Country Lore: A $2,000 Garage

This reader constructed a pole barn, and she spent very little money doing it.

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After moving to our North Carolina mountain cabin, we looked to Mother Earth News for ideas before building our garage/shop. After spending hours at a local restaurant drawing plans on the place mats, my husband and his buddy Jim started a rustic but economical project. They planned to erect an 18-by-24-foot pole barn, made mostly of logs, with a steel roof.

Their first job was to go into our woods and cut hickory, poplar and oak trees for the cross beams. Then they went to a local sawmill and bought 2-by-10-foot yellow pine for the rafters and assorted seconds for the siding. All of the sawmill lumber was irregularly sized leftovers, costing two-thirds less than usual.

Next, they found a 16-by-17-foot insulated garage door, with opener, for $50 at a yard sale. They installed several windows, also purchased at yard sales, for extra light and ventilation. And they had the floor of the shop poured, for a very reasonable price, by a local cement company. The only things purchased from a retail lumber company were nails, screws and eight 2-by-10-foot pressure-treated boards.

The shop has 9-foot sidewalls with a 45-degree pitched roof that offers us lots of good storage space. We ended up with a versatile and unique shop for about $2,000. It fit our budget; it’s almost all natural, and the best part — it’s done!

Bette Balmer
Franklin, North Carolina