Most readers are probably familiar with old military forts in the wild west days of the US that were built with vertical wood poles set closely together. The same building method can be used for houses and other structures.
For some reason we’ve never talked about this natural building method on our blog, maybe because one of our goals is to reduce the use of wood when possible in order to conserve forests. This building method can be sustainable if you have an abundant source of small diameter poles. For instance, you may live where thinning excess small trees actually improves the health of the forest and reduces forest fires. If that’s the case then this building method might work well for you.
I first saw a home built with stockade walls about 15 years ago on a natural homes tour in western New Mexico in Navajo country. The home, built by a local artist, was exceptional. It had taken many years to build the home in stages as time and resources allowed, and was clearly a labor of love. The artist used local cedar/juniper poles set close together and chinked with earth. Most likely the chinking mixture had straw mixed in to reduce cracking. The finished result was very striking, very creative and totally natural.
Image source: YouTube (Similar to the artist’s house described above except there was earthen chinking instead of splines.)
Video showing stockade walls being made with medium sized straight poles.
Stockade walls made with milled timbers.
Stockade walls on a reconstructed fort.
Stockade walls made with small diameter poles in Mexico.