How to Plan Your New Equestrian Ranch

This is the first blog post in our series detailing the planning, design and building of equestrian facilities. Stay tuned for more posts in the series and find more information about our equestrian services here.

Equestrian Site

The whole site design revolves around the accessibility for not only human use but for horses as well. From the material choices to site plantings, every aspect of equestrian design takes into account our four legged friends. 

Imaging, designing and building the ranch of your dreams could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, making it vital to partner with the right architecture firm to select your site with very special residents in mind – the horses! We’ve covered the importance of bringing in an architecture partner right from the start to assist in site planning for custom homes and it’s equally as important in the design of any equestrian facility.


The space around the buildings on site needs to be capable of hosting heavy equipment for every day use while still looking pristine. Our team picks materials for site design that are not only aesthetically pleasing but can withstand the test of time.

First and foremost, the size and scale of these types of projects create a special sort of puzzle that architects can help solve. There’s a complexity to where large buildings can be located to accommodate standard equestrian operations. For example, large trucks and trailers need minimal inclines and shallow driveway grades to access the various barn and storage facilities on site. The layout needs to be functional to ensure operations can run smoothly. The design typically centers around the barn and indoor and outdoor training arenas to optimize the way the ranch works. From there, food and bedding storage and composting facilities round out the overall site.


For the site of this project, the material application was important. Selecting colors and forms that worked with the landscape and blended in were key. Notice how the whole pallet melts together and does not distract from the primary importance of everyday use. 

During the site planning phase we’ll share sketches, renderings and 3-D models of each facility that bring your dreams to life. We take our responsibility seriously and implement a solution-oriented approach to envisioning and planning your ranch, such as using materials that are low maintenance yet visually striking. The entire process is geared toward your goals – whatever they may be.


The human aspect of living and working ranches is forefront in our design as well. Creating a cozy space away from heavy machinery and the day to day action gives a sense of home. A private patio and garage allows for all workers to relax freely and have easy access to their steeds whether they be in the barn or the garage.

Our team takes pride in merging beautiful design with the utmost functionality and attention to detail. For example, water features are a necessary component of taking care of animals, but they can also serve as an eye-catching design element that adds ambiance to an equestrian complex. Additionally, we’ll find native vegetation that can provide shade and insulation, plus it won’t cause any harm to animals if ingested. We coordinate all aspects of design to support the overall health and wellbeing of the animals, while thinking through design details that can make taking care of horses easier for caretakers.


What better way to hang with your friends than by utilizing your at home riding arena. Providing an ample amount of light through architectural windows with varying opacity and lights at night – this arena can be enjoyed at any type of day. “It was important to bring together the cohesiveness of this design no matter the space, whether it be the barn, the caretaker apartment, or the arena, the whole project had to feel on the same page while providing different levels of form and comfort.” – Sarah Tiedeken

We’re excited to share more ranch designs as they come to completion. Be sure to check out @verticalartsarchitecture on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz for more details.