Low-Cost Multipurpose Earthbag Building

With this novel technique you can make an earthbag building to serve as a studio, garden shed, chicken coop, or root/storm cellar — no permit required!



Earthbag building
Whether as a studio, garden shed, chicken coop, or something else entirely, an earthbag building is adaptable.
PHOTO: MEEMEE KANYARATH
Rubble foundation
The earthbag dome is built on a rubble foundation.
MEEMEE KANYARATH
Earthbag plan
The “footprint” for the earthbag dome is an 11-foot circle, plus retaining walls.
OWEN GEIGER
Earthbag construction
Brute strength is not required to build with earthbags. Here’s a tip to make it even easier: Fill buckets using a hoe (instead of a shovel).
MEEMEE KANYARATH
Earthbag structure
Earthbag construction works well for building curves. It’s also fireproof when plastered or bermed with earth.
MEEMEE KANYARATH
Earthbag blueprint
A string tied to a stake will help as a guide to maintain the correct curve of the dome as you stack bags.
OWEN GEIGER
Earthbag plans
Front elevation of the earthbag minibuilding.
OWEN GEIGER
Earthbag shelter
Posts held between layers of earthbags support a structure to protect the door. Mesh on the retaining walls will hold plaster securely in place.
MEEMEE KANYARATH
Building with earthbags
The retaining walls in front of the dome prevent backfill and excess water from spilling into the entrance area. 
MEEMEE KANYARATH
Earthbag dome plans
Illustrations of recessed and underground domes.
OWEN GEIGER
Earthbag options
Illustrations of above-ground and earth-bermed versions.
OWEN GEIGER

















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