You can build a bomb shelter in your backyard to also serve as a “man cave,” or a refuge to hang out. A bomb shelter is an old concept from the 1950s that gave many people a peace of mind should they ever experience an atomic attack. But, your own bomb shelter can serve as an underground, secret hideout for you to get away from the family and relax once in a while. Building a man-cave bomb shelter requires a shovel or backhoe and a vision for how you want the shelter to look and function as your own space.
Step 1 – Check Local Building Standards
You should check with your local building inspector’s office to determine what the codes are related to building a backyard shelter. You will need to know these rules before you begin because if this type of dwelling is not allowed in your community, your project will stop there. The only exception to this would be a zoning variance or appeal to the legislative council in your community.
Step 2 – Get Utility Markings
Before you begin any digging project in your yard to build a bomb shelter, you should first call your local utility company to come and mark the utility feeds on your property. This includes any electric, water, and gas lines that may be in your planned digging zone. If you fail to have these utilities marked in advance, this can lead to a line failure in your neighborhood or some catastrophic event, including injury or death to you. You could also be subject to a fine by your local utility if you fail to have the utilities marked before you dig.
Step 3 – Dig a Hole
Use a shovel to mark the perimeter of your man cave. This perimeter should be the size of a standard room in your home, likely no larger than 10-by-10 feet, or 100 square feet. Once you mark the perimeter of your bomb shelter, rent a backhoe to dig the shelter.
The front part of the bomb shelter should provide a narrow ditch for an opening to be created. This opening will create the stairwell that you will need to enter and exit your man cave. The opening should be wide enough to accommodate a staircase.
Step 4 – Reinforce the Walls
Warning: Improper reinforcing of the walls could seriously hurt yourself and others. Hire a professional and take all precautions.
You will need to lay a concrete or wood foundation for your bomb shelter. This process should involve a concrete contractor so that you can avoid any potential collapse of your bomb shelter.
Step 5 – Install Stairs
In order to get to your man cave, you must install outdoor stairs. Depending on how much time and effort you want to continue to put into your shelter, you can either hire a professional, install pre-made stairs, or build your own outdoor stairs.
Step 6 – Cover the Top of the Bomb Shelter
Finish the build by installing a flat roof. The roof, made of 4x4 or 8x8 planks to serve as the rafters, should be covered with plywood, soil, and sod to conceal it. Place the stairs into the opening and secure and top with a hidden handle that will allow you to gain access while concealing the whereabouts of your secret man-cave bomb shelter.
Step 7 – Decorate Your Man Cave
Now, all that's left to do is decorate. Whether you opt for a sports or music theme, you should decorate your man-cave bomb shelter as you see fit.