The Fine Art of Manure Landscaping

posted on Wednesday

The Noble One Surveys His DomainI love my new barn.

I especially love my new barn on nights when I’m settling down to sleep and I suddenly think the dreaded thought:

Did I close the hay stall door?

And then I pad through the darkness to the office, flip on the back light, peer through the window, and say, “Why, yes, I did. Go, me!”

This is such and improvement on get dressed, put on shoes, gear up for weather, head out several layers of doors and the yard gate, and walk around to where I can see the front of the barn.

It really is.

It’s actually not a new barn so much as it is a nearly new barn, constructed just over a year ago upon the move from Arizona to New Mexico, and then recently relocated here. And boy, was it painstakingly positioned–exactly so I can look out that window for exactly that reason. Well…and to check on the horsie, too.

So, you ask…what’s this about manure landscaping?

“Run-off from the yard has to drain away from the barn,” I said as the site was under construction. Really. I said it many times. I’m pretty sure a note of desperation entered my voice. Why, I might even have gotten a little…testy. The response was always, “It’s not done yet, it’ll be fine when it’s done.”

Problem is, I guess, I never did stamp my foot. Because then one day it was done, and…well.

Water runs directly at the barn. Laser targeting. Distinct downhill.

El Nino winter? The hay stall floods. The horse stall is mud. The area in front of the stall door is…

One of these days someone is going to come looking for me and find nothing but a feebly waving hand sticking up from the mud.

The stall floor is now lined with double-layered stall mats, and that’s helped a lot. Just outside the stall entry? I’m stumped. And after the snow-rain of the past couple days, I’m desperate! The ground is half frozen, half mud, and I don’t want to disturb the wood shredding-covered ground where it’s still stable. So what do I have to work with?


Horse poo.

And so I’m trenching; I’m building high ground. I’m directing the water as I can, with the materials at hand.

Yes, it is I.

The Happy Poo Farmer.


The Barn and Noble One

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
This entry was posted in DuncanHorse, Land Keeping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Fine Art of Manure Landscaping

  1. Patty says:

    So few contractors seem to understand this basic concept: water goes down hill! Here are three of my water control devices: 1) railroad ties. They can be secured by drilling a hole and driving rebar through them. They make nice check dams, no body eats them and they make ahndy watch where you are going obstacles for the clutzy. 2) gutters. My gutters on the barn are not prefectly leak proof, but they do put most water into 2 575 gallon tanks and the horses like this water better than the well water. Bleach and tank dumping are needed in the summer to prevent algal over run. 3) snow catchers. Angle iron bolted to the barn roof about 2 feet above the gutters keeps the snow on the roof, allowing melt off to find the gutters and then the water tanks. Big big snows do a glacial slide over the angle iron and have been known to remove the gutters–but no snow ths year has been big enough.

    • Doranna says:

      Railroad ties–a distinct possibility.

      The dump off the back of the barn isn’t an issue–out of the paddock–and trees will die in order for gutters to go on–but I’d like to do some water-catching one day anyway…

      Don’t know what I’d get with gutters off the short front of that barn–or if we can even attach them, actually. It’s just sheet-metal roof… Ironically, the snow dump has been useful, because there’s not that much of it from that little section, and it falls, freezes, and has been doing (until recently) some of what the RR ties would do if I put them in!

      Beginning to think I’ll need to get another section of mat to put at the exterior stall doorway. Not that it’ll be slippery or anything.

  2. Kelly B says:

    How about some pavers like these: – they are designed for using outside and you can use as few or as many as you need for the area. They would look nice too!

    Hopefully, the “muddy season” is over soon (for all of us). Gotta love spring!

    • Doranna says:


      Actually, those are very cool. I’m not so sure about the pavers, as I’m not sure I could prepare the area to receive them properly, but that wash stall mat could be just the thing. I’m using something similar inside my hay stall door for my people feet (that stall floods, too), and it anchors the ground pretty nicely. The only reason I haven’t already moved it outside the horse stall door is that I don’t have a replacement for the people feet! ;> And I didn’t know where to get another around here…that one came to us as one of those oddball one-offs that we found a use for.

      I really like those flagstone pavers, though.

  3. Lorraine says:

    Hmm…pooh landscaper. Another fine entry on your resume.

  4. Doranna says:


    It’s good to have skills!

  5. Patty says:

    Our Northern Ice Sheet has been deglaciating and the back of our barn is very icky. There are gutters back there, too, but some of those storms blew in from the N and stacked up snow, which then got stomped and froze. It was quite nice in the frozen state. Not so much any more. Well, except today might have refrozen everything….

  6. Doranna says:

    Yes, quite nice in the frozen state, indeed.

    The ground seems to have warmed enough in the past week so as to not readily freeze again. Even if it’s been yucky enough so I hid inside most of the day…

  7. Pingback: How to choose the right boarding facility « OMG Horses

Comments are closed.