How to Design a Dutch Barn Shed


Dutch barn sheds are mini versions of old, larger traditional barns with a unique style of roofing containing two-angled slopes. Look at a red stop sign and visually cut it horizontally across. Now you can see the gambrel roof style that covers these sheds. With a Dutch shed, depending on the size you need, you can easily add a loft to fully utilize the extra space these roofs allow you, as opposed to the regular sloped roof. If you are planning to design and build a Dutch barn shed, make sure your design passes local engineering and permit requirements.

  • Design your shed based on what you plan to store inside it. If in the city, you may only be allowed to build a certain size so check all local requirements before even starting a design. Measure each item, such as a riding lawnmower, automobiles, boat, and anything else that might be stored inside. Use a rectangle shape with rounded off measures to represent each item and see how these will fit in the proposed space. Also check the height of any telephone poles and wires in the area where you plan to build the shed.

  • Purchase a basic Dutch barn shed building plan from a reputable dealer and ask if the dealer will work with you on your finished design to make sure it is structurally sound. You can find a plan in several different sizes, but you may need to redesign aspects of the design to fit your specific needs. If you are not a professional designer, make sure your finished design works, particularly with this type of gambrel roof's very specific structural support.

  • Plan your foundation first, based on shed size and whether you want a permanent cement foundation or a wooden skid foundation that allows you to move the shed somewhere else. Check whether your taxes will change if you have a permanent based structure or a "temporary" structure added to your property's value. Your shed design does not carry this information, so you'll need to research the tools and materials required for this step. Allow for any electrical and plumbing installations as you design the foundation.

  • Design the inside of your barn or shed with specific areas laid out for each item you plan to store. Plan easy access stalls to drive items in and out of the stalls if storing riding lawnmowers, an automobile or a boat. Design other areas for storage of items used seasonally or design a layout for a workshop which will require plenty of electrical outlets and lighting fixtures, especially if you plan to install an A/C window unit and heating arrangement. Also determine where you need to have a work sink and subsequent plumbing fixtures. If your building is high enough for a loft, design placements for hanging electrical fixtures both below and above.

  • Finalize your construction layout design with your professional consultant and move forward with adding in a loft structure or just adding on your gambrel roof structure. Your loft addition is relatively standard, but you'll need to know the precise structural supports for the roof from this point on. If you've never built one of these structures before, hire a professional contractor to finalize the plans and help you list all the materials, plan the budget and build the structure, especially if it is a larger size. Without proper help and attention to detail, the larger the structure, the larger and more expensive the mistakes can get.

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