DIY Small Barns and Storage Sheds

Whatever your storage needs, building a shed or small barn might be just the way to unclutter your 21st-century homestead.
By Heidi Hunt
September/October 2007

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Adequate storage space is important for any well-designed home or homestead. Whether in an urban, suburban or rural setting, we all need places to easily store and organize our stuff. This is especially true for gardeners and small farmers who have tools and machines that help them work more efficiently.

Most of us carve out storage space from the garage or basement, or purchase a portable metal storage shed. But you can make a well-crafted tool shed or small barn, designed for your personal needs, that will be much more useful and satisfying. Even small backyards have room for a toolshed tacked on to a garage wall or a shed tucked away in a corner of the yard. Firewood can also benefit from a proper storage space. While a plastic tarp thrown over the stack is one way to protect the wood, an all-season woodshed is a more attractive and permanent solution.

Across much of America, you can see examples of barns, some hundreds of years old. Their designs range from round to rambling. Some are actually attached to the farmhouse.

Today’s farms seldom need a large, multi-stalled, high haymow barn, but many homesteads can benefit from a place to house a few chickens, a couple of goats, feed and even a compact tractor. You can have a great time designing and building exactly the kind of small barn that fits your needs; or, you can check out our small barn plans. The little red barn plan is expandable: Start out with an 8-by-12-foot stick-built section and later you can add a lean-to on one side or both — depending on your finances, energy level and needs. The other plan also uses dimension lumber for framing, but the walls are made from cordwood construction.

Whatever your storage needs, building a shed or small barn might be just the way to unclutter your 21st-century homestead.

Do you have other tips for folks who want to build a shed or barn for storage space? Post comments below.

Post a comment below.


Pearl Lewis
9/26/2007 12:00:00 AM
I hope you are going to have information on "Papercrete". I also am very interested, and like using things I can recycle. Thanks, P.Lewis

R Yarnell
9/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
In addition to the above: when you have determined the dimensions at which the jurisdiction demands a building permit, size your building an inch or so smaller in each dimension. That must be an accurate inch or so. Most jurisdictions will limit the number of square feet you can build without a permit. Unless the code states differently, assume they mean the number of square feet occupied by the building, not the net square feet in the building.

Dottie Beck
9/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
Why don't you have information on Papercrete? There seem to be sufficient testing done on the process and usage. I seen structures made from this material and structures covered with slurries made of papercrete and I am very impressed. Also, it uses recycled materials.Thanks,Dottie Beck

jolene rogers
9/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
Just make sure when building anything to check with your local authorities first to see if any permits are required or if there are any other restrictions to building in your area.It can save money and headaches later.

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