A garden’s own bubble

Rachel Finch with the Laramie Boomerang, viat he Wyoming News Exchange

Jeff Edwards anchors himself on top of the geodesic dome on Sept. 13, 2023, while Pete Kontaxes and Kason Walton keep the plastic taught so Edwards does not fall in. RACHEL FINCH/LARAMIE BOOMERANG

A peek into the geodesic dome on Sept. 13, 2023, with the wood base and rebar holding up the frame. RACHEL FINCH/LARAMIE BOOMERANG

UW Extension works to build a geodesic dome for Laramie resident

The University of Wyoming Extension originally planned to host a five-day school this week to learn about and participate in the construction of geodesic domes.

A geodesic dome is a sphere-like structure made with interlinking triangles and is traditionally used as a greenhouse for year round growth.

With classes at the university starting two weeks before students did not attend, but it allowed the two leaders of the project, UW Pesticide Coordinator Jeff Edwards and WDA Grant Program Manager Ted Craig to perform a test run.

“In the past, I would pre-build the kits on my own property and then I would drive to the location, we would build the frame in one afternoon and then place the skin on the next morning,”Edwards said. “I’m getting to a point where I don’t want to be building these kits all the time. I’m trying to develop an appropriate school for people who are interested in these things and [Laramie resident] Mark Rozman was the pilot.”

In April, Edwards presented a demonstration of the construction process in Cheyenne. Rozman had been considering a traditional greenhouse for some time and was interested after hearing about the domes.

Shortly after that event, Rozman contacted with Edwards about the construction of a dome on his property.The process then began during the next four months by collecting raw materials, flattening and preparing a space on Rozman’s property, and aligning everything for the class.


“I’ve been thinking about a greenhouse for years, but they’re prohibitively expensive,” Rozman said. “This [geodesic dome] is far more affordable, quicker, involves local people and local material — I liked that.”

A traditional greenhouse, even for recreational use, is expensive when compared to its alternative. Edwards mentioned a greenhouse is roughly $250-300 per farmable square foot. On the other hand, a geodesic dome is about $5 per farmable square foot.

Last Sunday afternoon, they spent a few hours preparing the materials and finished the prep by Monday afternoon.Tuesday was spent building the wood base, placing rebar in the base for reinforcement and building the frame. On Wednesday, they finished the skin of the dome after only a few hours.

“It’s much more adaptable to Wyoming because it’s got all these rebars anchored into the ground and it’s a lot of weight,” Rozman said. “That is what makes it a really strong frame so the snow load won’t collapse it. Eventually, I’ll put solar panels, probably on the ground. And then I can run heaters and stuff in there.”

Edwards originally estimated the build would take five days as the class schedule had outlined. But following the test run with Rozman, he decided the whole project could be done in two and a half days. Knowing this has only made Edwards more determined to make this class work the next time.

“I had initially scheduled it for a five-day school. Well, if I have people and I can keep showing them what to do and how to build these things,” Edwards said.“Through the pilot through Mark, we’re able to prove that we can do it in two and a half days. So, if the school is less time or might be more interest, I’m hoping that there will be more interest.”

The two men will host a demonstration at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site at 10 a.m. Saturday during the Higher Ground Fair presented by Feeding Laramie Valley. Those who attend can enter into a raffle to win the 14-foot diameter geodesic domes.



Published Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023


586 Words



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