Several styles of DIY pole barns exist to accommodate various applications. The most basic DIY pole barns feature a series of poles with concrete footings that hold up just a roof; the structure will feature no walls, and the floor of the barn is likely to be dirt. Other pole barns may feature concrete slabs as bases, thereby accommodating heavy machinery or vehicles that may be stored within. Some barns feature non-load-bearing walls that will help protect the contents of the barn from the elements or from theft. The style of the barn can vary significantly according to the owner's needs or stylistic preferences.
The materials used to make DIY pole barns can vary as well. Wood is the most common choice for construction because it is easy to manipulate and customize, but it can be more expensive than other materials, especially if hardwoods are used. Hardwoods tend to be exceptionally strong and resistant to water damage such as rotting, mold, cracking, splitting, and even bug infestation. Softwoods are cheaper, but they tend to warp, rot, crack, and split, especially if the wood is left untreated. Metal DIY pole barns will come in a kit with pre-cut parts, since metal can be difficult to cut on-site. Steel and aluminum are common material choices for metal barns, and these materials can be less expensive than some woods.
An open-face shelter can be built from plans for DIY pole barns. Such shelters will feature three walls and an open face; the roof will be higher at the front of the shelter and lower at the rear to accommodate rain and snow run-off. This shelter is exceptionally simple to build, and it is useful for a wide variety of purposes, but storage can be limited because of the sloping roof.
Many homeowners choose to buy kits for DIY pole barns, since these kits usually include all the materials necessary to erect the structure, and in some cases the materials are already cut to length or partially assembled. It is, of course, possible to build a pole barn from scratch by buying all the raw materials and creating a design, but the builder will need to do a significant amount of planning to ensure the shelter can be built within budget. Regardless of whether a person buys a kit or builds from scratch, concrete will be necessary and may need to be purchased separately.