“Building a house costs how much?” I muttered as my friend was telling me how much she and her husband spent building their beautiful dream home.
My jaw dropped, and I quickly gave in to the fact that I would probably never build a home. Then I got the idea that I would research different house building options when I got home, and that is exactly what I did.
But much to my surprise I found this ideal home building option called earthbag. It is basically bags filled with dirt or sand. They are then stacked in between barbed wire and have concrete poured over that.
Finally, you can finish them any way you’d like so they can look as traditional or unique as you desire. What fascinated me the most was how inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and catastrophe proof these houses were.
Now, I didn’t end up building one of these homes, but I’m still young. So it never hurts to dig around and see what earthbag options there are available.
And I thought I’d share what I found with you. Here they are:
Earthbag House Plans:
1. Eco Nest 1200
I think a lot of people automatically assume that an alternative housing option has to be small and look unique.
But building a home with earthbags isn’t that way. This particular house is a pretty good size for an average family.
Also, it looks like a traditional home. You could cover the concrete with a more traditional finish and no one would know that this home was built with earthbags.
So if you would like to use a unique building method on a traditional style home, then consider building this design of an earthbag home.
2. Earthbag Round House
Let’s say you are someone that is really concerned about your safety and the future. Then you might really want to consider building an earthbag house.
What really got me interested in this building method was the fact that I read that these homes are sturdy enough to withstand some of the toughest storms. They are actually building them in countries that frequently have earthquakes because of how sturdy they are.
So why not take it up a notch? Don’t just build an earthbag home. Build a circular home as well. That way regardless of the storm, you have done all you can to ensure that your home is as safe as possible.
3. Adobe Style Earth Shelter
This is another example of how an earthbag home doesn’t have to be a little mushroom shaped home. In fact, it can be absolutely gorgeous.
So as you can tell with this home design, your imagination is the limit with an earthbag home. This particular design looks beautiful against the desert surroundings.
But it also looks very spacious. So regardless of the family size, you could most likely live very comfortably in this style of home.
4. The Inside of a Cob House
When you talk about building an earthbag house many people automatically go toward the cob house design. It is usually smaller and easier to build (from my research.)
But don’t think that an earthbag house can’t be less expensive to build, earth friendly, and gorgeous on the inside. It can be all of those things.
Which is why I wanted to share this with you so you could see what the inside of earthbag home (in a cob home style) could actually look like.
5. The Straw Bale Interior
This particular home is built from straw bales, but they use a similar method to earthbags. Instead of filling bags and placing them in the barbed wire, they place straw bales instead.
Either way, if you like the adobe style of an earthbag house, I thought you might want an idea of what the inside could look like as well.
So again, don’t think that just because you are building your home with bags of dirt that it can’t be an absolutely gorgeous home.
6. The Earthbag Cabin
This is a smaller cabin, but it is built from earthbags. It would make a great way to have a vacation home without having to invest a lot of money.
Also, if you desire to live off of the grid, and you have a smaller family, then this style might work very well for you.
So if you are looking for a smaller and inexpensive house to build, then you may want to consider this earthbag cabin.
7. The Honey House
This little house kind of reminds me of a honeybee hive. I can only assume that is why they named it the honey house.
But it seems very quaint and as if it would be easy enough to build.
So if you would like to have a cute cottage home that resembles a beehive, then you might want to consider this design.
8. The Efficient Earthbag Home
This is a tutorial on how they built a rounded earthbag home. As they said, this isn’t the most modern way to build but it has been proven time and again to be the most efficient way to build.
So I think that reason alone has hooked a lot of people to this idea. The idea that they can be built with basic materials.
And the fact that they are so durable, makes the time invested in building them seem worth it.
9. The Wood Sided Earthbag House
This goes to prove that just because you build a home from earthbags, it doesn’t have to have a concrete finish to it.
In fact, you can use a similar design as this home did and put wood siding on it. I think it looks quite charming, personally.
So if you’d like to consider a different look for your earthbag home, then you might want to consider this option.
10. La Casa Vergara
This house has a unique design to it. It has some rounded areas and a rectangular area as well. Though it appears different, it has a gorgeous finish to it.
So if you would like to consider building an earthbag home that probably will not be duplicated, then you should consider this home.
Also, consider how gorgeous the interior is on this project as well. It would make for a wonderful home.
