Barn Building 101-Part 1

When we purchased our little farm, it was just a house on a flat 11.5 acres. Neither Chris nor I had any experience with barn construction so it was a bit of a learning curve. I have to say though stressful-its been fun to watch the progress. My dad generously offered to come down and wire the barn for us, so he is here this week doing that.


We originally were going to build a 36 x 36 barn as to have 4 12 x 12 stalls, a 12 x1 2 tack room and a 12 x 12 feed room. But without a hay loft, we decided to go a bit longer to have storage until we build a separate shed for hay. Our final dimensions ended up as 36 x 60 with a 12’ overhang on one side.This added a bit of cost, but it wasn’t unreasonable and the added length gave us plenty of


Ultimately the location was determined by an power pole on our property. Since we couldn’t build under it, the barn had to go on the right side of our land. It worked out well though because it’s a straight drive back from our driveway and the site required little excavation.

Site prep

Prior to the site prep, we did have a neighbor come and hay our back ~7 acres. This saved us from mowing, and cleared it enough for the excavator (Kenny) to see what was what. We ended up pushing the barn about about 10-15 feet from where we had originally planned on placing it.While this cut a bit into our pasture space, it allowed for way less work because it was a much gentler slope.

Kenny prepped the site in about 2 days. First he leveled off the spot and then he laid a base of class 1 sand (I believe about 2-4”) and packed it down. We hired him to do our ring as well, so we got a bit of a discount by having him do both together. The ring is 100 x 120, but with room to expand out to 100 x 150 one day.





When we were looking for builders, we got several quotes and visited a few farms to check references. We knew that a solid wood barn was out of our budget, so we went with a wood framed metal sided barn. The builder we selected was an Amish man who had renovated a friends barn and while not the cheapest quote we got, he was honest and his work was hard to beat.

I was home for the initially site prep work, but I missed most of the barn building because it started the day I left on a business trip. Over the next week the crew got most of the exterior work done.



I got these daily updates texted to me while I was in Oz.



Framing the tack/feed room:


Tongue and groove walls for the tack room:



The blue we selected was supposed to be  bit more grey and match the house. but it came out a lot lighter. We still really like the color.





We still stuck to the original 4 stalls but increased the tack room to 12 x 24 and added a 12 x 12 grooming area. That leaves about 12 x 36 for hay storage or to eventually add additional stalls. My dad will be back in September to add heating to the tack room as we have a washer and dryer in there. We plan to concrete the tack room, grooming area and possibly the aisle way (still on the fence).. The one thing we haven’t decided on is a hot water heater and water in the grooming stall.

Tack room



Grooming area


We put two stalls on each side towards the back of the barn. I thought this would maximize horse to horse contact to reduce stress. Ours are 12 x 12 with a window and metal doors.


The doors took a few days to come in.


Electric and Water

My dad is a retired electrician and he offered to come down and do all of the electric in the barn. We opted to run a separate service to the barn and to save a bit of money on our electric bill.


For the exterior, we put up dust to dawn LED lights on the front and back of the barn. This was my dads suggestion so we could view the entry way to the barn from the house.

Aisle lights are also LED. When he comes back well add lights above the grooming stall.

Electrical outlets

My dad placed outlets at either end of the barn and in the tack room. I asked him to add a few additional: one outside each stall (for fans) and one in the grooming area (for clippers, etc). These are relatively easy to add before you run wire.


My dad will be coming back in September for our wedding, so he is going to install electric heaters in the tack room at that point. This gives us time to insulate and finish the walls in there. . While not something that I really thought we needed, he suggested it to keep our pipes from freezing in the winter. We do have a washer a nd dryer from our old house that we are going to put in the tack room once it is done.

Whats next?

Obviously the interior is still under construction. This month we will be running the plumbing and adding concrete to the tack room and grooming area. Dad will come back down to finish the lights. I will update as we make progress!



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