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Distance from barn to house?

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  • Distance from barn to house?

    My DH and I have recently purchased a distressed house (needs a lot of work), but happily has 20 acres that we hope to eventually home a couple of horses. After it's all fixed up, we will move in, and would like to consider adding a barn and fencing. In terms of the barn, is there an optimal distance from the house to the barn? Too far away will make it a hike to get to the barn (especially when you have an atypical 20" snowfall), but I also presume that having it too close to the house is a problem? How far is everyone's barn from their house, and would they like their barn to be closer/farther away? At this time, the barn is just conjecture, but I can still dream!

  • #2
    Wellllllll.....are you gonna be hauling water? Cause it's maybe 50 ft to my barn, but carrying two full buckets of water it feels like miles!

    My barn is across the yard that's formed by a series of outbuildings and a corner of the house. (Picture a horse shoe shape.) It's nice in that I can dash out the door and be at the barn in seconds in pouring rain, and I'm close enough to hear (with a window open, of course) if someone goes down at night.

    UNFORTUNATELY, that also means that I can hear the stupid mule loud and clear when he's a'kickin' and a'brayin' at six in the morning when he decides that he's ready for breakfast! I'm sure he could be clear across my hundred acres and I'd still hear him though!


    • #3
      Good to ask, you can never plan enough.

      One way to measure a minimum distance is to ask you local fire department.
      That is what I did here and they told me they recommended a minimum of 100' clear all around a barn OR house, if possible, so they can get to them to fight any fires or for other emergencies.

      My house is 140' from the barn.

      For water wells, they recommend also 100' from any structure.

      These dimensions may be different where you are.

      This is for size, from the porch 56' of yard, then horse pen and to the barn, all together 140', this picture taken last year:


      After a real snow storm, still had a few drifts to walk over, but doable.


      • #4
        Our barn is about 400' from the house - I would not mind it closer - we talk about building and moving and in the new place would have the house in the barn.

        I would like it closer - especially when you go out for night check - but we had no real choice as to where it was going based on typography, an old barn that was buried on the property, water and hydro.


        • #5
          My barn is probably no more than 300 feet.

          I will say it does feel like miles when lugging hot water out there in almost 2 feet of snow!

          Santa (was) supposed to bring me a hot water heater this year...


          • #6
            At our previous place, the barn was probably 125' from the house. That was fairly ideal, except, as a previous poster noted, when toting hot water down to the barn in winter.

            At our current place, the barn is about 1000' from the house, which is a bit far. But, I either ride my bike, drive the Gator or when raining or really cold, drive my car down. I now have hot water in the barn and that is such a wonderful convenience.

            I do have an apartment in my barn and stayed in it many nights when we were building our house. That was great - walk out the door at do 10 pm hay and final check in 5 minutes. And on the weekend, get up, feed in 10 minutes and go back to bed for another hour of sleep.


            • #7
              Our barn is 1/4 mile from the house. It's pretty far, too far to walk out to check on horses quickly or easily at night, if that's a concern for you. We really like it, though, and it suits the lay of the land. It's nice for the view -- we have pastures on all sides of the house and visiting horses whenever we do yardwork.

              I worked at a barn in CO one summer where the barn was attached to the house. It was a one-story house, and you walked out one exit right into 6 or 8 stalls. As it was kept very very tidy, it was quite lovely and convenient, not smelly or buggy at all. We kept the foaling broodmares in there so foalwatch was a breeze.

              As you configure the house and barn in your mind, don't forget to plot your pastures at the same time, not as an afterthought! Having a direct gate from the pasture to (or close to) the barn area is so much nicer than having to turn out horses in a pasture 500 feet away every day.
              "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"


              • #8
                100' feet for us. It worked out perfect because we tied the barn water into the house by poking a hole in the house foundation. Actually, it was more complicated than that but we had the excavator for a month and fiance can do plumbing and wiring. I watched! He ran electric out too.

