What Are the Different Types of Backyard Barns?

Judith Smith Sullivan

There are several types of backyard barns, sometimes called utility sheds or out buildings. The type usually depends on the style, materials, and purpose of storage. For instance, the typical backyard barn is made of wood, but there are also plastic and steel buildings. Backyard barns vary in size from less than 100 square feet (9.3 square meters) to several hundred square feet, including more than one floor.

Backyard barns can sometimes be connected to heat and electricity.
Backyard barns can sometimes be connected to heat and electricity.

The typical backyard barn is made of wood or steel and has a standard-sized door. Only very small sheds are made of rubber or plastic. The barn can be used to store outdoor equipment, such as lawnmowers, trimmers, gardening tools, and other items. It is not climate controlled, so items stored are subject to changes in humidity and heat. These small backyard barns are usually water tight, however, and keep precipitation from damaging the shed's contents.

Larger backyard barns can also be made of steel or wood. Steel offers the advantage of durability and less maintenance. Wood usually needs to be repainted from time to time and is prone to pests, such as termites and carpenter bees. Many people prefer the look of wood to steel, since wood is a traditional material in barn design.

The largest backyard barns often have one or more garage door bays. These buildings can be used for storing vehicles or farm animals. The flooring is typically bare dirt that is covered with hay or straw if the backyard barn is used primarily for housing animals. In barns where vehicles or other items prone to damage from the elements stored, the floor is often concrete.

Backyard barns can be connected to electricity and plumbing, and those which are used as workshops often have a small washroom and electrical outlets. They may also be climate controlled. In some cases, animals barns are also wired for electricity in order to provide heat for the animals during the winter.

A small barn can be built by someone with modest building experience. Many companies even offer backyard barn kits that include all the materials and instructions needed to set up the building. More complicated structures often require an experienced contractor. In the United States, building a backyard barn can also require a building permit.

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