Creating an Open Pole Barn Carport or Pavilion

Reference Number: KB-01081
Last Modified: October 13, 2023

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


I would like to design an open pole barn structure to use as a carport or pavilion. How can I do this in Home Designer?

Carport pole barn with two vehicles


A simple open pole structure can be created using Railings. In Home Designer Pro, you can also use the dedicated Framing tools such as the Post, Beam, and Truss tools to accomplish this task.

To create the building perimeter

  1. Open  the Home Designer plan in which you would like to create a pole structure or select File> New Plan  from the menu to open a new, blank plan.

  2. Select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Railing  from the menu, then click and drag in the drawing area to draw an enclosed rectangular structure.

    In this example, a 30' x 40' structure is drawn.

    Plan view displaying railings and a hip roof

  3. Using the Select Objects tool, click on one of the railings to select it, then click the Open Object  edit tool. 

  4. On the General panel of the Railing Specification dialog that displays:

    Specify the Thickness and uncheck No Locate on the General panel of the Railing Specification dialog

    • Specify the Thickness to equal the size of posts that you want.

      In this example, 7 1/4" is used.

    • Uncheck No Locate so that the railing will be located if you choose to use the Auto Exterior Dimensions  tool.

  5. On the Rail Style panel:

    Select the Open Railing Type, the Post to Beam Newels/Posts option, and uncheck Include Top and Bottom Rails on the Rail Style panel.

    • Specify the Railing Type to be Open.

    • Specify the Newels/Posts to be Post to Beam.

    • Uncheck both Include Top Rail and Include Bottom Rail.

  6. On the Newels/Balusters panel:

    Specify the Post Width, the Post Type, and the Spacing on the Newels/Balusters panel.

    • Ensure that the Width of the Newels/Posts is the same as the railings width. This will be grayed out if the Use Wall Width box is checked.

    • If you'd like, you can specify the (O.C.) Spacing for the Newels/Posts, as well as the Type

      In this example, we will use Square newels and 96" Spacing, which are the defaults.

  7. On the Materials panel, change the materials of the Beam and Newel components, then click OK to close the dialog.

    In this example, the CA-B Pressure Treated Lumber material is used.

    Adjust the Materials of the Beam and Newel in the Railing Specification dialog

  8. Repeat this procedure for each of your structure's perimeter railing walls.

    Railings walls defined to be post to beam

    In situations where no posts are desired on one or more sides of your structure, you can either specify the Spacing (O.C.) to be as large as the total length of the railing wall, or you can set the railing wall to be No Post under the Newels/Posts section within the Railing Specification dialog. Please see Step 5 and Step 6 above for reference.

  9. Take a Camera  view to see the results so far.

    Perspective Full Overview of a pole structure

By default, the program will generate a roof plane over each exterior wall, defining a hip roof.


To create a gable roof

  1. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on a railing wall that you would like to have a gable above.

  2. With the railing wall selected, click on the Open Object  edit tool.

  3. On the Roof panel of the Railing/Wall Specification dialog that opens, select the Full Gable Wall option, then click OK.

    Select the Full Gable Wall option on the Roof panel of the Railing/Wall Specification dialog

  4. Select Build> Roof> Build Roof  from the menu.

  5. On the Roof panel of the Build Roof dialog that opens, specify the desired Pitch and Overhang values.

    Set the Pitch and Overhangs in the Build Roof dialog

  6. On the Materials panel, you can select materials for the Roof Surface, Fascia, and more.

  7. When you are finished making your desired changes, click OK to rebuild the roof and take a Camera view to see the results.

    Perspective Full Overview of a gable roof on a pole structure

    Note: If you would like to have an open gable rather than one enclosed by a physical wall, navigate up to Floor A (Attic) in a plan view, select each of the gable attic walls here, and click the Make Wall(s) Invisible edit tool.

    A Question box may appear that mentions that you're editing an automatically generated wall. Click Yes to confirm the change.

The default floor structure for a new room is a framed platform with wood flooring. This can be easily changed to a slab, or to no floor platform whatsoever.

To add a concrete monolithic slab floor

  1. Using the Select Objects tool, click in an empty space in the pole structure's room to select it, then click the Open Object  edit tool.

  2. On the General panel of the Room Specification dialog that opens:

    Specify the Room Type, Room Name, and Living Area calculation on the General panel of the Room Specification dialog

    • Use the Room Type drop-down and select the "Slab" option if you're wanting a concrete slab.

    • For a structure with no floor, select "Open Below."

    • If you'd like, you can type a custom Room Name in the text field.

    • Under the Living Area heading, select the radio button beside Include in Total Living Area Calculation.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

Most pole barns use the underside of the roof as a ceiling rather than a flat ceiling. This can be easily specified.


To create a sloped ceiling

  1. Select the room and click on the Open Object  edit button once more.

  2. On the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog, uncheck Flat Ceiling Over This Room, then click OK.

    Uncheck Flat Ceiling Over This Room on the Structure panel.

Use corbels from the Library Browser  to add angled braces at the top of the posts, or add other Millwork objects to add details to your structure.