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Using Barns and Sheds for Your Outdoor Storage Needs

Helping a friend build his new barn shed - yes it is his shed!

Outdoor storage buildings are often a must for anyone that works, plays, or spends anytime outdoors. There are two main kinds of outdoor storage buildings, barns and sheds.

Both are similar structures with relatively similar purposes, and many small barns can resemble large sheds and large sheds can resemble small barns, there are a few basic differences between the two structures.

The picture above is my friends barn that we built to store all of his stuff. It even has a second story and he's run power to it as well.

Information on Barns

Traditionally, barns have been used to store grain, livestock, and farm equipment. Thus, barns have traditionally been quite large to accommodate these uses. Barns might also incorporate a living area or a workshop as well.

There are many styles of barns:

  • Common barns include the traditional Dutch barn, which is characterized by a long gabled roof and extensive interior framework for support.
  • Another common barn is the prairie, or Western, style barn. This is the classic style barn that is usually two-storied with a tall, peaked roof, and with the second story used a hayloft.
  • Crib barns are another type that gets their name because it is composed of a number of smaller cribs used to store grain or livestock.
  • Round barns are another common type that are mainly used to store grain.
  • In the American Southwest, adobe barns are often seen because adobe is a common building material.

Barns come in a variety of materials. Usually, the climate and weather of the region will determine the barn’s construction. In rainy climates, you will often see metal or steel barns, because metal will better withstand the damp conditions. In areas where lumber is prevalent, wooden barns will be used because the wood is readily available.

Whereas in areas like the Southwest, where water and trees are scarce, you will often see traditional barns made of adobe or minimal amounts of lumber. There are many types and styles of barns. Barn styles have adapted to the area in which they are built, and are constructed based on the constraints of the landscape and climate as well as the intended use. In hilly country, for example, you might see a bank barn, which is a style of barn built into a hill.

Information on Sheds

Similarly, sheds are used for a variety of purposes and come in many styles. Gable is the classic shed style. A hipped roof has four sides like a pyramid. And there is the classic barn style that is pictured below.

Red barn style shed that is used to house video games at an RV site near Radium Hotsprings

Shed construction depends on use but is also influenced by the weather and climate. Sheds are generally a single-story structure used for storage, hobbies, or a workshop. Sheds are usually smaller in size, which often works in a neighborhood or smaller outdoor area.

However, many agricultural sheds can be larger and sometimes resemble a barn. For domestic purposes or home use, sheds usually are smaller and tend to be used for storage of equipment not suitable for inside your home – like chemicals, pesticides, lawn equipment, or recreational toys and vehicles.

Other shed styles include Amish sheds, garden sheds, and boat sheds. Sheds can also be dressed up to match the exterior design of the home. Flower boxes, attached porches, and facades can be added to sheds to blend with the overall property design.

You can build sheds and barns on your own, using storage shed plans. You will also find sheds and barns are available in kits. Usually, the shed tends to be smaller and is therefore more manageable for the do-it-yourselfer – particularly if you are building it on your own.

Another option is to have a professional crew install your shed or barn kit. Regardless, both sheds and barns are functional and come in a variety of styles – depending on what best meets your needs.

For more information on building a shed or barn please read these articles

How Big Of An Outdoor Storage Shed Do You Need?

Do you need plans to build your perfect wood shed?


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