As perhaps one of the Pacific Northwest's most renowned custom home design companies, we have certainly satisfied many unique requirements and produced designs that have covered a lot of interesting home design concepts - but we have seldom discussed a particular concept which is extremely important in this day and age - surviving the next zombie apocalypse!
Nobody wants to get eaten by a zombie, rabid horde, or traveling alien fiend - but in a true sense - it's better to be prepared, right? With this guide, our help, and if you build yourself a sturdy custom zombie fortress, you’ll hopefully find that it is much easier to survive certain (un)death. We can't speak for the planet destroying asteroid, alien invasion, rampant crazy president, or galaxy wide catastrophe - but for smaller apocalypses - we've got you covered. So what goes in to creating the ultimate zombie fortress? Let's take a look!
Plan 21129 The Lexington - with 'beefy' security
1. Choosing The Right House Plans for your (Strategic) Home
The people that survive the zombie apocalypse aren’t going to be the ones that live in some flimsy, pre-fab, barely code compliant home. They’ll be the people that wisely invested in smart, beautifully designed house plans – designs that they can customize in any way they want to defend against the ravenous hordes of hungry neighbors - and that have amenities to die for. To start - think about the overall perimeter of your home, and its defendability. Are there lots of floor to ceiling windows, and lots of doors? Are there dark corners or places for the undead to hide? Probably not the best. Can you move from one side of the home to the other unseen? Are there good vantage points, high windows, or maybe.. a parapet?
To start, we recommend checking out our Contemporary style house plans. Those with simple rectangular designs are most easily suited to battening the hatches to defend against waves of walkers (or your undead mother-in-law). Many contemporary designs also feature clerestory windows, which give you a good vantage point while remaining difficult to get into from the exterior, and provide a 360-degree view of what's crawling towards the house. Flat roofs are also great places keep a lookout, pick off brain hungry villagers, or just chill out in safety when there is a lull in the action. E.g. - Plan 1160 -The Dublin
Calm before the storm - pre-apocalypse, nobody needs to see your fortifications.
2. Choosing Building Supplies Wisely
Some building supplies are better suited for homes in the middle of post-apocalyptic zombie-filled wastelands than others, and the climate in your part of the apocalyptic landscape may differ. Ask your local building jurisdiction for their recommendations. Generally speaking, a simple stick-framed home that leaves nothing but vinyl siding and a bit of drywall between you and the gnashing teeth of hell hounds may not be the best option. Consider ICF or pre-cast concrete walls. A slab floor may also help if your home is at threat from those rising from the grave. Concrete walls are energy efficient, which is wonderful news since energy will be hard to come by. Precast concrete also has better resistance against things like wind or the pounding fists of zombie hordes. Your fortress will also have increased fire resistance – a good feature to have if you invest in a flamethrower or decide to start throwing molotov cocktails out the window.
When the fun begins - it's time to party!
3. Protecting Windows and Doors
Now that you’ve picked out your fortress plans, and have a solid wall system in place, it’s time to think about all the little custom-designed extras that will make your home the last bastion of humanity. Since the windows and doors will be the weak point, we’ll start there.
Sturdy walls protect against natural (and un-natural) disasters
On the outside, you’ll need something to protect your windows from pounding or the occasional blunt object (some zombies are smart enough to use bricks, sticks or stones). We recommend steel mesh or aluminum security shutters, similar to those that malls use to lock up their stores at night. They’ll provide you with plenty of visibility, are easy to roll down in a hurry, and they’ll keep your doors and windows safe while maintaining the curb appeal your HOA will appreciate. If you’re not fond of shutters, you can instead install bars over each window. The don't have to be ugly though!
Stylish bars protect windows without looking unsightly in the aftermath of the apocalypse
Now, we all know that zombies are particularly active at night – and they’re attracted to brightly lit fortresses. This means that you’ll need to hang up some heavy-duty drapery if you want to turn the lights on at night. No off-the-shelf curtain rods will stand up to the weight of thick drapes, however. Include cornice boxes with built-in curtain rods so that you can double-hang blackout curtains. Custom black-out shades can increase your chance of survival too. Who-da-thunk?
