With the deck complete, the next challenge I faced was concealment of the underlying RECESS.

Obviously, I'm not sending invitations. I want to survive the inevitable collapse of modern society, and I want to thrive. The last thing I need is someone stumbling across my RECESS and raiding it, leaving my family standing in the bread line (if there is a bread line). Thus, it is important to mask the existence of the space from neighbors, friends, and would-be marauders.
Until that day, my work here serves another purpose. Having wiped out the swimming pool, the bunker remodel had to be as useful and valuable an addition to my property as possible. If the day of reckoning we've all been waiting for never arrives... Lord help those of us putting function before form when it comes time to sell our homes.

In the first image here you can see the ventilation pipes, bunker drain clean-out, and entry hatch. Our landscape plan was strategically designed to meet two needs:
  1. to use as little water as possible, and provide easy access to water caught on the roof of the property
  2. to conceal the existence of the aforementioned details through cunning and distraction
The first goal was easily achieved. We landscaped exclusively with low water plants and grasses. In my climate, they grow fast, and conceal year-round. The planted areas were shaped into a series of arcs for visual interest, set along the walls to ensure that our vegetation would receive partial shade at various times of the day.

Before putting down the weed cloth and gravel, I trenched in irrigation lines tied to the pool's original filtration return. Low pressure drip irrigation delivers precise amounts of water to each plant at its roots. This minimizes excess watering, evaporation, and unwanted weeds. The black pipe seen on the far end of the deck wall gathers ~75% of the water captured on my roof after a rain, easily allowing the captured water to be taken into the RECESS. If I choose not to capture the rainwater, it quickly and effectively floods the yard and irrigates the landscaping.

The second landscaping goal was addressed with a number of design decisions strategically executed in a sort-of landscape sleight of hand. The landscaping gravel, flagstone, and planter beds raised the lower yard an additional 4" - further obfuscating the existence of a 5.5' shelter below the deck. Plants were selected for high growth rates and year round interest, and placed close to bunker ventilation pipes and other features of RECESS I was determined to conceal.

Low-voltage landscape lighting was employed to create nighttime "interest" (and a clear view of anyone approaching the RECESS at night). Finally, the shade structure utilized two dramatic shade sails, in a bold color, capturing attention and drawing eyes up and away from my subterranean secret.

While the aesthetics have been considered, each choice made reflected an underlying goal of distraction. Guests, visitors, and perhaps even future owners should scarcely notice the indicators of the underground bunker, if at all. In the meantime, my family can enjoy a nice yard, and the comfort we derive from knowing that unlike our neighbors, we are ready for anything.