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Grouping and Layout of Farm buildings in Countryside.

Updated on August 23, 2010

This hub will take account of: circulation of vehicles, men and livestock; accessibility of buildings housing related operations; relationship to existing buildings and services; and general plan for the future of the farmstead.

It can also have regard to picture of buildings make in the countryside and use of natural features like shelter belts and hedges to enhance the effect.

Other layout factors involve the comfort of workers and livestock; aspect for maximum protection and daylight, buildings being preferably sited on hillsides or gentle slopes to obtain dry sites and ease of drainage, and where effluents which might be offensive can be stored or treated well away from houses; the provision of natural or artificial shelter, using existing tree formations or planting new ones. Buildings should be arranged compactly with a minimum of waste between them.

Farm layout and grouping
Farm layout and grouping

There is no need for a multiplicity of materials, building shapes, roof pitches , window sizes, etc., in one group. Nor for haphazard and unrelated additions, if sufficient attention is given to initial planning and use of adaptable structures. Where factory-made buildings are used in any quantity they should have family likeness. Considerable variation in plan, shape, complication in layout and changes of height can be accepted if the building materials used are consistent particularly the roofing material.

Attention should also be given to the design and disposition of ancillary components such as fences, walls, gates, service-roads, etc. A consistent design policy e.g. the use of a standard fence of walling element, can have a unifying effect to the group as whole.

A typical example of growth of farmstead by the covering of part of the yard and the addition of large new buildings and extensive paves areas. The blending of new buildings with the old would have much improved by the use of a darker color for them, especially the roofs.

The tidiness of farm buildings and their surroundings is a simple measure of good organization. The layout and buildings should be developed to simplify maintenance; fences and paved areas should be designed to avoid corners difficult to cleanse where clutter and scrap may accumulate. Keeping the farm clean, tidy and handsome should be a simple and continuous process. The clearing away of the remains of outworn buildings and equipment is specially important.

In addition to providing shelter, trees and hedges can play an important role in linking buildings with one another and with the landscape as whole. Choice of species in planting should be related to the area; trees already flourishing in the district will grow better, look better. In rural areas group planting of trees is preferable to single rows in softening the outline of new farm buildings.

The surroundings to farm buildings are important

These illustrate the immediate surroundings of the farm buildings and the relationship between the new and old. The illustrations are of farms where attention to the area between and around buildings not necessarily of distinction in themselves, gives a pleasant appearance. Sufficiently extensive paved areas, careful and consistent design of gates, fences etc., all contribute to this result. The retention of existing trees and a new planting is also important. Tidiness is essential to good looks and is visible evidence of good organization.

This photograph shows how a careful choice of roof shapes and facing materials to harmonize with existing buildings produces a pleasing group. The roof slopes and broken silhouettes of the earlier buildings are repeated in the new structures. The vertical timber boarding with its pleasant contrast to asbestos cement gables, has rapidly weathered to a color sympathetic to that on the older buildings at the rear.

The modern barn, differing in materials from those of 15th century black and white farmhouse, thatches barn and asbestos sheeting house makes a positive contribution to the group, although the combination would have been further improved by use of darker colored materials.

Here the brick and tile of old combine well with the wood cladding on the framing of newer buildings.

This is a beautiful example of steel farm building also known as pole barns which provide more facilities compared to old fashioned farms. Since this farmhouse is made of steel, it can hold up against natural calamities and is far more stronger than old fashioned farms.

The buildings in the landscape

Unlike many other industries, agriculture must put its buildings near its raw material -- the land. One exception is the intensive livestock building depending only on access to services and supplies.

The completely new units has more flexibility in choice of a site but most farmers putting up new buildings are limited by the layout of the existing farmstead. Communications, services, exposure, the lie of the land and plans for the future all influence location. The siting of a new building should also have an eye to quality of the landscape -- trees, and contours, the traditional location of farm buildings in the district and the nature of neighboring buildings. These who are fortunate not to be limited in their choice of site have special responsibility to chose well.