                100' is great, even in a ton of snow. The original plan for the barn was nearly 300'.... so glad we had to turn that into turnout due to ledge underneath!!!!!
                Gone gaited....


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks everyone, you've given me a lot of good advice to consider (particularily in terms of barn water.) Right now, we're planning on 2 horses, but I wonder if we should consider more stalls... Did any of you end up with more horses than you originally planned?


                  • #10
                    Our barn is about 120' from the house, with hot/cold water and electricity so definitely plan on having water. I can either walk or take the buggy. We have 4 stalls one end and a huge 'man garage' on the other end so it's about 100' long. We combined the garage and barn into one unit to lessen the buildings on the property. Our run-in is on the back of the barn so the horses walk in from the shed if we bring them in. We now have 3 horses and 4 stalls.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by figureight View Post
                      Thanks everyone, you've given me a lot of good advice to consider (particularily in terms of barn water.) Right now, we're planning on 2 horses, but I wonder if we should consider more stalls... Did any of you end up with more horses than you originally planned?

                      Yes. Built two stalls in what could potentially be a four stall barn. (One "stall" is the tack room, the other was for storage of shavings, etc.) Lived happily with two horses, until friend begged me to take her retiree cause he had no where else to go. Kicked the stuff outta the storage area, put up the final wall, and made it a stall.

                      Retiree left, loved my reclaimed storage space. Then found an adorable little mule on the AC4H website, and just had to have him. The issue was that he needed a quarentine area.....sooooo, took over another outbuilding and stuck a little pasture onto it, and he lived there until he could move into the third stall.

                      And now I fight an almost daily battle to not fill up that quarentine stall, and thank god I have a lot of tack and feed that has no where else to live, cause otherwise that space would be a fourth stall.


                      • #12
                        Depends on what your climate is. Closer in if you'll be expecting alot of snow (ours is about 200 ft. and a pain in 12 inches of snow -yeah, I'm a weather wuss )or further away if it's hot all the time.

                        Hot means flies and bugs and smells. Cold and snow means trudging.

                        Make sure your manure pile is on the OTHER side of the barn from the house, both for view issues and smell/fly issues.

                        You ask "should I build more stalls?" to THIS group of enablers????? OF COURSE! You're gonna want at least six...
                        "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James

                        Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.


                        • #13
                          Just remember that nature abhorrs a vacuum.

                          If you want two horses, four stalls, or two with expansion capabilities for two more, seems about right.
                          The extra space is good for all sorts of things.

                          I think that, once past six horses, you can manage without extra stalls, as imposed self limitation management technique.


                          • #14
                            However many stalls you build, you will accumulate that number plus one of horses. Keep in mind that having three horses at one time tends to work well, when you take one out to ride, the other two can hang out together for company so don't fret. Build the potential of at least four stalls, build something that it is easy to add another wing to if necessary, leave the option for expansion.

                            Our barn at our new farm is 600' from the house. I know that because that is how much video cable I needed to set up my foaling camera. Wireless cameras can only shoot their signal 300'. This is a bit of a walk, but no need to carry buckets, and you can drive straight out there if necessary. Our last farm had the barn much closer to the house, just over 100' away. The problem we found with it being this close was the dust in the summer from the paddocks (attached paddocks onto each stall) and the urine smell from the paddocks (sand paddocks). It is easy to pick up manure, but the urine in the paddocks is not something you can clean up. Fresh sand every few years to top up is expensive, and a hassle. The down side to the house being farther from the barn is not being able to hear cast or sick horses, which we could do at the old farm. But so far, this has not been a problem, possibly because horses here are not stall bound, it is a run in shelter barn and horses live communally in it, other than the two foaling stalls. Paddocks and fields adjoining it are not small, the one horse I have who tends to colic sometimes had enough room to not get cast when it struck.


