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Picture with me this creative vision of process and placement. It is day one of my shipping container project and my brand new shipping container has just arrived on a flat low-boy trailer. Its a beautiful forty-foot high cube. Our site is a typical open field with a deciduous tree line of forest along the field. I have the driver drop the container perpendicular to and just twenty feet or so in front of the tree line on a set of railroad ties also set running perpendicular to the tree line. The next month is spent framing out the container with 4x4 posts, 2x8 cross-members, ISO board insulation (2" thick foam board), and 3/8" plywood walls which are well secured to the 4x4 posts which run every eight feet along the length.

Everything is screwed together using lag bolts for the big stuff and smaller #14 wood screws for the walls. Care is taken to pre-drill and countersink all holes for a good fit and attractive install. If a wall needs to be removed later to accommodate some unforeseen plumbing or wiring, the wall panels can simply be unscrewed to remove, and screwed back in place with no loss of strength. I wouldn't use nails for anything!

During this time, a plan is made to clear-cut out a section of timber 2 1/2 times the width and about 1 1/2 times the length of the container, in the forest directly behind the container. The timbered logs are set aside for use later as logs, not firewood. The second month a backhoe/loader is rented to excavate the cut site to three or four feet below the surface. A load of gravel is brought in and spread evenly. More railroad ties are laid down and even greased if necessary, staggering the seams so that the container won't dip and bind as it is slowly winched off of the field, back behind the tree-line, and down into the recessed pit. A common 12volt or hand winch is attached to the base of a tree at the far end of the pit to pull the container into the recessed pit in a straight line.

The three or four foot walls of the pit are lined and secured with a commercially available interlocking stone designed for this purpose. The short wall angles back slightly and has a neat finished appearance. If the wall were to be any higher and the pit any deeper, special engineering would have been needed to foot or hold the wall in place and avoid caving as the surrounding soil settles. The timbers removed earlier are cut to length, notched at one end, and placed with the notched end up against the top corner of the container and the other end about three feet outside the retaining wall. Railroad ties are buried about a foot and a half into the soil longitudinally along and outside of the retaining wall to provide a footing for the timbers. The timbers are then lashed together side by side and possibly covered with a galvanized sheeting to provide a roof for the now awning-like brace which covers the pit and runs all the way around the container leaving only the very front door section open in front.

The container is now partially buried and partially covered. The partially submerged nature of the site allows the air around the container to be cooled by the Earth in the hot summer thus keeping the container cool. Similarly in winter, the awning of the timbers keeps the cold wind at bay. The awning covered area between the container and retaining wall is kept dry and is ideal for a lounging area, outside grilling, and storage of less temperature sensitive equipment. The whole project is done economically and focuses on placing the container in an environment where it would not have to be extensively modified with complex or unproved methods, and where it can be kept dry and ventilated for long life and comfort. The recessed position and awning-like reach of side-by-side timbers covering the entire pit gives the project a flush-to-ground low roofline to protect against high winds..

Offered by Steve.