Sunday, November 27, 2011

Natural Building Techniques

For quite some time I 've been reading up on various natural building techniques, including Cob, Adobe, Earthbag, Cordwood, and Strawbale.  With the possibility of being able to buy land soon looming, I have become more pressed to make decisions about what I want, and how I'll achieve my goal.

My primary goal is to build a home with my own two hands (and those of some friends), that is molded from all natural materials, off grid, utilizes passive solar techniques, and incorporates both indoor and outdoor living areas.

Exterior of Eco-Dome

 Some time ago, I thought I had settled on earthbag construction.  I fell in love with the curves, circular designs and the fact that they are very inexpensive to build.  I found these pictures at Cal-Earth. One of my favorite sites to study for earthbag building is Earthbag Plans.  There are so many neat ideas, many not realistic for me, but fun to look at just the same

Main dome of Eco-Dome

Recently I have begun reading more about straw bale homes. What I love about them is the use of thermal mass to insulate, faster erection of walls, and availability of straw, since I live here in rural Oklahoma.  In addition,  you still have the creative freedom to sculpt your home through the plastering process. I found a lovely site that shows the process in detail at House of Straw.

I realize that my biggest challenges will be the actual cost of building, and the manpower of getting the job done to make it the most economical choice.  

My plan is to first find a piece of  land.  When I find the piece that speaks to me, I will spend a year just  observing the land during the seasons for changes - become familiar before building, spending plenty of time there simply absorbing the landscape. I know this will help me not only make better decisions, but will also give me the time to begin saving the money to do the actual building.  

Of course, seeing as I'm still learning this whole process, this plan may change many times between now and the completed process. But I promise to keep you posted along the way!


  1. Good luck finding the piece of land that is right for you. Follow your feelings and hold out for the one that REALLY feels right if at all possible. It will be worth the wait.

    That is a really good idea you have of getting familiar with the land for a year before building. It always helps to build to the land instead of the more standard way of making the land fit the plan.

    Also, one bit of advice about natural building, (or any other kind), try to find people in the generaal area who have used the method you have in mind. They can give some good insight as to how that type of building works with climate, etc.

    Once again, good luck

  2. Thanks, Dave. I've looked on the strawbale registry and am trying to contact a few local strawbale owner/builders to get some input. The waiting is killing me lol. Look forward to reading more of your blog!