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Underground forts


An underground fort

You have probably played in a tree fort or two as a child.

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But have you ever seen or been in an underground fort? They have quite a wide range of uses, from recreation, to a storage shed. In fact, an underground fort can be built with little environmental impact, as shown by the truly green fort above. You can also do so with little economic impact to your wallet, as many materials are natural or can be sourced easily from a dump or the waste bin of a construction site.

Once you have chosen the purpose of your fort, realize it is a glorified box. As such, it will have pressure from all sides and needs to have a durable frame, with plywood added for cosmetic and functional purposes. This is different from conventional tree or land forts because they need not face so much stress from their environment. Below is an example of how a frame is constructed easily above ground. FrameAfter the frame is complete, you need to add plywood. Being underground, it would be a wise long-term investment to purchase pressure-treated plywood, as it will not rot as easily in the damp earth. Then it is time to dig the hole, or use a natural hollow and cover with dirt afterwards. Just remember, this will mean water will want to pool in the sump you created. It is good to use foresight when scouting out a location, or you will need to buy a water pump or construct a “French drain.” The top picture features a solar panel atop the roof, for powering mentioned water pump. Digging the hole should be done only after calling the proper authorities to ensure no water or electric lines are buried underneath, as potential accidents can be both expensive and dangerous.

After digging the hole and making the fort, get some friends to help you move it in, and then add dirt on the sides, a stronger roof, or even consider adding moss and natural looking soil mounds to break up the fort’s square shape. In the end, remember to have fun and be safe! Also, certain legal restrictions may prevent you from building. Be sure to check local building codes and laws, as well as obtain permission if not building on your own property.