Blackout curtains hide your existence from evil entities
4. Growing and Storing Food
Once the zombie outbreak hits its peak, weekly trips to the grocery store are going to get a whole lot more interesting. You’re going to need a good-sized pantry so that you can cut down on all those looting trips! Large pantries are also a good place to store extra ammo, grenades, and other zombie warfare tools. Canned goods are nice to have, but you can’t live through the zombie apocalypse without at least a few fresh fruits and veggies. The problem is, zombies are worse than rabbits and deer combined when it comes to trampling gardens. Fortunately, if you’ve chosen a fortress with a flat roof, you’ll be able to have a well-protected rooftop garden by including a green roof!
Pick a can of pickled peppers - or a hand grenade.
5. Procuring Water
Food isn’t the only thing that will be in short supply during the meltdown of society. You’ll need a steady supply of drinking water, too. You could haul water back from your trips to the store, but that’s a lot of work, you may be busy blasting your way through the crowds – and supplies will run out eventually. Make sure that your gutter system is designed to accommodate rain barrels, and you’ll be able to supplement your water supplies as long as it still rains. If the government used Nukes on us to try and curb the outbreak (you know they will), it might be a good idea to check for radiation too.
Keep an eye on the shadows while you're collecting water.
6. Off-Grid Power
Since the grid probably won’t exist anymore, you’ll need to generate your own power. It’s not like we’ll be able to spend hours bingeing on Netflix shows or surfing the web anymore, but you’ll appreciate being able to cook or turn on the lights every now and then, or maybe tune in to the emergency radio channel. Plus, if you have power, you could install a zombie warning system! Depending on what type of apocalypse you're in, there are two options. We like solar panels – they’re easy to install and maintain on your roof as long as the sun isn't blacked out for eternity. However, if you now live in an area with extreme winds, wind turbines are a viable option, too. As a bonus, free-standing turbines serve as great lookout points! And, if you’d prefer to keep your power source on the roof, there are some wind turbine designs that are made for rooftops – and their modern aesthetic will complement the contemporary look of your fortress.
Rooftop wind-turbines - great for when there's no sun. Ever.
7. Keeping Fit during Armageddon
You’re may be wondering exactly who is going to have time for fitness with thousands of zombies roaming around. Well, you will, if you want to survive! For one thing, you’re going to be doing a lot of running for your life. And, depending on your preferred style of combat, you may need to perfect your swing with a baseball bat, or flying round-house kicks. Make sure your home design includes a gym so that you are ready to take on the biggest, meanest, and fastest enemies hell throws at you.
Be careful who you invite round for a spot of Bikram.
8. Post-Apocalyptic Landscape Trends
Flowers, perennial beds, strategically placed plantings – you won’t have time to tend to landscape plants, and the zombies probably won’t appreciate your beautiful gardens anyway. However, that doesn’t mean your landscape needs to look bad. Once the dead start rising, we predict that things like chain link fencing, well placed spikes and razor wire will become top trends in landscape and outdoor living space design. To start, you’ll need a sturdy fence topped with barbed or razor wire to stop the zombies (or at least slow them down). A few strategically placed caltrops or coils of razor wire throughout your yard will not only look nice, but it will give you time to man the defenses should the zombies get past your fence. And, with a little bit of paint, you can turn bear traps into bright, eye-catching landscape features fit for the Street of Dreams.
In the apocalypse - catching a bear would be better than a zombie
In addition to the perimeter fence, add coils of barbed wire around the parapets of your home. It’s kind of like decorating your roofline with Christmas lights, except it’s totally OK to leave your barbed wire up year round and looks rather fetching! Here's Plan 21129 - The Lexington, modified to suit.
Of course, your fortress doesn’t necessarily have to be designed with the undead in mind. But, when you’re working with a designer to create a custom home design that's unique to your needs, there are plenty of real-life concerns to think about. You may not want to decorate your yard with razor wire just yet, but some things – like off-grid power, concrete construction or even something simple like a spacious pantry – will help you stay safe not only during the zombie apocalypse, but also during events like power outages, severe storms, and other natural disasters.