Taking roof off old barn

Bonjour everyone. Has anyone here converted a stone barn into a walled garden? We bought a house with two very large barns. One of them has a roof that is in very poor state of repair. Rather than let it fall down we want to take the roof off, lower the walls and turn it into a garden. It’s 300m square space and a tall structure, so wondering if anyone has does something similar and what were the issues/pitfalls? Also the ground is very compacted inside, so any tips about how to prepare it?

What a lovely idea! I have always wanted a walled garden. Your issue will most likely be the total lack of foundations making the reduction in height of the walls a delicate task.

1 Like

Déclaration de démolir is the first thing to do.


I’ve 90% completed a similar project.
Because I was also making changes to the main house, I had to apply for full planning permission.

BTW the tax people are aware of the changes, and have asked me to complete their form “Declaration Modele H1”.

My stable roof was in extremely poor condition: some tiles had already fallen and several structural beams were rotten.
I used a 4 metre metal ‘pole’ formed of drywall studs to dislodge and poke the tiles so that they unbalanced and fell. Obviously used a hardhat, googles and gloves. Once the tiles were removed I cut away the thin rafters using an extended pruning saw. This just left the extremely thick oak beams. I secured these with rope and then cut them with a chainsaw. The walls were constructed of hollow concrete blocks. Two small walls (between the openings for the stable doors) were simply pushed over. The others were taken down with a sledgehammer.

Total area demolished was about 60 square metres.
It took me about two weeks to remove the tiles and thin rafters,
The remaining work was done in a day with the help of 2 friends.

I intend to plant a few fruit trees and bushes in the area and then to gravel it.


1 Like

Great project ! How do you think the ground will react to rain etc?

I thought so, hence wondering what people had achieved in the past. Know we need to point and cap the walls, but wondering what it’s actually like inbetween getting to this stage. Seems like a grand idea but no examples of anyone else doing it online, so obviously harder than expected ?

Is this a definite in your experience, as we aren’t talking about taking the whole structure down, more about controlling/ helping its collapse to a sustainable ruin

Better safe than sorry, it’s a part of the declaration préalable (I seem to recall) so quite easy

1 Like

Did you have to search online to find those? :smiley:

(Personally I like to wear a pair of Bings…)

1 Like