top of page

Learning Lab -  Pg1

Learning Lab -  Pg1

Set-Up From Scratch:

Set-Up From Scratch:

8 Acre Horse Property

8 Acre Horse Property


Some years ago we were in the fortunate position of setting up 8 acres as a horse property from scratch.  We only ever intended having 2 horses on site at any time safety, aesthetics and function were key set-up and design considerations. This was a small horse property, not a commercial operation, and not intended for stallions, broodmares or very young horses. While there’s plenty of articles on large acreage set-ups with unlimited budgets, there’s not a lot of information available on setting up this style of property. Some small innovations that didn’t cost a lot have made a big difference to the useability of the horse facilities, sweating the details at the start sure makes a difference.

We designed the stables (2 of) as an integrated unit in one large Australian style shed with the horse function and the ‘other’ functions separated by a wall.  One side comprised an enclosed workshop with a large open area to garage 2 cars, tractor, mower and equipment store and plenty of room for other ‘stuff’ with plenty of room for ‘messy hay’ if required. The 2 stables wash/tie up area and separate tack room and feed room took up the other side, with the major; portion of the shed. Even though the shed looks symmetrical from the outside, the division of purposes is not, of course the horses have more room! We liked the integrated single shed as so many properties we viewed looked like the shed’s had ‘bred’.

Some things worked very well and we were pleased with the innovations, other things we could have improved on.  Here I’ll share some of the elements that have worked well for us and what we learned along the way.


‘THE SHED’ STABLE ENTRY VIEW big sliding doors clad in ‘ship lapp’ mahogany. Glvanised door frame with allocation to lock doors with a padlock.  Why mahogany? Because it’s a light weather resistant wood that shouldn’t stress the slider mechanism too much. Looks super, the downside is maintenance. The door frame was designed by us and the timber and fitting sourced separately to the shed shell.


Both stables are 2 way – entry from inside and external access to single yard available. The external view keeps horses calm and happy. When the ‘old boy’ foundered the sand-yard was a godsend. Note the giant pole sunk into the sand yard, this is an ‘aid’ to educate horses that don’t tie up. The 'person' door at the far end provides external access from the feed room ( also has internal door)

The yard has electric fencing that is able to be isolated (off) as required. The gates are high hung ‘horse gates. We also built-in human access points (the poles next to the gates, closed with chains, permit human access without having to use the gates. The yard is sloped towards a stone lined drain with drainage pits at both ends. You can never have too much drainage! 

Having the stable lining ‘kick panels ‘half height helped our budget but wouldn’t be practical if  the stables housed stallions or young horses. The panels are bitumen painted ‘form ply’. Marine ply would have been preferable but costly. The stable floors are concreted and then lined with rubber matting, Long term this is a safer more economical option. Do your research on mats!


This is the ‘OTHER SIDE ‘view. The wooden sliding doors are for aesthetics and allow for a higher doorway than roller doors (float). The shed has 2 roller doors either side, one is an electric one. All the floor has been concreted and the shed has plenty of power-points and good lighting. Note that the Colorbond runs horizontally on this side to match the profile of the roller doors.   Don’t forget to consider a tank off the shed roof. The guttering on our shed has gutter guard.


External flood lights and taps contribute to safety and useability. The shed tank has a fire fighters connection option

Driveways are expensive but it’s cheaper to do them when all the heavy machinery is there. Their placement, drainage and topping must be factored into your budget. Don’t skimp on the width, parking areas, turning circle and access points. Fire trucks etc. need access, if you don’t plan for this you will be sorry.


Simple things like the placement of gardens and the distance between tree plantings should be considered. If you can’t get the mower/ slasher between tree you will have to do the mowing by hand! Not fun. Remember clearance around walls/ windows so you have access. 


This is the wash/ tie up area ( also shows 1 stable entry and tack room door)  with rubber matting. The walls here are double height bitumen coated form ply and we installed a rubber ‘skirt’ at the bottom, extending onto the rubber, matting. This prevents water seeping into places where it shouldn’t. The wash has a hot water unit located in the mezzanine area of the abutting workshop space.  T

The wash drainage was considered in the initial concreting, an internal pit makes it easy to clean out any ‘hairy’ blockages, and other external pits ensure no back-up smelly floods.  I re-iterate the importance of planning drainage so that single trenches can accommodate several pipes.


We placed the ‘sky lights’ in the walls instead of the roof. This was because experience told us that roof sky lights in summer create horrendously hot conditions inside. The wall sky lights work well. Here you can also see a ‘Bunnings’ metal patio box. These are rodent proof and fantastic for rugs, but plan the floorspace for these in your tack room.


The next photos show the large gate that can be used to enclose the tie-up area/wash safely. In summer, when the wooden top doors are open this provides cooling ventilation, and safety for escapologists. The gate has a wheel on the un-hinged bottom corner for stability, strength and ease of closure. The gate also doubles as a handy rug and drying rack, a use I hadn’t considered when I designed it.

s gate.png
s gate2.png
bottom of page