Burying a shipping container for a shelter or bunker without any modifications is very unsafe because it can cause the walls and roof to cave inward.
This can happen because cargo containers are built to withstand specific pressure at the end of the structures, not the sheet metal roof or walls.
Building a shipping container home can be a smart home choice, but there are some limitations to using cargo containers for other dwelling purposes.
Some preppers and survivalists may assume that a shipping container is useful for underground placement as a bunker or bug out shelter.
However, it is unsafe to do this with a cargo container unless there are extra, major structural steps taken to add support. When you bury a basic container, the pressure limits are exceeded by the force of the earth around it and on top of it.
If you want to bury a shipping container as a dwelling or safe room, then you must take proper steps to keep the roof and walls from eventually collapsing.
Supports made from concrete barriers must be added to the exterior excavation area outside the container to lessen excessive pressure from the walls and roof. It would be necessary to retrofit the container so that the weight of the soil was kept off the roof if completely buried. This can be time consuming as well as expensive.
Plus, you may need to hire a professional who is an expert at building bunker-style shelters. It can be done, however, most builders knowledgeable in container building and design do not recommend this. If you still choose to, just be sure to take proper precautions and safety measures to insure a successful project. Consulting a structural engineer can be a very wise move for this type of project.
If you are only partially covering the container or perhaps are going to merely add some camouflage to the building, you can add a roof top garden. These are practical and attractive. A roof top garden helps to make the container blend in with wooded areas.
Also, having a garden on top can be a source of sustainable food if you choose to have that instead of a flower garden. Covering the container from the impact of direct sunlight helps to cool the container in the summer and keeps it warmer in the winter.
Some people use the top of their container to create a small covered patio area where they can entertain and barbecue with friends or sit on chairs to enjoy the outdoors. Others simply plant grass seed to make it look like part of the landscape.