Sunken Greenhouse Part 1: Dirt work

Sunken Greenhouse Part 1:  Dirt work

This is the first of a series of videos that will chronicle my construction of a sunken greenhouse, otherwise known as a Walipini or Pit Green house. This isn’t necessarily a ‘how to’ build a green house, but rather the steps that I’m taking to build one. The next part will be pouring of concrete footers, laying of block and getting the sub frame assembly finished and ready for the final roof. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for watching:)


The music used in this video is sourced from the Youtube music library and my brother in law, Trey Harris.
Credits are as follows:

Intro music: Trey Harris

Main background song: Turn On by RW Smith




What do you think?


Written by Aleksandar

Video MakerContent AuthorYears Of Membership


  1. Your land reminds me of my home state of Arizona. This is something I have thought would work well on my family homestead in the Verde Valley of northern AZ. I'm worried that it would be susceptible to fire ants, gophers, and flooding though. I can't wait to watch the rest of the videos in this series! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Whew, thank goodness you had help from your father-in-law with that backhoe! You have some serious ambition to have been doing this by hand…crazy man!

  3. Yo, I just started getting one dug out using an excavator. I had no idea you already had a video on this! I have mine in North Los Angeles County and it's for the same reasons (high winds, reducing variability of temperature, cool factor). I even have DG as my underlying layer and all my stuff is just experimental fun stuff as well. Crazy that the factors and the experiment are so similar.

  4. That is similar to what i am thinking about doing with my second greenhouse. I want to make it a more temperature stable greenhouse so that is how i came up with the ideal of only having a geo-dome for a roof, in essence, a transparent dome over a hole. Just using a 1/3 of the dome because the sides won't be needed because the sides are a hole in the ground. But i will still build a wooden wall, but it won't need to be geo-dome style sides, those can be just straight perpendicular to the earth. Then also, there will be huge containers of water where sun is allowed to shine on in the winter, and shaded out with leaves purposely in the summer.

  5. Amazing project! 🙂 Just being curious. Why didnt you excavate the whole interior area and then build grow beds around the sides. You could have gotten some really tall tomato plants growing in there 🙂

  6. I have off-grid property in Northern Nevada at about 4500 feet elevation that I plan on moving to permanently in 3-4 years. In the mean time I will be putting certain systems in place. The well, wind and solar power, water catchment, and some type of building, cabin, RV?? to stay in when I visit are the first priority. I have been watching you create your gardens, swales, and water catchment systems etc. and will be using many of your techniques. May I ask what elevation is your property?

  7. So when you’re saying that the temperatures are more consistent what are we talking about? Would building a structure like this in the deep South or the Bahamas help with summer heat? Where cold is not a problem. Because I think you live in a really hot place also? So is the heat the reason why you built this greenhouse?

  8. What about rainfall? I will been moving from SoCal to IL.. I moved to CA. in 2000, but I want to continue growing my beautiful plants when I move back home. Will the cement structure keep it from flooding? Or could I add another layer ? Also, what about "flash flooding" will it be necessary to cement the walls and/or the flooring? And, if so, will that take away from the "natural ground heating" thing?

  9. Obvious question but I'm going to ask anyways:

    Out water table is pretty shallow, but I was wondering if it was possible to still do this regardless.

    We also live in an in-ideal area for am above ground green house

  10. Love your videos! Kind of getting a late start on them. I am amazed at how similar are areas are. We get about 13 inches of rain / yr, have lots of wind and digging can be difficult because of rock and decomposed granite. You have such great ideas which I hope to incorporate into our projects. Thanks a bunch!

  11. your greenhouse looks great i wish i had the space to build one as large as you did. i just built my first sunken greenhouse, i live in michigan so it gets a lot colder here. let me know what you think if you have a chance to check my channel. thanks and Subscirbed!

  12. Thank you for sharing with us! It's always interesting to learn all the different ways of doing a project. What would be helpful is if you could put your location in the first paragraph. Like nearest City, State, Country and growing zone. Including temperature highs and lows for summer and winter, frostline, and precipitation would be an added bonus. It really makes a difference when using these videos to plan a project so that people in different climes can adjust for frostline, temperature highs and lows, humidity, and soil type. Thanks again for sharing! Your greeenhouse looks good!


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planting the cold climate greenhouse

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