Monday, June 30, 2014

Small Barn Layout and Design

There is lots of information out there on barn layouts. Cherry Hill books, for example, often have detailed diagrams of many different floorplans. However, the two main variations seem to be the center-aisle or the shedrow. I considered both of these but the center-aisle was more barn than I needed and a traditional shedrow was too open to the elements, even with a large front overhang. I also considered less traditional prefab layouts with a small aisle/work area in the middle of the stalls and other rooms (like this). After months of thinking, planning, and changing my mind, I settled on a shedrow with an enclosed overhang, which is also two-thirds of a center-aisle barn. Here's the floorplan:

I really like this design because you get the functionality of a center-aisle barn without the bulk and expense. Also, all of your stalls can face whatever direction is best in your area. In my climate I worry much more about the heat than the cold (especially since one of my horses has anhydrosis and isn't getting any younger), so all of my stalls face east to keep the horses from baking in the afternoon sun. In the summer the windows and aisle doors let a good breeze through, and combined with the shade and the ridge vent they have kept the barn 10-15 degrees cooler than outside so far. We will see how it all works in the winter, but again, I am much less concerned about cold horses here than hot horses, and I can always add another layer of clothes myself!

Here's what it looks like on the inside:

And the outside:

Here are a few tips:
  • If you will consistently be approaching the barn from one direction more than the other, put the tack/feed room there. That will often be your first stop when you start your chores. With only a few horses, you can probably have one room for tack and feed together, as long as you keep it clean so the rodents don't move in (though of course that goes without saying anyway).
  • Consider having one more stall than you think you need to store tools and a couple days' worth of hay and bedding, so you can keep the aisle clear. Try not to fill that extra stall with one extra horse!
  • Another option for an extra stall is a wash stall. I don't bathe my horses in the winter so I decided to stick with an outdoor wash rack, but I did add a drain at the far end of the aisle with a slight slope to the concrete there in case I need it in a pinch.
  • To save some space and expense, try a 10' aisle instead of 12'. 8' is cramped but 10' allows a truck or tractor through and gives you room to walk horses past each other if needed. It's also small enough that a horse is less likely to turn around in the crossties. To get a feel for how much space you need, measure your current aisle or a friend's, then use chalk or a broom handle or longe whips to visualize it at different widths. Try working with a horse or doing chores using only that width you marked off to see how it will work for you. Don't forget that a "10' aisle" is often measured from the outside of the outside wall, so the true interior width may end up around 9'6" (the same for your 12'x12' stalls, which are actually typically 11'6"x11'6").
Stay tuned for posts on how to finish the barn with plumbing and electric.

No comments:

Post a Comment