                            • #15
                              Our new barn is 100'/120' from the house which allowed for an ample circle driveway in front of it for the truck & trailer. The one we replaced was 80' from the house- perfect walking distance but super, super tight space to get just the truck back there.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by figureight View Post
                                My DH and I have recently purchased a distressed house (needs a lot of work), but happily has 20 acres that we hope to eventually home a couple of horses. After it's all fixed up, we will move in, and would like to consider adding a barn and fencing. In terms of the barn, is there an optimal distance from the house to the barn? Too far away will make it a hike to get to the barn (especially when you have an atypical 20" snowfall), but I also presume that having it too close to the house is a problem? How far is everyone's barn from their house, and would they like their barn to be closer/farther away? At this time, the barn is just conjecture, but I can still dream!
                                This is something that always made me wonder, just why is it that barns are always located at opposite end of the property from houses? Is sort of like why is the washing machine always in the cellar? Even with a laundry chute the stuff still has to be carried back upstairs, why not have the machine upstairs?

                                Barns far away from the house are just as illogical. Build it close. Attached would be best of all. It worked good for Mr ED.

                                In the State of Maine I notice most barns are attached. Maybe some Maine people can chime in on it. I've also heard that houses with attached barns are pretty common in Europe.

                                Think about it, just why does anybody want their barn as far away as they can get it?


                                • #17
                                  We are about 1/4 mile from our barn - most of the time it's fine. Sometimes it's a pain in the rear. From the house, I can still hear horses banging in the barn if I really listen - or tell that something is up.

                                  As for how many stalls - you will always need more than you plan for. When I built my barn due to finances, I just had the shell put up - which has worked out well. It allows me to reconfigure stalls and space when I need to. The only area I can't make into a stall is the 12x12 area that houses my electrical panel (and who knows what). So, if you are putting in electricity - plan where you put it very well.

                                  In the late 90's at a different house, when I was 400 ft from my barn - not being able to hook up a camera and watch from the house was a huge hinderance - but technology makes it's easy these days to use the internet to be able to see my barn cam over the internet during foaling season.

                                  I had a place where we were about 100 ft from the barn - one thing I miss with my current set up was those late night quiet visits to the barn...



                                  • #18
                                    Our large barn is about 400' and our shed row is about 125'. The large barn has its own water, so lugging isn't an issue. Other things to consider is topography - where is it most level. Leveling to build can cost serious dollars. Also drainage, don't want the water running in and flooding the barn. Closer will also mean more flys around the house. I also like easy access from the road for vet, farrier, hay deliveries, emergency help etc.

                                    Always have enough for 3 horses and lots of storage, like others said two buddies while you ride 1.
                                    Epona Farm
                                    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                                    • #19
                                      Six hundred feet. A pleasant 2-minute walk 9+ months out of the year, especially with the pony nickering at you all the way down and the dog and kitties running out to greet you. Not so pleasant the other 2+ months--walking TO the barn is fine, but coming back up you are right in the teeth of the Lake Michigan winds, which are near-constant and VIOLENT from Christmas through the end of February.

                                      The barn is directly downwind from the house, so I haven't had even a bit of a concern about smell or flies blowing up towards the house. I think the distance is fine. I wouldn't mind it a little closer only because I like to see my horses and unless it's winter and the leaves are down, they're partially hidden from view by the foliage along the creek. Any farther away, and I'd probably grumble about the walk this time of year. I do give myself permission to drive down when the weather is truly wretched but mostly I count it as part of my daily walking. In the nicer months, especially as the sun is coming up/going down, the walk to/from the barn is something to be relished, in fact. One of the perks.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        My barn is 30 strides from the house. I know this, because in the howling wind and snow that we get here, I can barely open my eyes. I have 5 mats outside each of the doors, front and back, and can feel them when I put my foot down even if I can't see.

                                        My barns have always been within 100 or so feet of the house. Sometimes it feels too far, but never too close.

                                        My dream would have my barn connected to my house, as they do at many of the old farms here and in NE. Last week it was so bad, that I kept thinking of how I could bring Harry in the house!