Building a Geodome greenhouse


Building a geodome is a journey of innovation, creativity and determination. From conception to completion, each step of the construction process is filled with challenges and lessons learned. The aim of this documentation is to provide an account of the process of building a geodome, based on my personal experience of building a geodome in the VorOrt project in Dessau-Roßlau.
In the spirit of transparency, I’d like to acknowledge the help of ChatGPT by OpenAI and Deepl Write in structuring this guide and formulating sentences. The insights and narrative are mine, but the language model helped ensure clarity and flow for the reader.
Whether you’re here out of curiosity or with the intention of replicating the process, I hope this guide provides valuable insights and inspires you to embark on your own geodome building journey.

I used a web generator to create the Dome I choose to build:

The one I built is based on possibility, because more than 180 peaces and … 7 types would have made it way too complex.

My Version

Materials & Tools Required


  • Pine wood beams: Essential for the structural framework of the geodome.
  • Linseed oil for coating the wood
  • Greenhouse foil: Used for covering, offering protection and insulation.
  • Screws: To hold the beams together securely.
  • Burned clay bricks: Selected for the foundation to negate the use of cement. These bricks are held together with a clay and sand mixture.
  • Metal strip: Provides additional security to anchor the dome to its foundation.

Tools & Equipment:

  • Chop saw: Ideal for cutting beams accurately and at specific angles.
    Which angel you need to cut depends on your build. I recommend getting some scrap wood and making some test cuts. Document how you did it and then apply it to the parts you want to cut.
  • Battery drill: Used for both drilling and screwing.
  • Markers and a guide: Essential for marking lines on the greenhouse foil.
  • Scissors: For cutting the greenhouse foil.
  • Container & brush: Needed for treating beams with linseed oil.
  • Brick trowels, angle grinder, levels, and a hammer: For constructing the decagonal(Ten corners) foundation.
  • Mixing tool: Handy for preparing the plaster, especially when dealing with tough clay.

Safety Gear:

  • Noise-canceling headphones: Protection during wood cutting and angle grinding.
  • Safety glasses: Essential during angle grinding.
  • Dust mask: Recommended especially when angle grinding, to prevent inhalation of particulate matter. Wetting the stones prior to this activity can further reduce dust production.

Preparation Steps

Site Selection:
The placement of the geodome was straightforward. Given its aesthetic appeal, it was positioned more centrally in the garden, ensuring it also benefited from ample sunlight. The geodome, with its intricate design and pronounced presence, naturally becomes a centerpiece, drawing the eyes of anyone who steps into the garden.

Ground Preparation:
Before embarking on the actual construction, the ground underwent a two-fold preparation process:

  • 1. Foundation Excavation:
    The ground was dug out slightly to embed the foundation, ensuring greater stability and protection against potential external pressures like strong winds.
  • 2. Soil Replacement:
    The native soil within the designated dome area was removed. This was done with the intention of replacing it later with nutrient-rich soil sourced from the compost pile, offering the plants inside the geodome an optimal growth environment.

Measurements & Planning:
The foundation and initial layout heavily relied on a 3D model crafted using an online tool. This model acted as a blueprint, guiding the entire groundwork process. A simple yet effective method was employed to maintain accuracy: a stick was planted at the would-be center of the dome. Using this as a pivot, a circle was drawn to mark the periphery, setting the stage for subsequent steps.

We also build us a wooden guide with the needed angle for the corners of the foundation.

Construction Process

Step 1: Base/Foundation

  • Once the trench was excavated, clay mud was laid out as the initial foundation layer. Following this, the burned clay bricks were placed on top, setting the base for the geodome structure.

Step 2: Framework Assembly

  • Triangles Formation:
    The triangles, fundamental to the geodome’s design, were crafted from pine wood beams. These beams were first measured and then precisely cut using a chop saw. Post cutting, they were treated with linseed oil, which was applied in two coats, allowing adequate drying time in between. With the dried and treated beams ready, they were then assembled into triangles based on specific drawings provided by the online geodome calculator.
  • Connecting the Triangles:
    Linking the triangles together to form the dome was challenging. When screws were directly driven into the beams, it was difficult due to the pressure required, posing a risk of breakage. However, pre-drilling the holes proved effective, ensuring the screws could be safely and securely fastened.
    I used some Cardboard leftovers to create drilling guides.

Step 3: Securing and Reinforcing the Structure

  • The geodome inherently boasts a robust geometric design, which provides substantial stability. Once individual triangles were created, they were interconnected using screws. To further fortify the structure, especially against the forces of wind, a metal band was secured around the first row of bricks in the foundation.

