Lawn And Landscaping

How to Landscape a Storm Shelter or Safe House

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"How to Landscape a Storm Shelter or Safe House"
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Various parts of the United States experience dangerous storms like Tornadoes and Hurricanes. One way to protect yourself is by purchasing and installing a storm shelter that is partially or wholly underground and use it as a safe house during emergencies. Because the storm shelter becomes part of the overall house and yard, landscaping improves the appearance of the shelter when it would otherwise look out of place. The question then becomes what media best suits your landscaping efforts and goals.

• Shrubs and Trees

For a straightforward landscape element consider using trees and shrubs around the three sides of your shelter, leaving the door area open. Choose sturdy bushes and trees like boxwood, pine, cypress, sumac, holly, blackthorn, magnolia, birch, myrtle and daisy bush. Place the trees at a distance where the roots will not interfere with the shelter construction.

• Green Space

Use the basics of creating a green roof on the exposed surfaces of your shelter. Begin by laying down a waterproof membrane over the top and sides of the building. Add a root barrier, insulation, a layer of drainage material and follow with a filter mat and soil. If the incline on the shelter sides is too steep, then only create this garden on the roof area instead. The advantage of this landscape design is that you can reclaim water filtered through the plants and the filtering layer in the construction, so it’s a value-added space that reflects the purpose of your shelter. Suitable plants for green space include drought-resistant species like cactus, salvia, bush sage, rosemary, compact myrtle and fortnight lily.

• Low-lying Plants

Ground cover plants remain small and close to the soil level, decreasing erosion around your shelter. If your shelter is completely buried these types of plants grow right over the doorway and hide it completely, so consider putting in root barriers in that area. Some options for landscaping ground cover include aloe, creeping thyme and Japanese spurge.

• Decorative Stone and Rock Features

Put down landscaping rock and decorative stone features along with walkway and sides of your shelter. Mix various regional plants into the design for more color and naturalizing.

• Vining Plants

Vining plants work effectively along the sides of your storm shelter and could combine with the green roof space quite effectively. Some lovely choices that hide walls as they grow include clematis, Chinese wisteria and climbing fig.

• Edible Landscape

Utilize the space adjacent to your shelter for growing food. Some of the fruits, herbs and vegetables that thrive in full light include dwarf citrus, blueberries, thyme, chives, sage, compact tomatoes and strawberries. While not all these plants may survive a severe storm, you’re using the space effectively in the interim and can preserve your harvest for use in the shelter.

More about this author: Trish Teelsco

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