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4 Barn Design Choices That Will Save You Time

4 Barn Design Choices That Will Save You Time

Originally posted on the American Stalls Blog

There are so many emotions that go into building a new barn or renovating an existing barn. After all, we love our horses and often dream of that perfect barn. That is why it is so important to get it right the first time.

When planning your dream, it is easy to prioritize how your barn will look – without giving much thought to the function. While aesthetics play a key role, it is equally important to focus on functionality. A focus on form, function, and design will ensure that your barn works for you as opposed to against you. Lastly, a focus on functionality will ensure that you save time, energy, and finances.

Before you start planning your barn, we encourage you to think about the following choices:

1 – Larger Barn Aisles

Narrow barn aisles are commonly found in older barns built before the 1990’s. When building your new barn, we encourage our clients to build aisles that are a minimum 10′ wide. Ideally, we would recommend a 12′ to 16′ wide barn aisle in a perfect world.


16′ aisle shown in the above polo horse barn

We recommend this because a wide barn aisle will ultimately pay off in multiple ways. The first reason involves your horses’ safety. A wider aisle allows for two horses (or humans) to safely pass each other. This is not only safer, but also saves you valuable minutes in day-to-day barn movement. This reason is even more true for busier and larger facilities such as boarding barns. Lastly, a larger aisle will allow you to drive vehicles through the aisle. For example, tractors and gators can be brought into the barn to clean and feed in a more efficient way.

2 – Add Windows & Dutch Doors

Sunlight and fresh air do wonders for a barn regardless of your barn’s location. We have routinely visited facilities in hot climates that don’t feel hot due to their barn’s overall design. Although exterior stall door and windows are costly, they are ultimately invaluable to your barn’s success.


Shutter barn windows shown left. Dutch doors shown right.

We recommend to always add windows or Dutch Doors to the back of horse stalls. This addition will promote airflow and natural light into your barn. Lastly, a Dutch Door (or exterior sliding door) also functions as a safety mechanism in the event of an emergency.

3 – Run-In Stalls & Turnout Spaces

Run-in stalls and turnout spaces are positioned directly behind an interior horse stall. A Dutch Door (or sliding paddock door) usually stands between the interior of horse stall and the run-in (exterior) horse stall.

This choice can help provide your horses with the options to stay indoors in their horse stalls or go outside to get fresh air. This combination of a run-in stall and Dutch Door also will help cut down on the amount of time it takes to turn your horses in and out each day. Why is this the case? It is because turn out is simply done by opening up exterior Dutch Doors each day as opposed to haltering your horses, leading them out, and so forth.

4 – Developing a Master Plan for Your Farm & Barn

This choice is often costly and overlooked, but it can often be a game changer in your barn’s long term success. We strongly recommend to work with an architecture firm or reputable builder who can help you develop a master plan.


A reputable firm will help you consider many elements that will affect your barn’s longevity. For example, we recommend to consider the topography and land surrounding your barn. Is the land level? What is the soil like beneath the barn? Does the surrounding landscape lead water flow to the barn or away from the barn? Other things to consider is the direction of the wind and sunlight in your barn’s location. These are just some of the few things that a reputable architecture or builder will consider when developing a masterplan.

Do you have any questions or need pointers for your new barn or renovation project? Feel free to contact us today at (855) 957-8255 or complete our inquiry form. Our American Stalls team is here to be a resource to help you build a barn that is elegant, safe, and built to last.

Building a new barn is can be an extremely daunting task, but luckily American Stalls is here to help! With over 15 years experience in the Equine Industry and ore than 28 years experience in the Steel Industry, American Stalls is more than knowledgable on all things barn-related. Learn more about their building service and stable equipment on Equivont.