Mini Farm Planning (with pic/map!)

Hello! Long time no COTH! Quite different than how I remember it.

I just bought a piece of property big enough for the two equids but way closer to civilization than where we were previously. I’ve got a pretty good idea of where my fence lines will be, but need help deciding where to place a few things:

  • I need a place for a 2-bay compost/manure area (maybe 10’ wide by 5’ deep) that I can access with a tractor, but isn’t super visible from the top section of my driveway or my master bedroom window (indicated with yellow square).

  • I need to figure out where to put a permanent shed in the dry lot (I was going to place it against the hay shed, but someone pointed out it might block my pretty little view)

  • I need to place an exit/tractor gate to get into the dry lot (compact tractor; nothing massive)

  • I need security camera recommendations as well as location ideas. Or a link to a relevant thread as I have not figured out how to navigate new COTH. Property has roads on 3 of 4 sides so I’d like to have visibility at night time for piece of mind.

Relevant Info:

  • I’m building this in phases since I’m on a tight deadline to move and lumber is pricey right now. Paddock 1 will be built first, then during phase two I’ll extend the paddock to include the shaded area and add the dry lot and other 2 paddocks

  • Dry lot is about 25’ by 80’. Gate to Paddock 1 is 16’ and other gates are 12’ (gates are indicated in cyan).

  • House sits highest, with land sloping away

  • White shed next to hay shed is no longer in existence

I think that’s all of the relevant info, but let me know if I can clarify anything. If you have any other suggestions, I’m all ears!

Click to enlarge:

Remember to also consider prevailing winds and rain/snow when placing any structures and the direction they open to and room to get around them when is super muddy and slick or snow drifts.

Consider access for fire or other in emergencies.
We had our local fire department send someone before putting the new structures in to see what concerns he may add to the design.
Yours may also have someone that can help there.

Congratulations, getting a new place figured out is so much fun, enjoy the process.

Regarding the permanent shed in the dry lot: is that a run-in shed for the horses? If so, I think the best place is where you proposed it, right next to the hay. It looks like your mountain view from the bedroom is straight ahead to the north (assuming north is at the top). That would place the shed off to the right where you could see it but I don’t think it would obstruct your view.

Don’t forget that your view includes a dry lot, which in my opinion is not the prettiest thing to look at. On the other hand, how nice to be able to look out your window and see what the horses are doing.

Put some thought into the design of your run-in shed. Make it an asset rather than an eyesore so that it adds to the charm of your mountain view. One idea is to have it match the house in color and style.

Another idea is to use the existing hay shed for your run-in and build a new structure to store hay.

With regard to security cameras: I’ve been happy with my Arlos attached to solar panels. They’re permanently installed, no need to pull them down to charge since they have the panel. I think all of the big companies–Ring, Waze, etc–have something similar.

I have a few more than I DO pull down to charge, and those are also nice, because if I want to keep an eye on a horse in the barn overnight, I can just move the camera to a stall. Very nice to have that flexibility.

One other thought I had is to draw in the alleys/roads you will need on the property. I was trying to figure out where to put the compost and how to get a tractor around the hay barn to your dry lot without crossing what appears to be your house’s lawn. I assume you won’t want to do that and that you will want to drive around the east side of the hay barn to access paddock #1 and your dry lot (assuming that is part of your property). Once you figure out where you want to drive the tractor it might become clearer where to place the compost.

Can you partially fence off the compost area as an attractive screen where you need it to hide the pit? I’m thinking a combination of fencing and hedge.

What part of the country are you in? Will snow plowing be an issue? In areas with long snowy winters it’s a good idea to plan where you will dump and store snow. Even if you don’t need a dump site, at least make aisles and new driveways wide enough for a snow berm.

Another thing which is my pet peeve in cold climates is roofs designed so that the drip line falls across an entry way (or worse – stairway). Make sure the roof on your run-in shed does not drip along the side where the horses will enter or over any man doors. It will create a slippery frozen ridge along that drip line which can be dangerous to cross, not to mention icicles on the eaves. This is more of an issue with a warm space underneath which heats the roof and melts the snow on the roof, but keep it in mind.

Is exclusive use of horses out on trails?? You don’t need a riding, exercise space?

What’s the space on far right? Irrigated hay?

What’s the hatched section toward the road?

Sighting stuff from an overhead is so hard, but how about putting the manure bin behind the hay shed? What would be the north side in this pic (no idea if up is north IRL!) That should hide it from the house and most of the drive.

Prevailing winds/weather will really impact where your shed goes in the dry lot–definitely consider which way it should open first, and then where it needs to go to achieve that second.

Is that a barn and separate driveway in #3? Can you use the barn as a shelter and make the dry lot along the bottom of #2 or to the right of #3 with one of those areas being the first stage of fencing?

No idea where you are but winter is coming and sometimes it’s best to live through a couple seasons before dumping money into in permanent structures. I’d be inclined to focus on area #2 and create a manure pile wherever is convenient for now, then build around the house next year when you’ve had a chance to walk/drive the property and get feed deliveries.

Very good points! I’ve got someone from the fire department coming out tomorrow. Thankfully weather is pretty mild here, but will definitely take these things into consideration. Thanks, @Bluey!

Yes, the permanent shed will be a run-in (I’ll be using a ShelterLogic shed until then). I think I agree that against the hay shed may be my best option. I do like the idea of making it match the house, I think that will help the view from the front of the house/driveway better.

I plan to make the dry lot area as “pretty” as possible, maybe some horse-safe shrubbery along the fence line, but having them outside my bedroom window is comforting since I’m not surrounded by family land anymore.

And unfortunately, the hay shed will have to stay the hay shed as it’s made from cinderblocks, which is not a material I’m comfortable altering to make the doorway tall/wide enough to be safe.

Thanks for all of your ideas, @PeteyPie!

Ooh I’ll definitely check those out! I’m all about low-maintenance stuff. Thanks, @Simkie!

Also a good point about pathways, @PeteyPie ; I think that will help significantly. I do think fencing the compost bin is going to happen, especially if I have it more out in the open!

No snow here! I’m in upstate SC so we just get a ton of rain in the winter. You point about the drip line is something that also bothers me, so I’ve made a note to remind me!

@CrazyGuineaPigLady That’s actually a mobile home that used to be on the property and the driveway is almost completely invisible now. It will definitely be spring or summer before I build anything, so hopefully by then I’ll have a good feeling about where I want things. Thank you!

@pony_grandma No riding space needed, lighted arena is a short hack (or trailer ride) away. And I think you might be seeing the mobile home that used to be on the property?

@Simkie the hatched section is the area I hope to have fenced in after I’ve moved in, but to fence that in now, I’d have to take the chainlink fence located to the right of the hay shed down (and that’s too much for me take on right now in addition to doing work to make the house livable).

It’s oddly shaped because of a right of way AT&T I believe, but I’m going to look into having it moved (may not be an option)

I think behind the hay shed might work for the manure bin, that way I don’t ever have to see it! And excellent point about shed orientation. I’ll make sure to keep that in mind!