11. Building a Simple Earthbag Home
This article gives details on how two women built a dream earthbag home. This was actually the article I had read originally that really made me become interested in building an earthbag home.
So what is so amazing is that after the home was complete if they would have strong winds or even a tornado in the area, they would just sit and watch the storm go by.
Actually, they claim that a tree fell on their home and it broke the tree in half. They didn’t even feel it. That is amazing.
12. Our Little Thing Earthbag Home
This blog details how this man and his wife built their perfect earthbag home. It has many upgrades to it like a hot tub area.
Also, it is absolutely breathtaking to see how they designed it. It even has a living roof.
So if you’d like an all-natural option to building a home, then consider this tutorial on how they built their gorgeous home.
13. The Gemini earthbag Home
This is another round house design for an earthbag home. I think it is a great layout and would work for most families.
So if you would like to have an earthbag home with three bedrooms, then you might want to check this one out.
Plus, I love how the master suite is off by itself. It gives you a little privacy in a smaller sized home.
14. The $1,500 Homes
This site shares the interior of multiple homes that were constructed from earthbags. They each cost around $1,500.
But the amazing things is, is even though they are smaller, they are absolutely gorgeous on the inside.
So if you’d like to own a home, but don’t have the most money to invest in it, then I hope this will serve as some encouragement to you.
15. The Two-Story Earthbag Home
This home is a gorgeous two-story house that you would probably never look at and guess that it was built from earthbags.
But in fact, it is. The site also says that it has traditional walls inside of it.
So they did what they could to make this home as traditional as possible. Though they built it in a non-traditional fashion.
16. The Earthbag School
This is actually a school that was built from earthbags in Nepal. It is a gorgeous building, in my opinion.
But it could also be reworked and recreated into a future home design. So if you like the look of this clean cut earthbag designed schoolhouse, then you may want to consider it in the future.
17. How to Build an Earthbag Home
This site gives you an example of an earthbag home. But I think it is worth the share because they actually share with you how to go about building your own earthbag home.
So if you are curious how you might start this adventure, then you might want to start here.
Again, you don’t have to build the same exact home. You’ll just have to adjust this tutorial to suit your design.
18. The Earthbag House Plans
This site has more earthbag plans that you could possibly imagine. They break them down into different categories.
So if you would like a round house, they show many different designs that fit that category. If you’d like a more traditional house, they have a category for that too.
Regardless of what you’re looking for, you will probably find an earthbag design that works for you through this site.
What to Consider When Building an Earthbag Home
After sharing all of these earthbag homes, I also think you need to be left with a final note of things you should consider when going this route.
Honestly, I had to do a lot of research to fully wrap my head around what you are actually taking on when building an earthbag home.
1. How Will You Pay for It?
We have purchased a new home. If I’m honest, I almost didn’t purchase a new home. I almost went with an earthbag building project. The question about ‘Who will pay for it' is what got in my way.
As I’ve mentioned before, our first homestead we paid cash for. It was a fixer upper so we turned a nice profit when we sold it.
But even though I was going to have more cash in hand, it wasn’t going to be enough to purchase both land and build a house.
So I had to finance. The problem is, building an earthbag home isn’t financeable with most banks. It is still relatively new to our culture. Which means, you’ll either need to have money or find a place that will actually finance the project.
2. Who Will Build It?
Not every builder can build an earthbag home. They take time to build as well.
So if you find a builder that can build one, expect to pay a premium price for their services. If you decide to build the home yourself, then you’ll need to have time to invest in the project because it is not light work.
Also, you may have to consider where you’d live while it is being built. For us, that was another issue. I needed my home to sell to have cash to pay for land. Where would we live in the meantime? I have a homestead and kids.
So I have a lot of responsibility to take into account. And did I mention before the land….oh, the land we needed so that my children could run wild with my goats!
3. Where Will You Put It?
Finally, you need to consider where you can put your earthbag home. Some places may not be okay with an earthbag home being built in their area.
So you definitely need to check with zoning before getting really invested in this project. You just never know.
Well, now you know what you are up against with an earthbag home. If you can work it out and find a design you like, then hopefully you’ll go for it.
As I mentioned, I’m still young so just because I didn’t move into an earthbag house with our new homestead purchase, doesn’t mean I might not build one elsewhere on our property in the future.
But what about you? Do you live in an earthbag home? What’s your experience with it? Have you ever built one? What can you share with us?
We love hearing from you so please leave us your comments.