top of page

How To Layout a Barndominium

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Welcome back to the MAD County Build Series! Today, we're diving into one of the most crucial steps of building a house: laying out your home's foundation. This phase is where your dream starts taking shape, and it's an exciting part of the journey. Let's walk through how I tackled this essential task.

Mr post frame getting ready to line up the home

I kicked things off by gathering some scrap two-by-fours to create stakes. Having a rough idea of where I wanted things to go, especially the front of the house, was a significant advantage. Since the front door would serve as our primary entry point, I drove stakes into the ground and used some string to outline a rectangle. This simple frame allowed me to visualize the house's layout.

man talking about the grounds

Establishing the Front: The first wall I prepared would serve as the reference point for all other measurements. I positioned two stakes and a 2x4 a few feet beyond the corners at the front of the garage. Then, I screwed in a 2x4 and ensured it was level across the stake at the left front corner of my garage. This served as my starting point, allowing me room to adjust the string line left to right as needed.

man marking a tape measurer to double check measurments

Ensuring Precision: With the initial string line in place, I could now gauge what the front of the garage would look like. I replicated this process for the depth of the garage, aiming for approximately 40 feet. This would provide ample room for a workspace, an office, a canning kitchen, and utility storage. Going a couple of feet over what I needed allowed for flexibility during the build.

Squaring Up the Structure: Now, knowing where I wanted the front of my garage to be, I measured 40 feet over and adjusted a screw to ensure this end of the line was precisely 40 feet. This process was repeated on the other end, ensuring that the lines running parallel on the front and back of the garage were consistently 40 feet apart.

Next, I doubled-checked everything to ensure nothing had shifted during the process.

Aligning the Boards: Putting up the boards by yourself can be more challenging than expected. While having someone to assist with holding a tape measure and other tasks can simplify the process, you can still accomplish it solo. In my case, I didn't have any help, so here's how you can do it yourself.

I placed a 2x4 with a screw where the front outside corner of the garage would be, using it as the reference point for measurements across the front. Knowing that I wanted it to be 56 feet long, I marked this distance on my string line. To ensure it was squared, I repeated this mark on the opposite side because symmetry is key.

phone with the app that helps calculating measurements

For precise angles, I used an app knowing that it’s been 20 years since I was in high school. You can also apply the Pythagorean theorem (A squared + B squared = C squared) to calculate the diagonal measurements.

Checking and Rechecking: Once I had my angle measurements and had marked off the diagonals, I could measure the distance between the front corners of the garage. This method ensures that your structure is perfectly square.

After all this, I verified every measurement again to guarantee accuracy and precision.

And that's the art of laying out a building or a house! I understand that things can get confusing or challenging along the way, but remember, we're all on this journey together.

If you have any questions or need further clarification, don't hesitate to comment. I'm here to assist, and if there are recurring questions, I'll consider creating more in-depth posts.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure of laying out a barndominium, and stay tuned for more insights in the MAD County Build Series!


Mr Post Frame

Mr and Mrs Post Frame

Patreon Group:

Interested in tackling your build on your own? If you want to explore the possibility of being your GC or self-building, our Patreon membership is for you! It's a community of like-minded people offering support, discounts, Q/A, and more.

bottom of page