Heated with a large 'pocket rocket' it gets very warm in a short time.

So then it was time to tackle something a little more challenging. Yeah, just a little. We decided on five larger domes connected with arched doorways. Completely off grid too. "Oh, and lets do a ton of permaculture landscaping while we're at it" we decided. Installing solar panels, batteries, doing our own plumbing at the same time we plant 300 trees and bushes that are ordered shouldn't get in the way of the 1500 earthbags we still need to place. Gardening all the while. Good thing there's two of us. Perhaps going over the deep end will be a blessing and we won't even notice the inevitable exhaustion that's sure to come this summer. Here's a few pics of the domes during various stages during the build last summer/fall.


I'm very happy with the way the arches have turned out. I was a little nervous pulling out the form for the first one, but everything remained rock solid. I've even added more layers of bags above and tamped (pounded) them and still no shift whatsoever. Guess maybe those ancient types knew a thing or two after all.


  1. Very cool!Cabin fever getting too all of us! Dome I am envious. Looks awesome. Lot of work to go,but but how great when done!


  2. Thanks China. It sure is a lot of labour, but I love doing it. It's been very rewarding to watch these big circles rise out of the prairie. 18 inch thick walls about 10 feet tall so far

  3. "Good thing there's two of us", yeah- about that... I was thinking I might head down to Meh-hico for a while this summer. You know, get my snorkle on, catch a few rays. But I believe in you. If anyone can do it, you can babe. I'll be with you in spirit.