One of the most noticeable disturbance into rural landscape can be tower silos. Their siting mist of necessity be related to function and cost.

However, they need not damage the appearance of the countryside if the following four points are generally adhered to.

  • Firstly, the siting should be considered with great care and particular attention paid to avoiding the skyline and not competing with other vertical features in the landscape, and to making used of existing trees for screening.
  • Secondly, their colors should be dark or neutral, with lighter ones used when it is unavoidable to go near skylines’, the darker ones in hollows and shady areas.
  • Thirdly, since advertising is out of place in countryside and on farms, any altering should be unobtrusive and if used at all should not appear more than once on any building. It should be uniform in style and not so large as to be legible more than fifty meters away.
  • Fourthly, new trees should also be planted where it is important to cut off the view of the farm group as seen from adjoining highways, particularly in the open country.

Problems  of change in scale arise from mechanized farming being imposed on man-made landscape. The aim should be to make this transition without unnecessary scars.

Summing up, the following basic principles have common application to the siting and design of new buildings.

  1. The appearance of buildings should be visualized from all viewpoints.
  2. In our climate, moist and often dull, silhouette is a basic consideration. Interruptions to landscape flow or skyline should be avoided.
  3. An overall simple balance of shapes and materials, giving a clean straight-forward effect at the casual glance, should be sought.
  4. The building materials used should blend together and should either be of a suitable inherent color from the outset or should weather in a reasonable period to a color in sympathy with the landscape.
  5. The scale of new buildings should be related as far as is possible to the surrounding countryside and structures.
  6. Where factory made buildings are used in any quantity they should have family likeness.

Illustration of more distant view of typical farm groups mostly taken from public highways or air view. The groups of buildings fit well into the pattern of trees and hedges. The choice and siting of new buildings should be considered from all view points bearing in mind the landscape features such as trees and contours.

In all these photographs trees play an important role in linking the buildings to the landscape.

The new buildings are acceptable components of the group of buildings of varying ages.

The new buildings can reflect the scale and horizontal lines of the older buildings, although again they would have blended in better if of a darker tone.


  • In any country we cannot afford to behave without consideration for others. The passerby is unaware of the farm boundaries and sees the countryside as a whole. Some farm buildings are unnecessarily injurious to amenity of both by their design and siting. Sources of advice available to the farmer and ways in which he is affected by planning control and grants available towards extra ‘amenity’ costs can be found.
  • In most cases a satisfactory result depends not on spending more money, but on making wise choices between alternatives: the cumulative effect of the choices made by the farmer and his advisers will determine the appearance of much of the countryside for generations to come.
  • A building programme can prevent wasteful and untidy alterations and ensure that immediate work helps instead of hinders future changes. The programme cannot be rigid. Buildings must meet immediate functional requirements and be adaptable to future demands.

  • The appearance of the farm should be considered as whole. The design and tidiness of the area about the buildings and layout of roads, overhead wires, etc., in the vicinity all contribute to create a pleasing landscape.
  • It is a basic requirement that the buildings should meet the technical needs of the industry in terms of cost and performance; there is also a social responsibility on part of the farmer and manufacturer to accept appearance as an essential factor of design.
  • Appearance and performance go hand-in-hand from the beginning. Good looks cannot be added at some stage after initial design and layout. Good design is not an expensive luxury but can be achieved with no additional cost. Basic requirements common to demands of good farming and amenity are clean, simple and tidy buildings.
  • The technological revolution has gained speed and it thus becomes increasingly urgent that the changes in farm buildings will inevitably result should be so designed and organized that they blend into and do not disfigure the countryside.


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    • LetitiaFT profile image


      8 years ago from Paris via California

      This is really interesting. I didn't have time to finish it, but I will come back to it. Wow. Great work.

    • leonardo puno profile image

      leonardo puno 

      8 years ago from Davao City, Philippines

      Perfect, very impressive material!!

    • Peter Owen profile image

      Peter Owen 

      9 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

      What an interesting subject. If I ever buy a farm I'll read this again.


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