The Transformation of a Pole Barn – Part 1

We were fortunate when we moved to our homestead, that there were already some usable structures on the place.  Unfortunately, what we’ve found over the years is they were built for purposes different than ours, and therefore don’t work as well as we’d like.  Case in point: the pole barn.  I personally don’t care for pole barns.  Sure they provide a roof, but since rain can come from whatever direction the wind is blowing, unless things are placed in the center, they are liable to get wet anyway.  Meanwhile, the sun shines in and in the case of our pole barn, oriented north-south, sun shines from the east until noon and from the west thereafter.  At least the sun damage is equally distributed over anything stored there!

Until now the sheep and goats have spent winters under an old horse shelter, with hay walls to provided additional wind protection.  However that shelter lies at the low side of our property and spring rains flooded it multiple times.  What started as a think tank to remedy the flooding, ended up as a far bigger project – closing in the pole barn on the high side of the property, to create a “real” barn.

After weeks of drawing up one sketch after another, we settled on a design we felt would work best, and finally the renovation was underway.  The first step was to frame out the existing poles to support the tin.  This included adding in four new poles to span the wider openings.


Next was to add tin to the new framework.  We elected to make the east wall solid and in future years hay will be stored along that back wall.

The west side center sections will remain open, with gates across them to keep animals out.  This will allow for easy access and lots of light.


We also added a small roller door in the north side.  This can be rolled up to let in light and create air flow.


Due to the slope of the ground where the pole barn was located, it was difficult to have the tin meet the ground in a continuous line, so instead the metal was stair-stepped, and we filled the base with screenings to block off openings.


To keep this post from getting too long, we’ve divided this post in part 1 – the external – and part 2 – internal.

To be continued….