Step 4: Dome Covering

  • Given budget constraints, the choice of covering material was narrowed down to foil. While there are numerous alternatives available, foil presented an affordable and efficient solution for this project.

Step 5: Final touches and adjustments

  • After construction, it was found that the structure had minor inaccuracies due to some unevenness in the foundation and drying of the wood. To counter this, additional wooden beams were placed over the base corners to mitigate potential wobbling. Future plans for the geodome include installing windows and a functional door, further enhancing its utility and aesthetics.

Challenges & Recommendations

  • Solo Building Challenges:
    One of the significant challenges faced during the construction of the geodome was the scope of the project, especially when primarily tackled alone. While personal effort and dedication played a substantial role, certain aspects of the build required additional hands for efficiency and practicality. Gratefully, friends stepped in, lending their invaluable assistance, ensuring the project could progress and, eventually, reach its completion.
  • Seasonal Hurdles:
    Nature, in its unpredictable form, added another layer of complexity. The onset of winter brought with it plummeting temperatures, making it uncomfortable, if not impossible, to continue with the foundational work. Working close to the cold ground became increasingly challenging.

Recommendations for Future Builders:

  • Effective Timing: When undertaking a project of this magnitude and intricacy, timing is crucial. Align your primary construction activities with seasons that are conducive to outdoor work. Be wary of months that may introduce harsh weather conditions that could impede your progress.
  • Flexibility: It’s essential to have a contingency plan in place. This could mean securing a space to temporarily store your materials and tools, allowing you to pause and resume your project when conditions are more favorable.

By accounting for these challenges and considering the recommended strategies, one can navigate the complexities of building a geodome more smoothly.

Maintenance and Care

Given that the geodome’s construction was recently completed (as of August 21, 2023), its long-term maintenance needs and the nuances of its upkeep are yet to be fully experienced. However, a few initial observations and expectations have been outlined:

  • Wood Maintenance:
    The wooden beams, which form the primary structural component of the geodome, are anticipated to be the first elements requiring attention. Wood, being an organic material, is prone to natural wear, weathering, and potential deterioration. It will be essential to periodically check for signs of wear, discoloration, or damage, and address them promptly. Re-application of linseed oil or a similar protective treatment may be necessary to preserve the wood’s integrity and appearance.
  • Continuous Observation:
    As with any structure, the key to its longevity lies in consistent observation and proactive maintenance. By regularly inspecting the geodome, potential issues can be identified and remedied before they escalate into more significant challenges.

While the immediate maintenance strategy revolves around these points, the passage of time will undoubtedly offer more insights into the geodome’s care requirements. It’s a journey of learning, adaptation, and ensuring the structure stands resiliently for years to come.

Conclusion & Future Plans

Reflections on the Journey: The geodome’s construction journey was one filled with challenges, learnings, and ultimately, immense satisfaction. Each step, from ideation to completion, was not just about building a physical structure but also about personal growth, collaboration, and bringing a vision to life. As I step into the garden and lay my eyes on the geodome, it stands as a testament to effort, perseverance, and creativity.

What’s Next for the Geodome:

  • Enhanced Access Points: A pivotal next step involves enhancing the dome’s accessibility. This includes crafting windows that can be manually opened, with future plans to automate them. A functional door that seamlessly integrates with the geodome’s design is also on the agenda. Both these additions require careful planning, additional woodwork, and precision to ensure they complement the existing structure.
  • Green Inhabitants: The geodome’s primary purpose, to house plants, will soon be realized. Initial plans involve introducing cabbage into the dome, kickstarting its journey as a unique greenhouse.

A Word to Aspiring Builders:
Embarking on such a project may seem daunting, but the key is to dive in. Overthinking can often be a barrier to action. While I’ll share my learnings, insights, and resources, remember that every geodome journey is unique. There will always be new challenges to face and fresh insights to gain. Embrace the process, learn from every hurdle, and soon enough, you’ll have your own geodome standing tall and proud.

Resources & Suppliers

When taking on a project like building a geodome, having the right resources at hand can significantly streamline the process and ensure accuracy in execution.
Online Resources: A pivotal tool in the planning and execution phase was a specific website which aided in 3D modeling and provided calculations crucial to the geodome’s construction. (Note: You can insert the website link or name here when you’re ready.)

Material Suppliers:
As for the materials, especially the wooden beams, my recommendation is to leverage local sawmills. Not only does this support local businesses, but it often results in getting high-quality wood at the best possible prices. By engaging with local suppliers, you can also gain insights into the most suitable wood types available in your region and ensure the sustainability of your procurement.

Remember, while these resources were instrumental in my geodome journey, every region and project might have its nuances. So, always be open to exploring local resources and suppliers that best align with your specific needs

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