Design Tips for Barns and Farm Sheds

14 November

With over 20 years of experience in building tough, high-quality farm sheds for the local community, we understand the unique challenges and considerations that come with designing and building these structures.

In this article, Buffalo Built’s Managing Director Ross Barker shares his top design tips to keep in mind when planning your barn or farm shed.

Ross Barker
Ross Barker

Managing Director, Buffalo Built

In this Article:

Building a Sturdy Structure that Fits Your Needs –
Both Now and in the Future

1. Start with a Clear Vision

Before you start designing your farm shed, have a good hard think about what you’ll use it for. For some projects this is obvious – you might be buying a farm shed to fill a particular requirement – but sometimes the reasoning might be a little more vague.

The clearer your idea of what, where, how and why you’ll use your shed, the better the outcome will be. Will it be used for livestock fodder, farm storage, machinery, or a combination of these? Knowing your shed’s purpose will help you better determine the size, layout, and other design elements.

2. Local Council Rules and Regulations

One of the most complex things to get your head around is local council rules and regulations. Some builds can be straightforward but if interpreting council requirements isn’t your thing, the team at Buffalo Built is here to help.

Different sites can have specific permit requirements, zoning requirements, size limitations, and setback distances. It’s essential to consult with your local council (or leave it to us!) to ensure your shed complies with all regulations.

"Knowing your shed's purpose will help you more confidently determine the best size, layout, access options and design elements."
Ross Barker
Ross Barker
farm sheds

3. Choose the Best Designs For Farm Sheds

Selecting the right design for your barn or farm shed is the fun part, but there are all kinds of options to choose from.

  • Gable Roof vs. Skillion Roof: The choice of roof style affects aesthetics, ventilation, and interior space. Gable roofs offer a classic look and are more cost-effective, while skillion roofs are architecturally striking and provide excellent water runoff.
  • Material and Colour Selection: Steel is the premier choice due to its durability and low maintenance, but it comes in many different colours. Think about whether you’d like your shed to blend in or stand out.
  • Layout and Internal Configuration: The internal layout should align with how you intend to use your shed. Think about storage space, livestock supplies and fodder, work areas, machinery storage, and door locations. Efficient use of space can save you time and money.

4. Shed Positioning

The location of your barn or farm shed is partly about functionality and convenience, and partly down to council regulations.

Large farm sheds have some positioning requirements including the requirement to be near a water source for firefighting purposes. Smaller residential sheds might need to creatively fit within a small existing footprint next to your home. All projects are different, but here are a few tips:

  • Orientation: Orient your shed to make the best use of natural light and breezes, which may help improve ventilation and energy efficiency. For open-sided hay sheds, we recommend orienting them away from the prevailing weather.
  • Access: Ensure easy access for vehicles, machinery, livestock or whatever you’re storing in your shed. A well-placed personal access door can eliminate the hassle of opening a large roller door each time you want to get into the farm shed.
  • Drainage: Pay attention to drainage to prevent water from pooling around your shed. Proper site preparation and a well-constructed slab can help prevent water-related issues.

5. Think About Future Requirements

In addition to your current needs, think about how your farm or property might evolve in the future. Consider:

Expansion: If you foresee the farm growing or more machinery being added, it’s a good idea to design your shed with expansion in mind.

Flexibility: Create a layout that allows for different uses. This means adjustable or adaptable storage areas that can accommodate changing needs. Older people in our community might also want to consider easily accessible doors and ramps in case your mobility requirements change down the track.

Additional Space: Plan for extra space where needed. If you expect to invest in more livestock or require more hay storage, for example, make sure your shed can be modified to meet these demands.

6. Potential Cost and Time Factors

Keep an eye on factors that could affect the cost and construction timeline of your shed. Clearing and levelling the site can be time-consuming and costly. Most properties have plenty of open space to work with, but occasionally things like tree removal and extra site preparation are required.

Special extra features like insulation, ventilation systems, and complex plumbing can add to the overall cost and construction time. Additionally, delays in obtaining permits can extend the project timeline. When you’re relying on council these are largely unavoidable, so make sure you have some wiggle room in your construction timeline.

7. Quality Matters!

At Buffalo Built, we take pride in building tough, high-quality sheds and a well-built shed will stand the test of time and provide the best return on your investment. When choosing a builder of farm sheds we recommend you prioritise quality, durability, and great customer support.

Ross Barker

Ross Barker

Managing Director, Buffalo Built

Start Designing With Buffalo Built – Farm Sheds Built Tough!

Buffalo Built is here to help you design the ideal shed – one that suits your current and future needs and can stand up to the elements for many years to come.

If you have any questions feel free to call Mansfield on (03) 5713 9054 or Wangaratta on (03) 5721 2633 or send us an enquiry online.